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Old 10-21-2003, 07:49 PM   #1
Jeff Tibbetts
Dojo: Cedar River Aikikai
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jiyu waza... question

Okay, lately in class we've been doing a lot more jiyu waza, single attack stuff. I really like that we're doing it, I just really am not good at it. Does anyone have any tips on what I can do to get better at it? My problem seems to be that, instead of feeling uke's energy and using it, I'm imposing my technique on them. I try not to think of any particular technique but I invariably try to do the same ones over and over, even when they don't feel like they're working and I know I should switch. It's frustrating, but I really do think that I need to work on getting better with this, as it's one of my weakest points. Thanks in advance!

If the Nightingale doesn't sing-
wait
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Old 10-21-2003, 07:59 PM   #2
sanosuke
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just do it, if you end up doing the same technique, that's fine, because maybe your body awareness automatically order the brain to do that technique only, but at least you did it without hesitation. As you go further in your training, you will add more variation in your jiyu waza. remember that aikido is learned by process, you can't learn it in a rush.
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Old 10-21-2003, 08:46 PM   #3
BKimpel
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Something you can try with a buddy when you have some free time on the mats (i.e. when class is not going on)…try doing "zombie randori" as I call it where you practice jiyu-waza (unrehearsed techniques) in slow motion. The attacker (uke) has to move in slow motion (i.e. like a zombie from the movies of old), but you can move any speed you want. All it does is let you "warm" into jiyu-waza (without fear of being stuck, hit, or being rushed to do something) and you can easily time when you need to react (later, rather than earlier).

After doing this for a few days, you can increase the speed to "half-zombie" speed, and then after a few days more normal "kata speed", and eventually real attack speed.

Now I know that not too many dojos do this as part of their training (few dojos even practice jiyu-waza or randori regularly from what I have noticed), so don't expect your sensei to do it that way -- just find some time to do it on your own (you just need one willing zombie to practice with).

When you get to full speed jiyu-waza, I also recommend doing grab-only at first -- again to reduce the fear factor and the rush factor (less chance of injury from a grab). Often when we first do jiyu-waza or randori we think "I don't have time to think, I've got to react" and end up doing sloppy techniques, and sometimes even end up injuring people cause we are "rushed". The number one comment I hear sensei say to people doing randori is "slooooow down" (and these are even black belts in the testing).

Zombie randori with 4 on 1 is totally fun (and funny to watch) and really lets you warm into randori. Speeding it up in gradual increments lets your mind adjust, each time stretching your comfort level.

Bruce Kimpel
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Old 10-21-2003, 09:06 PM   #4
PeterR
 
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Yes but Bruce - make sure there are no outsiders watching or we'll be inundated with yet another flurry of "Aikido attacks are so unrealistic" posts.

Practically speaking I am not a great fan of slowing attacks down to zombie (or six million dollar man) mode. Dropping the speed and intesity a bit is fine but I think it is more condusive to limit the attack type (ie only shomen uchi or tsuki) and go from there.

We do slow motion during the kata practice and jiyuwaza is supposed to be a little less stilted and more fluid.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-21-2003, 09:30 PM   #5
BKimpel
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They think we are practicing to lift rocks with our brain anyway, so they must be able to handle the "six million dollar man" effect!

I agree that limiting the attack type is useful for randori (just as I said starting with grab-only is the easiest way to wean into it without fear of injury) -- but jiyu-waza (unrehearsed or free style) means not presetting the techniques, which is why it can be intimidating and cause you to pause or draw a blank occasionally

And of course your absolutely right about needing that balance of dealing with a fast attack in contrast to the slower normal paired partner training -- sometimes just for the sake of making you "do" without thought.

Another thing I used to do to learn jiyu-waza, is to pick only one technique I am going to do for each type of attack and then let my partner pick an attack out of a hat. You find yourself more comfortable when you don't try to think about to do (and just like Reza said, add to your repertoire once you feel more comfortable).

Another thing to concentrate on is your opening movements against different attacks. If you do some real speed training just to get comfortable with parrying and the initial movement (no technique at all) you'll ease into jiyu-waza faster. This is the single most beneficial thing I have ever done in my Aikido training and the one thing I see very few people ever do.

Bruce Kimpel
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Old 10-21-2003, 10:47 PM   #6
Abasan
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Maybe you want to try not doing any particular 'techniques' for now. Instead, try to hug each and every attack whilst doing a tenkan/irimi tenkan. Usually, with these, you will find that you will unbalance uke more often than not.

Once you get that feeling of constantly unbalancing uke, you gradually extend the connection. Where from hugging distance you go to elbow distance, then later even to hand distance.

Later even, you can go to intercept distance. I love watching shioda sensei doing this. Where he knocks you silly with his back when you grab for him. Its perfect timing all the time!

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 10-22-2003, 09:41 AM   #7
Don_Modesto
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Re: jiyu waza... question

Quote:
Jeff Tibbetts wrote:
Does anyone have any tips on what I can do to get better at [jiyu waza]? My problem seems to be that, instead of feeling uke's energy and using it, I'm imposing my technique on them.
I find I "get into the zone," i.e., find techniques happening rather than find myself imposing them, best when working out of repetition from a simple technique, esp. KATATE DORI. I try to:

1) do a few reps of what's working--form a base, e.g., KATATE DORI KOKYU NAGE(SOKUMEN IRIMI NAGE);

2) bridge out of that to what else flows naturally from the base, e.g., from above to KATATE DORI HIJI NAGE/SHIHO NAGE/AIKI OTOSHI;

3) push the limits of the flowing techniques;

4) return to base when I start forcing things to begin fresh.

I've found that it's often difficult in practice actually to do this because,

1) teachers often want you to do what they've demonstrated and nothing else;

2) you will be interrupted by--the teacher introducing new techniques; partners offering "helpful" suggestions; idle chatter.

Caveat: My viewpoint might also be, shall we say, aikido ethnocentric. George Ledyard posted comments on one of the boards a while back characterizing ASU people as comfortable switching technqiues fluidly and USAF people as capable of doing basic techniques repeatedly despite changes in attacks. This has certainly been my experience as an ASU student training with USAF folk.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 10-22-2003, 12:36 PM   #8
Jeff Tibbetts
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Good points and advice, everyone. Thanks a lot. We have been doing our jiyu waza with one type of attack specified and whatever technique you want. Our last one was just shomenuchi. Of course, we had been doing shomenuchi attacks for all the techniques we were working on during that class, but there was no emphasis on doing just what we were doing in class, in fact most of us used a few other things entirely. There were a few times where I got uke into a position and simply couldn't find a technique out of that, so I didn't really know what to do. By and large, my problem is one of creativity, I think. We have done some half-speed randori in class, but not the jiyu waza. This last time, we were standing in a circle around nage and it wasn't determined who would attack, so you had to "open up" your awareness a little. This was fun, but led to a couple times where I could have cold clocked nage, and that was a little weird. I think if it was a half-speed thing it would be a little easier to warm up to it untill I'm more used to it... I don't know. I didn't want to give off the impression that I must learn this RIGHT now, though, I just think that this is the logical next step for me to expand into. Thanks again for the comments, I'll try to keep you posted how our next session goes, whenever that will be.

If the Nightingale doesn't sing-
wait
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Old 10-22-2003, 05:21 PM   #9
Aristeia
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Hi Jeff

I love Randori, it's the most fun you can have on the mat (when it goes well) and the most frustrating and humbling when it doesn't. Couple of tips.

1. Make up an acronym. I used KIKSS for my shodan grading, for Kote gaeshi, Irimi Nage, Kaiten nage, sumi otoshi and shiho nage, knowing that then when I got really stuck I'd go to repo. Didn't actually need it on the day, but it meant when I was practising I didn't get that "hell what's a different technique I can do oh no too late here he comes" syndrome. You will find it even more useful when you are only practising against one attack (allows you to pre determine more effectively).

2. Change your entry. Everytime I see people get locked into one technique in Jiyu it can be remedied by changing your entry. Tenkan instead of Irimi, move to the live side instead of the dead side and you'll find different techniques flow.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 10-22-2003, 09:01 PM   #10
mattholmes
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I think there have been a lot of good suggestions. I would add one: try to just work on your "intermediate positioning." By this, I mean the part that's not really the technique, but where you need to get yourself and/or your uke before you can do your technique. (Perhaps others have been mentioning something like this.) For instance, if you are getting a rounded attack (yokomen uchi, in my dojo), you might try to really nail a nice two-step blend. That way, you are in a good position to do whatever you want--it's starting out in the best of conditions--and while you figure it out, you buy yourself a few seconds of time.
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Old 10-23-2003, 08:05 AM   #11
rachmass
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I like the acronym one, and can come up with SKUNKS (shiho nage, kote gaeshi, udekaemi nage, nikkyo, koshi nage and sankyo - or sumio toshi). Would like to add in irimi nage. Any suggestions for that other than I-SKUNKS?

Does this actually work? If it does, it is a great idea!
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Old 10-23-2003, 10:00 AM   #12
Goye
 
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Hi Jeff. Well,.. we have read an amount of good suggestions as you have said. I will tell you what worked for me doing Jiyu Waza when I had a similar situation. You already know how should be the feeling of jiyu waza,

"...My problem seems to be that, instead of feeling uke's energy and using it, I'm imposing my technique on them..."

What I did was before of after class,.. get to the mat with a partner, select an attack and start doing a single technique several times (you must know very well that technique and feel good doing it). After that, start to relax,.. not think in any thing special,.. start to feel the "juyu waza situation" even with just one technique,… after that you can add variations to the technique and eventually start changing the techniques,.. if you start to think what to try to impose one technique or get stuck ",.. return to the initial technique and go again.

Try and tell us how you feel!…..


César Martínez
Satori Dojo
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Old 10-23-2003, 10:54 AM   #13
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
I like the acronym one, and can come up with SKUNKS (shiho nage, kote gaeshi, udekaemi nage, nikkyo, koshi nage and sankyo - or sumio toshi). Would like to add in irimi nage. Any suggestions for that other than I-SKUNKS?
I have used 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, k, s

ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo, kotegeashi, shihonage.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 10-23-2003, 10:55 AM   #14
mengsin
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Keep moving even it means repeating the same technique. By doing so, you get yourself 'kick in' and you feel other variations will come in. Happy Flowing

mengsin
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Old 10-23-2003, 12:20 PM   #15
Aristeia
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
I like the acronym one, and can come up with SKUNKS (shiho nage, kote gaeshi, udekaemi nage, nikkyo, koshi nage and sankyo - or sumio toshi). Would like to add in irimi nage. Any suggestions for that other than I-SKUNKS?

Does this actually work? If it does, it is a great idea!
As an aside, personally I would take out nikyo (for the same reason I'm not a fan of the 1,2,3,4,5 suggestion below). Why? Because I think any jiyu waza is a step on the path to training against multiples. Even you're starting out against one uke with a predetermined attack you should be developing the skills you will eventually use against 2 or 3 uke's with random attacks.

And in that environment you want to be throwing not pinning. One of the biggest problems I see people haveing when they start Jiyu, particularly when you throw another uke in, is that they automatically start ikkyo from shomen uchi (first technique we learn, it's hard to make it not the instinctive response). Now sure for all of the control techniques there's ways of turning them into throws depending how far through the technique you are when you realise you actually don't want to be pinning. But they tend to be more time consumening than you want when there's another uke looming up behind you. So I'd avoid hardwiring ikkyo -yonkkyo into my jiyu by including it in an acronym.

Does the acronym work? Absolutely. Like I say, once you become familiar and comfortable with jiyu you can throw it away, but until then it helps avoid the "frozen in the headlights" syndrome. Every technique has a point when it's all over bar the falling. When uke's balance is gone, you own him/her, and it's just a matter of finishing. When you're against multiples this is when you start engaging the next uke - mentally at least. When you're just starting, this is the point when you're saying to yourself "right, that was irimi nage, so on his next attack I'm going to look for kaiten nage". It gets you used to consciously recieving the attacks in different ways, varying the technique etc. and soon you are able to go with the flow without the use of the tool. In my experience anyways.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 10-23-2003, 12:43 PM   #16
Aristeia
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Quote:
César Martínez (Goye) wrote:
What I did was before of after class,.. get to the mat with a partner, select an attack and start doing a single technique several times (you must know very well that technique and feel good doing it). After that, start to relax,.. not think in any thing special,.. start to feel the "juyu waza situation" even with just one technique,… after that you can add variations to the technique and eventually start changing the techniques,.. if you start to think what to try to impose one technique or get stuck ",.. return to the initial technique and go again.

Try and tell us how you feel!…..

On a similar note, I've got a brother in law who dabbles in boxing & wing chun. He was wanting my thoughts on a follow up to particular move he's learnt (basically a parry from a lead hand punch). So out to the garage we go. Spent a couple of minutes for him to show me the move. My initial thought was, "ok your moving the attacking arm off to the side so surely thats a good lead in for irimi nage". So we tried that at an "experimental" speed a bit but it wasn't working out too well. So I changed tack. Had him throw the punch at me while I parried and just kept repeating that movement building up speed. And finally i just kept moving after the parry, and lo and behold find myself doing ikkyo/rokkyo. Didn't plan do, but it was the natural progression of the way my body was all ready moving and so it was what my body did, and turned out to be really effective.

Moral of the story - overthinking techniques can be less effective than just moving (once you have built up a repetoire of individual techniques for your toolbox)

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 10-23-2003, 01:15 PM   #17
L. Camejo
 
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As said a few times above - if you want to understand how to let the technique naturally show itself in a situation rather than "impose" your own technique as you say, a good idea is to first focus on evasion and controlling Uke without any thought of technique.



Exercises like this form the basis of what we do and takes the form of a single uke attacking at speed with either one selected atack or a range of attacks. The idea for Tori is not to apply technique, but simply practice evading with correct timing to effect a balance break on Uke. The plain truth is, without disruption in balance, no technique works.

Try this on for size: Let uke attack with a single basic attack(like tsuki or shomen uchi) and first work on only, avoiding the attack while placing yourself in a position for breaking balance. Do not think about technique at this level, only avoidance and body positioning without using your hands to help you.

Then start applying hands by using them in conjunction with your body movement. At this point the focus should be on controlling uke's arm or body at the point where kuzushi would be applied. This helps develop your timing and positioning of your body in response to the attack regardless of technique.

At the third level, start applying technique. However, your focus is still at the previous level, your main job is to get out of the way and disrupt balance. If and only if a technique appears to you after avoiding, should you attempt one. The attack generally tells you what technique may work best from a particular position.

The above exercise is something we do to lead up to kakarigeiko (what some may call one person randori) and then to multiple attacker practice. A non resistant uke will go a long way to help in progressing with this exercise, but after practice it can work just as well with resistance. After you have achieved this with a basic attack, add more to the range of options Uke may have to attack. Here is where you trend to stop wanting to "impose" technique, since you are too busy trying to figure out where the next attack is coming from.

The book by F. Shishida and T. Nariyama "Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge" outlines this exercise in a lot more detail.

As far as slowing down things go, this is why we have Kata, as Peter said above. Jiyu waza is ther to free your mind from the set patterns.

Hope this helps.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 10-23-2003, 01:34 PM   #18
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Michael Fooks (Aristeia) wrote:
As an aside, personally I would take out nikyo...

<snip>But they tend to be more time consumening than you want when there's another uke looming up behind you.
Agreed that you don't want to be pinning but disagree that the pinning techniques when done as throws are more time consuming. Especially nikyo the way we are doing it is one of the fastest techniques we have. Say uke is coming in with a katate kosa dori grab. The nikyo we do is just a small off line movment and a small turn of the hand. The nikyo pain is almost instant and with uke's forward motion it's like they run into a wall. It usually stops them in their tracks (if done right) and allows you to take them down with a tenkan ikkyo type movement which helps to keep the others off you.
Quote:
Michael Fooks (Aristeia) wrote:
Because I think any jiyu waza is a step on the path to training against multiples. Even you're starting out against one uke with a predetermined attack you should be developing the skills you will eventually use against 2 or 3 uke's with random attacks.
Again, agreed. But in my experience the "pinning" techniques are great for moving uke where you need them to keep the other uke off you. In your later example of shomenuchi ikkyo (or most any ikkyo) I use a tenkan version in multiple attacker randori to keep the others at bay with the uke I have in control. Then I usually try to throw uke 1 onto one or more of the others.

The same for the other techniques. Oh and just as a point of information our kotegeashi and shihonage are pinning techniques also.

I do also love the various kokyu nage in a randori situation, but see no reason to exclude the 1-4kyo techniques. Eventually they all turn into kokyu nage anyway.

I will admit to having little experience with most of the more mainstream styles but from what I've seen our stuff tends to be a little different so from the perspective of your experience in your style your assesment may be absolutely correct.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 10-23-2003, 01:43 PM   #19
rachmass
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My natural tendency in jyui waza is to end up doing henka waza anyway, and it is easy to do from nikkyo. I end up in sankyo all the time too, but can turn that into irimi nage, kotegaeshi, sumiotoshi, whatever. Actually, I would leave in whatever works. Also, agree with Bronson that nikkyo is quick, and you can do a nice throw from there anyway.
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Old 10-23-2003, 03:06 PM   #20
Aristeia
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Hmm....color me skeptical. I meant the techniques I'm thinking of are things like changing the initial entry to an ikkyo into koshi nage, or if you've all ready cut down, reaching over for a kind of kimura/high keylock. Perhaps someone can post a link to the sorts of throws you are thinking of. I mean I've seen people cut into an ikkyo and then instead of the final pin just kind of pushing uke away but it never looks convincing and uke recovers way too fast. (Similarly I would be wary of using an ikkyo-like technique to plant uke at your feet - albeit in the way of other ukes. They're too close to you, makes it too easy to jump back up straight in your face or grab a leg)

Bronson maybe you can describe the throwing aspect of your technique in more detail (or give me a link)

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 10-24-2003, 07:13 AM   #21
Mark Jakabcsin
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Sorry I don't have the time right now to read all of the responses before I post so these tips may have been mentioned already. My apologies in advance.

- Breath. Focus mentally on your breathing instead of a technique. Ensure your breathing is steady, smooth and continuous.

- Relax. Learn where you gain tension when under stress. Then be aware of those areas when working randori. Use your breathing to reduce the tension in those muscles.

- Move. I am not sure of your experience level but a common problem new folks (many not so new folks as well) tend have is they grow roots into the mat and don't move their feet. This creates tension plus it limits the number of techniques you can do from that one specific stance. You stated that you find yourself doing the same techniques over and over again, perhaps this is the reason.

- Eyes. Ensure your eyes and vision stay relaxed throughout the technique. Where the eyes focus the mind follows, hence if you focus on any one part uke's body it is to the exclusion of all others. This limits your possible response.

- Try not to win. One common mistake is that we try to 'throw' uke and/or we try to 'win' the encounter. Emotionally this creates stress to excel, which immediately follows through into physical tension and mental freeze up. Aikido should be about flowing, that includes emotional, mental and physical. Often we focus only on the physical flowing and forget about the other two. Unfortunately you can't have one without the other two. Don't try to throw or beat uke, simply flow with them and things will happen.

- Be sensitive. After you have gained some ability to control your breathing, relax, move, etc you will find that being sensitive is much easier. You will begin to lose awareness of your body and gain awareness of ukes body. Increase your sensitivity so that from a light touch on the shoulder you can feel their toes wiggle, stomach rumble, heart beat, etc. Now you can perceive uke's every intension through his tension and move at the same time or before him.

Take care,

mark j.

Take care,


Mark J.
www.charlotte-systema.com
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Old 10-24-2003, 02:42 PM   #22
Jeff Tibbetts
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Wow! Thanks some more for all these great tips! Micheal, by strange coincidence we were just working on this ikkyo throw (anyone know the name?). I don't know if I can describe it at my skill level, but basically once you have that initial rolling of uke's arm into your center, you let them begin to stand up a bit. As they're coming up, you keep their arm in front of your center and blend with the new upward energy and then you slide forward and roll it back into position. When done properly this throws uke forward, and requires very little energy as you're blending with their initial shomen uchi and then with the energy of them standing up a bit. The only way that I can describe the way that it feels is that it's a lot like a wave. Once they rise up, the top of the wave (their arm) rolls back in on itself. This is a lot different than the "push em away" response that I kept wanting to do, and it feels totally different. Sorry to get off topic, but it does strike me as a technique that would come up all the time in jiyu waza or randori. Anyone else vouch for this?

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Old 10-24-2003, 11:04 PM   #23
sanosuke
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Quote:
Keep moving even it means repeating the same technique. By doing so, you get yourself 'kick in' and you feel other variations will come in. Happy Flowing
hahaha....finally you found it. keep working on it, i'm sure you can be a very good aikidoka. Keep on Flowing...
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Old 10-25-2003, 05:49 PM   #24
mj
Location: livingston, scotland
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Blah.

I would say, if you want jiyuwza to be any good...

...make sure your ukes (sp) are the most horrible, awkward, embarrassing, scary, humiliating, overwhelming, total-lesson-in-failure, unbeatable and so on experience you can ensemble.

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Old 10-28-2003, 12:20 PM   #25
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
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Quote:
Michael Fooks (Aristeia) wrote:
Bronson maybe you can describe the throwing aspect of your technique in more detail (or give me a link)
No links out there that I know of

I've been trying to come up with a way of writing it that makes sense, but as the written word isn't exactly my strongest skill I'm having difficulty...kinda like explaining to someone what green looks like when they've only seen yellow and blue

An analogy I can come up with is imagine spinning around while holding a weighted stick and just letting the stick go. The stick is uke's arm and the weight is uke...no, that doesn't really describe it either

Maybe one of our more eloquent members with some experience in Seidokan could jump in here. Opher, Phil J, or even Mark Mueller (who's been to several classes) might have some insight into how to explain it. They would also have a better grasp of the more mainstream throws that you're probably more familiar with.

Sorry I couldn't be more descriptive...I'm more of a "here let me show you" type of explainer

Anyway, other than disagreeing on what types of techniques one should be doing I think we generally agree that all this acronym/sequence stuff is for those times when your just begining and/or stuck. Eventually we want to move away from "doing" techniques to "allowing" techniques. The times that I've used the whole 1,2,3...thing the most weren't in jiyu waza/randori anyway. It was during tests when I was asked to "show five techniques of your choice from attack X". I only mentioned it here as it was a ready made sequence that we all know instead of having to invent a new one.

Thanks,

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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