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Old 03-11-2004, 05:26 PM   #1
Amelia Smith
 
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Dojo: Martha's Vineyard Aikido Club
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Martial Arts deprivation crisis

After practicing aikido for over 8 years, I decided to come teach English in a small town in SW China, more or less on a whim. So here I am, on the very edge of Tibet, and a little off the map, and I find that it is a martial arts wasteland.

The only potential bright spot is that there are a couple of young teachers in the art department who do wu shu, and one of them has a Tae Kwon Do outfit and has done a little Tai Chi. They're friendly and enthusiastic, but not long-term practitioners.

I've tried to train with them a little, but it's soooo frustrating. All the high, spinning kicks look so silly to me, and they punch from about face level. They're light on their feet, which I guess is good, but it really messes with my feeling of center.

The only available training surface is cold, hard concrete - I can show them what a roll looks like, but teaching it? No way. I also expect to leave here at the end of June, so I couldn't really set up a dojo space here.

So: To wu shu or not wu shu, that is the question. Does anyone have any training-deprivation recommendations?

Thanks.
--Amelia
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Old 03-11-2004, 05:38 PM   #2
Tom Wolowiec
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It's better than nothing. I've heard that Wu Shu has become unpracticle, and is more gymnastics than MA. I've heard. But it's still better than being bored, right?

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered,
those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."
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Old 03-11-2004, 05:44 PM   #3
akiy
 
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Hi Amelia,

I think, sometimes, it's very much worth it to put aside something like aikido and try something new, if only to get a different viewpoint on martial arts. If anything, this might be a good way to get to know people while you're there, too. Also, if you start, maybe someone will hear about your interests and come out of the woodwork. You never knw.

In the long run, I'm sure you'll be able to start up aikido again some time in the future. As it sounds like your time there is (at this point) somewhat limited, if your martial arts prospects are also limited, maybe it's time to take advantage of what actually is around. It might be more valuable to spend the time experiencing the culture, seeing new places, and meeting new people while you're there...

Just my thoughts,

-- Jun

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Old 03-11-2004, 09:11 PM   #4
jk
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It may be a reach, but you might want to ask them if they know any chin na, or joint locking. Figure this might be a way of finding a little common ground. BTW, how's the food over there?
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Old 03-11-2004, 10:12 PM   #5
ikkitosennomusha
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Re: Martial Arts deprivation crisis

Quote:
Amelia Smith wrote:
After practicing aikido for over 8 years, I decided to come teach English in a small town in SW China, more or less on a whim. So here I am, on the very edge of Tibet, and a little off the map, and I find that it is a martial arts wasteland.

The only potential bright spot is that there are a couple of young teachers in the art department who do wu shu, and one of them has a Tae Kwon Do outfit and has done a little Tai Chi. They're friendly and enthusiastic, but not long-term practitioners.

I've tried to train with them a little, but it's soooo frustrating. All the high, spinning kicks look so silly to me, and they punch from about face level. They're light on their feet, which I guess is good, but it really messes with my feeling of center.

The only available training surface is cold, hard concrete - I can show them what a roll looks like, but teaching it? No way. I also expect to leave here at the end of June, so I couldn't really set up a dojo space here.

So: To wu shu or not wu shu, that is the question. Does anyone have any training-deprivation recommendations?

Thanks.

--Amelia
Hi Amelia,

I would not practice with them. Instead, I would grab something that resembled your bokken or jo and practice your strikes and kata. Also, you can train mentally. Visualize uke attacking you and run through your taisabakki (body movements). You might be alittle rusty when you get back but you will be in much better shape as opposed to doing nothing or training a different art which will through you off path.

When I started aikido, we trained on the ground. So, I'd rather find a nice clean spot of ground as opposed to concrete if possible.

If they are so light on their feet, you should have no trouble taking their center.

Good luck,

Brad Medling
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Old 03-11-2004, 10:41 PM   #6
Amelia Smith
 
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Hi,

Thanks for the responses so far.

On a social level, I would like to train with these guys, but from a MA standpoint, I'm still not sure. It's very nice to have friends outside the English department.

John: They recognise a little of what I tried to show them as chin na, but they don't know much themselves. Mind you, these are guys in their 20s, who have been training in Wu shu for only maybe 3 or 4 years. The language barrier can also make things difficult.

I love Sichuan food! ... except for the bit that gave me food poisoning on Tuesday, but I'm hoping that was a freak incedent.

Brad: I tried to bring my bokken and jo with me, but the airline... well, travelling with them just proved too difficult. I think I'll go out and try to find a jo-substitute this afternoon. I will also begin my search for a clean spot of flattish ground. I'm in the mountains, and it's really a 3rd world country here, so it might be a bit difficult to find, but worth getting away from all this concrete.

Still Uncertain.

--Amelia
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Old 03-11-2004, 10:57 PM   #7
Largo
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I would say train with them. You went all the way to China for new experiences right? You note that some of the moves seem impracticle. Remember that a lot of those moves are for training your body and developing strenghth and balance. Aikido has a lot of moves that seem pointless too, but are valuable for physical development. (even if some of the moves are odd, think about why, and how you could make them more useful...there's lots of opportunity for mental training there)
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Old 03-12-2004, 07:55 AM   #8
rachmass
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Hi Amelia!

The advice about jyo and bokken is good, and I am sure you will be able to find some substitutes for what you had to leave behind.

Another thought about MA training while you are there; do they have any tai chi? I would think that would be an excellent way to work on centering and connection (if you get to do any work with a partner), and you don't have to worry about taking ukemi on the concrete.

Hope you are well, and stay away from food poisoning!

Rachel
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Old 03-12-2004, 11:44 AM   #9
Ron Tisdale
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You might be able to find some old timers who either used to practice a long time ago, or who train very quietly. It will probably be hard to find them...you'll need an interpreter and someone who can take you around to markets and what not and try to find an introduction. No telling what you might come up with.

When I was in Kenya I wanted to find a sitar teacher (lots of Indians there). It took about 3 months of asking at different Indian shops, making a nuisance of myself. Finally, one of them asked the local teacher if he wanted to meet me. The teacher said yes, and a meeting was arranged. He taught me for the remainder of my year there. Sometimes asking more than once shows persistance (sometimes it just makes you a pain in the butt).

Keep the faith

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-12-2004, 12:20 PM   #10
Mark Barlow
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Have you visited any of the city parks early in the morning to check for informal tai chi workouts or contacted the sports authority to check on instructors? If you could find a paqua or hsing-i sifu, I think you'd enjoy both the similarities and differences you'll find to aikido. The local instructors will probably get a kick out of having a gweiloh in the kwoon.

Good luck and I envy you the experience.

Mark Barlow
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Old 03-12-2004, 04:36 PM   #11
Larry Feldman
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Ron's right, there is probably more there that meets the eye, ask around. I would start by asking the Wu Shu guys to help you.

While in China, try to partake of the the local 'cuisine' martial arts wise.

Tai Chi, Chin Na, or Mark's suggestions might make a nice complement to your Aikido.

When I haven't had a place to roll, I would move through my techniques without a partner, keeping the movements fresh.

In the Ki Society, they practice Ki Exercises, which are done solo - another idea if you are familiar with them.
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Old 03-12-2004, 07:34 PM   #12
p00kiethebear
 
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Wu shu is not really a martial art so much as a show art. However it requires an insane amount of physical fitness to be able to do. If anything, take it just for keeping yourself limber so that when you come back you can keep practicing aikido without going out of shape.

Tai chi can also augment aikido alot, i have a few friends who do it. They like it.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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