I am in no position to comment on how good Doshu is but the first time
he ever threw me, it changed a large part of my outlook on Aikido. Up
till that time I was unsure about what "strong" technique was. I
would try to ensure that my technique was clean and crisp, and there
was good extension of Ki.
Doshu indicated for a morotetori attack and I complied. As he led me
around him, I thought: "Boy, there isn't much strength here. Grabbing
him is like grabbing smoke. He isn't really even leading me around."
As I was completing the 360 degree turn into the iriminage, I thought:
"I guess I should look for a place to land so I can take a good fall
for him." At that point, I found myself staring up at the ceiling. I
didn't understand how I got there. It was kind of like a time warp.
The instant I had thought about falling, I had already fallen, so
smoothly and softly that I didn't notice having done so.
Was it a "strong" throw? Was it a quick one? I don't know and I
figure it really didn't matter anyway. I was down there where I was
supposed to be.
I still try for clean, crisp technique and good extension of Ki but if
I can get a person to jump for me, regardless of their initial intent,
it saves me a lot of work. I figure, in practice, you should practice
for the worst-case scenarios. But reality hardly ever turns out into
worst case (not best case either).
A lot of Aikido is about self-defense and self-defense is about your
ability to control your own environment. How you control your
environment is up to you and the knowledge, skills, and abilities you
possess. Aikido provides you with another set of skills and knowledge
to help you control your environment. Those skills vary from
crash-bang to smoke and mirrors. You use the tools most appropriate
for the situation and move on (you might wish to leave a silver
(Rocky Izumi is the head of the Barbados Aikido Federation in Barbados,