Monday, July 27, 2009

Back from Gashoku in Jakarta

Just got back today from a 2 day Aiki camp in Puncak at Jakarta. I would show you pictures but since I used up all my memory card for videos instead, you'll have to make do with my words painting the view.

First of all, I had hoped I would lose a little bit of weight say 1-2 kg during the camp. I mean after all we're talking about 5 sessions a day here. Unfortunately it didn't happen quite to plan. The food in Jakarta is undeniably good and they have rice with everything.

Ok back to the subject at hand. I won't narrate everything we did, but only the things I want to make a point of remembering.

The first class we did was with weapons. Jo and bokken practice. The katana tsuki and jo takes awase in 2 ways. One where we had the jo vertical to the side and we irimi to his hand and musubi with chushin. The 2nd, we awase like spear diagonally upwards to uke. The awase is 0 energy by the way. We then continue to go in and execute an irimi nage. Again, no physical pushing, musubi.

We did all the characters of Aiki. Some helpful tips.
For downwards ki, one basic method is to harden ki extension physically and then make it zero.
For ateru (this not proper ateru btw, just like the above is not the correct downwards ki), receive and return. Its almost enveloping the power back like a wave. It does not feel like a catch.

Proper ateru. I managed a bit sporadically here. Keep the feeling of skin and uke's skin. Move uke's skin with yours. Forget gathering ki to center and exploding it out. That's more like Focused energy. In fact sensei says that my skill hitting is focused energy method which can evolve into ateru.

Pulling aiki. Again skin moving skin is the best. A beginner may visualise uke's tanden and connect, then pull the tanden with our movement. Ie. our tanden connect with uke's. Our tanden move our hand and uke's tanden like a line. Don't use triceps!

Always be aware of uke's grip on whereever it is he's gripping. If any movement enforces the sensation, then that is the wrong way.

All waza can use the different characters of aiki. Our preference will be decided by the type of person we are and the situation that uke engages us. But in this school we practice all.

Practiced with jo disarming. Again practice awase.

To reinforce my last post, the sequence of practice is this:
1. Chushin
2. Awase
3. Musubi
4. Kino nagare.

Remember there are various levels of ability for each of the above. But each ability leads to the other. So start with Chushin like sensei, but practice for awase. And when we understand awase more, practice for musubi.

Also, we are reminded that an opponent that grabs us, could have hit us.

If we just focus on tanden to tanden connection, what happens when we have multiple attackers. That's when musubi comes into play. Again musubi here is long distance musubi. Train this with enveloping aiki.

Note, ateru is not harmful. But it will be painful against people who resist especially those who uses energy build ups or shields. Most times they'll get better on their own though it hurts. But other times you'll need someone to push the locked energy out. I have a theory that it all gets warped out because ateru does not have impact. It also doesn't penetrate. It crushes but there is no impulse energy.

Kaoru was heard to mention relax your legs. In fact at anytime we do anything, our body parts should be able to move. Hmm, funny because during our weapons awase, the stances were too wide. Though, the feeling was relaxed. I guess its ok to have long stances if we are not dead weight but poised/as in connected with musubi.

Sensei's parting advise is to teach everyone extension and center. I told him we will practise aiki with the regulars. Otherwise, we'll fall behind everyone in Jakarta.

Something else I need to remember is, we can enter someones space. In fact when we did a tachi version of the jo awase/disarming, it is very penetrative. The feeling is uke gets cramped down. Also note the tachi waza here is more powerful then the jo version. Nage's circle is smaller. This is also harder to do but the key point here is awase must be 0 energy.

I can't remember anything else for now, I'll add it later.

Arigato gozaimus.

Ah, a final wisdom...
What is an apple? A red skin? A yellow flesh? A sweet taste? A nutrious food? A seed...

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