Monday, February 1, 2010

Last Sunday's Training

One of the students commented that some pictures would be useful. Knowing how wordy I can get, that is probably an understatement. Nevertheless, whilst I would like to include pictures in this blog so as much as the next person, I am unable to fulfil that request immediately.

Perhaps, when we have more time, we can dedicate a session to taking photos of the various basic movements. Those that we can consider essential in our daily training. Things like ukemi, tenkan, irimi and and some core techniques. There are however other resources out there that do have illustrations, such as they are. I do understand however that it would be better for beginners especially to look at figures which closely resemble what they learn in their dojo. So at us just say that such an endeavour is underway, though not for quite some time. In the mean time, there are videos of a couple of techniques that may help and is contained in the link above.

Last Sunday, we begin our training with the breathing meditation and some standard ki exercises using funakogi undo, sayo undo and the like. For funakogi undo, we have now explored using it almost (but not) like an ateru strike. The purpose here is to ensure the power generated is from the center and not from the shoulders. There is almost a whip like motion. The feeling must be captured, and used whenever we employ katedori. This way, when uke grabs we do not respond from the shoulder. Instead, just as they grab nage's wrist, the feeling of the whip occurs and uke's center is penetrated. 

We also explored positional dominance. As uke grabs square, both uke and nage are in a mutual kill position. Thus, uke who is the attacker must move to his advantage, offline towards nage outside. From there, his chushin will be employed against nage, whilst nage's chushin is now off line. Nage proceeds to employ tenkan and regains superior positioning. 

From tenkan, nage leads uke forwards and about. Nage atemis uke and shifts stance to the outside. The hand being grab is halfway to a sumiotoshi (corner drop - but not fully. Just the feeling). The inner hand cuts across uke's outer elbow of the same grabbing hand. When nage half shifts (i.e. adjusting the front to rear leg and the rear to front leg), he does so so that he still has chushin towards uke. And his alignment is such that he is able to cut the outside of ukes body vertically. (this definitely needs an illustration, but you should try to remember this in class as I explain). From there, using center to cut (not the hands), you will take uke's balance. Do a big circle movement using the natural pendulum and get into ikkyo position. 

As we have explained, relax both hands and only extend. Don't push into uke or manipulate his hand. From there holding on to uke's tension towards his center, drop your center and hands together to bring him down. For now, we want everybody to try and bend uke's elbow upwards and let uke retain his grab on your other wrist. Let the power be a leading action from that grab instead of on the uke's elbow from your other hand. 

Next technique we did was to do ikkyo from aihanmi position. I've explained this a few times already in this blog so refer to those. 

Next we did shomenuchi iriminage. Shomen occurs because uke is not at the right distance to grab and strike nage. It can occur even at that distance, but for our training purpose lets start it further away. Uke can both take a step forwards to strike or slide forwards to strike. In either case shomen is done in aihanmi relative to nage's kamae. This is so that nage does not have the advantage of uke when receiving the strike. 

Nage enters into the shomen towards uke's outside. Nage's hand extends like a spear to receive the strike along its length. Never to stop it. (we do it differently for movements towards uke's inside, but its still not stopping the strike). As you have uke's back towards you, both your feet are almost parallel to his. Your spear hand is now above uke's shomen and your other hand lightly touching his jaw/face/neck. Bringing him closer like a hug, move your center into a turn and down. Bring his centerline upwards using your spear hand in a leading fashion. Control his center so that his rear leg is planted. Now continue the spear hand in the pendulum arc to cut his through his center. Focus on not trying to bring uke's body up or down by lifting or pushing the hands. Focus more on using center to move everything and to lead using the hands. Only lightly touch uke, don't grab with force. Cutting the center for now means to move through uke (spear hand and leg slides through). Don't clothesline his neck. 

The last technique we did was shihonage from yokemenuchi. For yokemenuchi, this time we started with gyakuhanmi. Uke does a cross over step and strikes at an angle. As with shomenuchi, the hand starts from just above the forehead (not behind your head at the side). The target is the temple or jawline or neck. Shoulders are relaxed and the power is generated from the center. 

Nage can receive this either by irimi into the strike, his hands extending into the strike rather than blocking it or parrying it. Or in the case of what we did, enter without movement and receive it with a slight step back as if we are greeting someone into our house. Holding lightly uke's hand, but keeping extension into his center, shift legs and then bring chushin a level down. (not forwards down or backwards down, just down). Leave the hand alone, but the angle will change. Remember the key here is to maintain the extension into uke's arm. Do not try to bring his hand down or push in to lock his shoulders. Now, move forwards at the same lower level keeping the hands the same distance from your center all the way. Uke's hand will move in a natural pendulum which will lock his body up without undue force or stress. As you slide forward, the forward leg tries to cover as much ground so that it stops well beyond uke's current position. Kaiten and nage should now be 'behind' uke's prior position. (uke is now facing you now, so you're actually in front of him). As you kaiten, your hands remain in front of you equidistant. This should result in a shihonage position. 

From this position, your hands retains its existing extension. Cut from your center, downwards. Again do not use your hands to pull uke or push him down. Nor should you bend your elbows and bring uke towards your center at this point in time. As uke is brought down, maintain zanshin and lightly touch him to ensure you are in a superior position and that he cannot attack you from the ground. 

Last, we did sorewaza kyokuho. This time we started again with nage's hands on his knees and uke pressing downwards. This exercise is described earlier in the blog so please refer to it. 

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