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Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #49
1 April 2017
Inside this Issue:
Greetings Nihon Goshin Aikido Aficionado!
So, April Madness is upon us. I know it's normally called "March Madness" ~ but these things don't wind up until April ~ so we have a "Madness' extension" to compensate.
While the University of South Carolina fans suffered through a tepid 6-7 season in football, Gamecock fans are nearly overdosing on "Madness" as we field not one, but two teams, in the Final Four (Men's and Women's Basketball).
If either of the Men's or Women's team can win the Basketball Championship, the state of South Carolina will be on an unprecedented level of amateur athletic achievement: having hoisted the most recent National Championship trophies in Football (Clemson), Baseball (Coastal Carolina), and just recently Bass Fishing (University of South Carolina). Who would have thought Bass Fishing was a sport? ~~ but we're Champions at it! Anyway, if one of the University of South Carolina Basket Ball teams can win the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I submit that all future references to any NCAA Championship be known as "The South Carolina Invitational Tournament."
As I'm sure most of you know by now, Stanley Pranin of Aikido Journal passed away earlier this month. Stan Pranin most notably spent 20 years living in Japan and training aikido while he was there. He was fluent in Japanese, and he trained with a ton of prominent aikidokai, and daito-ryu senseis over the years. One of the remarkable videos I saw of him was a recent account of all the Masters he had taken ukemi from ~ and how he described their aikido. Note that none of their Aikido were described the same way. I desperately wanted to post the video but it not available on a platform that would allow universal sharing, so I have included a summary of teachers and Pranin’s impressions of their skills on the left hand side for your review. I think it speaks volumes about variety and style. While we all strive for consensus in the Classical Techniques, I wager that there are fewer similarities once we begin exploring the applications of those techniques.
How Small a Circle Can You Draw?
Watch most lines of Ueshibia Aikido, and you'll see some pretty big circles running through their movements which they use to unbalance uke. I don't think our circles are that big, but I think we make a great case that you don't need to move so much by incorporating pain compliance early into our techniques. Now a quick question: How Small A Circle Can You Effectively Draw Without Relying On Pain Compliance?
I'm not sure I know the answer, but I do know that everything is Better when I Relax.
Last night I had the opportunity to work on the Jacket Grab Classical Technique with a brand new student. I get to work with a lot of new students, but I can say that if this particular student "sticks" ~ he is going to be really good at aikido. He has an obvious admiration for the art, and an innate martial understanding as to "what" an uke should do. He is wired for Aikido.
Like all new students, and many "not so new" students, he battled stiffness all night long. Once he had the rudimentary idea of what is supposed to be going on with the Jacket Grab, he proceeded to fight himself through the technique for the rest of the night ~ and who doesn't do that? We are all fighting to not be so Rigid to some degree or another. We all want to Relax our shoulders, to Settle our weight, to make our hands feel Heavy when applying the lock, to Exhale as we apply tap pressure, etc. All these ideas assist us in "breaking the notion" that we have to squeeze really hard, or tense everything up to make a technique work.
I hope the new guy comes back. I enjoyed working with him.
Training with Sensei Roy Goldberg of the Daito-Ryu Kodokai.
Now this man draws a small circle! Imagine grabbing someone, and then not being able to let him go, and then flying through the air for no apparent reason. It happened to me numerous times at the Roy Goldberg seminar hosted by Sensei MacEwen in Middletown, NY. I wish I could say more about "how he did those things" ~ but I can't, because I don’t know. Sensei Goldberg did techniques that you would not believe possible in that seminar, but then he would do them to you, and it was easier to believe.
Special thanks to Sensei MacEwen for the invitation to come, and to my hosts Rich & Liz Hammer. What an awesome trip!
Real Fight Break Downs:
Take a look at the video to the left to see how far your chin must fall to reach the pavement if you rely on your preconceived size advantage in the pre-fight stage of an altercation instead of managing your distance, and correctly positioning your hands to protect your vulnerable areas against potential strikes,
Dang Dude! Get Your Hands Up, and you won't be a laughing stock on youtube.com
Alright! That does it for the April Edition of Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido. I've got to get the grass mowed for the endearing Mrs. Wilson.
Let's meet together on the mats, and soon.
All the Best,
PS: Please forward this link to your Nihon Goshin Aikido training buddies and ask them to subscribe to our free monthly newsletter.
He Managed His Distance Poorly
The Late Stanley Pranin on his experiences taking ukemi from aikido and daito-ryu masters.
Noriaki Inoue (Aikido): I was thrown by him when he was an old man, but he was still powerful.
Saito Sensei (Pranin's Sensei): was a supurb tecnnician, perfect tecnnique, powerful, and precise. He had a computer for a mind, and a labyrth organizational system that cataloged everything he had learned from O'Sensei.
Kondo Sensei (Daito-ryu): Was a like a bull. Really strong, powerful and you said a small prayer before you grabbed him. Very effective and dangerous.
Tokemuni Sensei: He threw me a little bit in suwari waza. He was stronger than Saito Sensei if you can believe that, and he was powerful, even though he had lost weight.
I saw Sagawa Sensei. He was one of the most famous Daito-ryu teachers but he was reclusive, and he didn't want to teach foriegners. He was very hard to see, and when I was finally able to see him, they wouldn't let me touch him.
Kimouri Sensei threw me many times. He was very, very good.
Tomiki Sensei ~ I met him on about three occassions he was powerful, but less technical.
Shioda Sensei ~ his aikido was like an explosion, but he wasn't using power. It was based on precision, positioning, timing, and ki. He would throw his uchi-deshi very hard. At many points, I thought he may have injured them. He was very good, and he was so small. He probably weighed less than 100 pounds. He was O'Sensei's height, and thin.
On Aiki: There was aiki with all of these men, but there are different types of aiki. Some forms of aiki are like a caress. They move you so well that it's like the wind blowing through the trees, but other forms of Aiki are like an explosion.
Here I Am ~ Along for the Ride with Sensei Goldberg of the Daito-ryu Kodokai
The Aiki caress of Sensei Goldberg of the Daito-ryu Kodokai.