NGAExperience® Nihon Goshin Aikido

Training Pedagogy:  

Finding Undiscovered Truth in Monotonous Repetition

By Jonathan Wilson


The neat thing about open mat time is your ability to focus on the small aspects of the art, and stick with it as long as you’d like.  


In a recent single 48 hour period, I had the opportunity to spend about an two and a half hours working the exact same application of the same technique from the exact same attack ~~~ over and over again.


Now some students might get bored with that approach, but I am not one of them. I was telling an enthusiastic friend of mine who was once showing me a myriad of potential variations of the same application, “Just show me a single picture without variation that I can repeat a thousand times without variation, and I’ll be fine.”


To which he earnestly replied, “but there are so many different ways of doing it!” to which I reaffirmed.  “If I can master just one of these variations, I will be much more successful at finding all the others.”


Maximizing single repeated performances, it is the most natural learning pedagogy ever discovered.  This is the notion of the Classical Technique.


So just an idea for your personal training:  rather than bust through one Application of technique after another after another after another ~~~ hitting as many as you can but never really focusing on any of them, slow down and work a single application of the same technique over and over again, and see what happens.


If you’re like me, the first three or four will feel “pretty good” ~ and you’ll be tempted to move on.... But keep working that technique.  Somewhere shortly thereafter, things will change.  Your uke will respond differently, or you will find that if you blade your stance, or you switch your feet differently, or drop your one point, or extend your ki finger even further than ~ all the sudden, things seem to get even better.  So you focus on that aspect for awhile ~~~ until another small change opens up a new line of exploration.  


In today’s open mat training session, I was all about stretching uke’s head up on the Spin Around with a Sword arm hooked nicely underneath uke’s chin ~~~ then slipping my back foot forward and behind him to create a modified high bridge as I dropped my one point and brought my sword hand straight down ~ in impeccable Unbendable Arm fashion.  


I’ve attached a video of that process.  My thought is that may possibly be a Spin Around Application that would be effective for training (at full speed) against any student in our system (assuming they can “sit down” when the “urge to do so” strikes them) ~~~ no side fall necessary.


Anyway, the point is that I was exploring....  Digging deeper...  Gaining an understanding about the dynamic reversal that makes the Spin Around hum.


What I learned today was that uke’s reversal can be applied left and right (like we typically do), but it can also be applied in an up and down motion should the need or inclination arise.  Up and down works very well when uke loses his balance on the turn, and tries to recover.

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Note the deep irimi tenkan entering movement @ 6 seconds leading to shikaku positioning... AT this point uke is toast.  His balance can be easily compromised in any direction, and regardless of the decisions he makes, he will be a compliant partner for Spin Around, Pull Down from the Rear, etc.

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