This Week In Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #10
May 24, 2014
Greetings Nihon Goshin Aikido Aficionado!
I hope all is well with you at your end of the great blue aikido mat on this outstanding Memorial Day Weekend!
Of course Memorial Day is that weekend that informally marks the unofficial beginning of summer (it was 93 degrees yesterday) but it is most importantly a day that we can all remember our fallen war dead; the great heroes of American wars who were unable to make it home. We ask for blessings on their families, and salute their sacrifice.
A little known fact or Memorial Day history: Did you know that the first widely publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance was held after the Civil War in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865?
During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Charleston Race Course; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. The freed-men cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled, "Martyrs of the Race Course." Nearly ten thousand people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1, 1865 to commemorate the war dead. Most attendees brought flowers to lay on the burial field. Today the site is called, “Hampton Park” and marks the front entrance to my alma mater ~ “The Citadel.”
David W. Blight described the day:
"This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”
In my mind, the broader message of Memorial Day is that there are many things worth fighting and dying for. While we lament the loss of life in the war on Memorial Day, I suggest that the day should also serve to remind us that there are things worth fighting and dying for ~ and these things are most often “ideas” and “truths” to which there can be no compromise.
Truths like: “All men are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Hopefully you recognize this list of ‘self evident’ truths from the Declaration of Independence ~~~~ as to these, there can be no compromise.
Our willingness to fight for ideals and truths as they relate to others is what makes us unique as a nation. Iraq went to war with Kuwait in 1990 to seize Kuwait’s abundant oil fields. In contrast, the United States went to war with Iraq to free the Kuwaitis.
This type of action is what makes us different. We fight not for ground, resources, etc., We fight for ideas and truths ~ that they may be afforded to all men (as they are by definition, unalienable).
From these considerations, I garner, that our understanding for martial applications should broaden in scope to stretch beyond the immediate physical nature of a perceived threat entering our Ma-ai (that causes us to slide into a bladed hamni stance and raise our hands in anticipation of what might come next), and extend outward to protect and cover any who suffer. Selah.
Aikido Topic Of The Week
Have You Considered the Leg Sweep (Osoto-Gari) Recently?
When you first learn it, it is typically known as “The Technique that leaves my bum sore” ~ because White Belt Uke’s struggle to get low early.... Lol
Entry level discomfort aside, what a great technique! Our Classical Technique Leg Sweep, in which we tenkan, works against any slow moving forward attack (eg: a 2 hand push, a 1 hand push, a round house punch, etc.). It’s awesome, and highly versatile. I found myself using it over and over again against all manner of slow moving attacks (like the ones listed above) on my Sho-Dan self defense test.
That said, what happens when the uke’s attack is going the other way? Consider a 2 Hand Jacket Grab in which Uke succeeds in locking you up and then pulls you towards him, instead of pushing you away from him. Can we can do a Leg Sweep here also?
Answer is “You bet you can!” In fact, when combined with a timely atemi, this attack is just asking for a Leg Sweep Application ~ but with an Irimi motion instead of our tekan movement that we think of when we think of the Classical Technique Version.
Consider the video to the right.
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Let's meet on the mat together soon!
Sensei John Carter and me
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While we lament the loss of life in the war, Memorial Day should serve to remind us that there are things worth fighting and dying for ~ and these things are most often “ideas” and “truths” to which there can be no compromise.
The entire video is worthwhile ~~~ 7 minutes of discussion on Irimi (entering) Applications for the Leg Sweep by Troy J. Price.
Also look for a great 2 Hand Lift Up Application on the finish.
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