This Month In Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #19
October 7, 2014
In This Issue:
Greetings Nihon Goshin Aikido Aficionado!
So as you can probably tell by the timeliness of this edition of “This Month (might as well start calling it what it is) In Nihon Goshin Aikido,” I continued to delay working on my professional Continuing Education (CE) requirements, and have entered the summer of my veritable employment calendar. September - November have little meaning to me if meaning is tied to something other than work. Of course, November will come and go, and I’ll be bored again ~~~~ the life the self employed. If you can get used to “not getting paid when you’re not working,” it is the way to go.
Now in our last conversation, I was mentioning my CE requirements, and how I like to wait until the last possible moment to do them. The interesting thing about my CE is that some of the concepts never change, so in large part my CE is ridiculously easy. Tests that are supposed to take an hour to study for ~ and include an pass/ fail exam can be successfully passed in less than a few minutes ~ without ever cracking the source book texts. Consider this typical CE Question: “What item on a US 1040 tax return can be claimed either as a tax credit or a tax deduction?” ~~~~~~ If you were a CFP®, you’d hopefully have little difficulty answering this question!
Of course, the fact that some things never change sparked an interest in me to see if the same held true with self defense concepts, so I did some research. Consider this excerpt from an article about women’s self defense which was first published in Literary Digest on August 27, 1927:
Now we are asked to suppose that the bully has caught the young woman by the throat and is making it impossible for her to shout for help. What one does instinctively, says the Captain, is to reach up and try to pull the clutching hands away from the throat, but –
"You can’t get free that way. It is almost impossible to make an attacker give up a grip on the throat by dragging at his hands. The way to make a defense against a strangler is to lift a hand to one of the hands around your throat. Bend just one of his fingers back in a firm grip and force this one finger back toward the attacker. Act as if you were trying to break the finger." (Ahhhh, a Lift Up Application!)
"Small as that finger is, turning it backward toward the outside of the hand will cause him so much suffering that his whole body will reset backward in the direction his finger is being pushed, and the hold of the other hand on the girl’s throat will be relaxed."
"The girl now passes from on the defense to one on the attack. Her assailant has been completely disconcerted by the counter-attack and is so completely absorbed by his own suffering that if she moves quickly there is no difficulty in the next step."
"She brings her other arm under, around and on top of his, using force and still pushing the single finger backward. This position keeps the thug sideways to her, making it impossible for him to bring his other arm into play to fight her off, and she can either keep him under control and push down the street to where she can obtain help, or with a sudden application of force throw the man over on his back and run away." (Ahhhhh the Pivot Take Down from a Lift Up Application)!
"If a man grabs a girl from behind and puts his arms around her, she can use an old wrestling trick. Just swing the body sideways a little so that the nearest foot can be slipt (sic) behind him, place this foot between his feet and then straighten a little and he will lose his balance and be thrown backward. If executed quickly, this will knock a man off his feet." (Ahhhh a Scoop Application)!
So neat to see our so familiar techniques discussed so long ago! Click here to read the article in its entirety.
Clarifying Terms: What is a ‘realistic’ Martial Art?
Shortly after I was a nearly robbed man, I typed in Nihon Goshin Aikido, and learned about the art. It was from a source page that listed a bunch of different aikido associations and what they were doing, who founded them, how they were organized, etc. Unfortunately, since that initial search in November/ December 2008, I have been unable to find that site again, but I remember what the site said about Nihon Goshin Aikido. It said something like, “NGA is a combination of aikido, judo, and karate, and incorporates traditional weapons like the bo, the jo, and the iron fan into its training.”
Aside from one Pittsburgh Steelers fan who also trains in our dojo, I can not say I have ever seen anything close to an “iron fan” used as a weapon at any point in my NGA training, but I was hooked anyway.
So here we go ~ Consider these questions:
1. Do you need to train with a bo, jo, bokken, or iron fan to be effective?
2. Is it essential that you be able to clear a room with a set of nuchaka (that you never carry around with you)?
3. Should you be able to end a fight with a single knockout blow or punch?
4. Should you have a game plan should the fight go to the ground?
I would argue that the answers to the first three questions are desirable outcomes, but probably “not really” ~ but certainly being about to work with an improvised weapon of any sort is always desirable, so they are all worthwhile disciplines.
That said, the answer to the 4th question (Should you be prepared for a fight which goes to the ground?) Has to be an emphatic “Yes!”
The idea is simple, a realistic martial art should cover the most realistic fighting scenarios or situations. Certainly engaging in a 1 versus 4 battle with the 4 bad guys wielding katanas while you are unarmed sounds “cool,” it just isn’t all that likely to happen anymore ~ so why spend your precious and limited training time preparing for it?
Train for what might happen instead! If a fight ever does break out, according to one police study, you’ve got a 9 in 10 chance that the fight will end up on the ground. If it ends up there in terms other than you’ve dictated, will you be prepared? Consider the video to the left. Look how easy this guy is dropped to the ground.
What say ye?
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Aikido Topic Of The Week: Best Practices in Marketing our brand of Aikido ~~~ Let’s Make the Hakama Cool Again
When I was first considering taking up martial arts with my newfound spare time gained by deciding that 36 years was enough time running up and down a soccer field) and having been nearly robbed, I started with the Google search: “Soft martial art.” My soccer career had finally ended in a devastating groin & abdominal muscle tear that had me unable to perform a single sit up, or lift my head off the mattress. I had spent several months in physical therapy, and was just starting to feel “un-frail” again, when I was almost robbed. My kids were immediately enrolled in karate, but I sought something different ~ as I could barely move. So it was this that prompted my search for a soft martial art. Judo and Aikido popped up as results for my search, among a few other martial arts that I had never heard of. As I looked at the pictures and description of each art (one of whom I planned on studying), my eye kept being drawn to aikido. The guys in the hakama’s looked so cool, and what they were doing actually looked so unique ~ instead of the static punch/ block katas you see in so many places, aikido seemed alive and vibrant. Then I saw a website that pointed out that Steven Seagal’s martial art was aikido. A fan of his movies I next searched for “Steven Seagal Aikido.”
Obviously, all these great aikido pictures, videos, and websites came up as results and after watching a few videos like the one to the left, I typed in “Aikido Lexington, SC” ~ and my jaw dropped when I realized there was a Nihon Goshin Aikido dojo 15 minutes from my house.
My point is that for me personally, one of the many reasons I was drawn to the art was because of its unique look ~ namely the donning of the hakama. Because it worked for me, I believe that we should leverage the hakama in training ~ as it simply appeals to those who “may” join us.
The fact is, although I have never seen a picture of Master Morita wearing a hakama (though I have seen several pictures of Master Nara wearing one) most people outside our dojo walls associate the hakama with aikido ~ so we should consider that in our decision to wear it. We market our brand in all things we do martially and otherwise.
Consider this hakama story: A few weeks ago, I was early to the adult class at the Irmo SC Dojo, so I went to the dressing room and changed. As I was observing the last 20 minutes of the kids’ class, a parent came up to me, and said, “My kid was really not sure he wanted to do this when we took him to his first class last week, but then he saw you wearing your skirt!” (I was immediately on the defensive ~~~ lol), but the parent followed up immediately, “When we got to the car William (not his real name) told me that your skirt was the most awesome thing he had ever seen! He even made me look it up on the internet, so I typed ‘aikido skirt’ into the Google search engine and learned all about it!” (Type it in yourself.... She’s right, it’ll link directly to the hakama).
Well, I was taken aback by her comments to say the least, but what followed was a 15 minute question and answer series of motivated parent driven conversation.
As soon as I answered one question the next question quickly followed ~ but it was the last question that stuck with me long after the conversation ended. “Why are you the only black belt who wears the hakama?”
The hakama ~ it is associated with our art ~ it might be worthwhile to take advantage of its natural marketing tendencies.
Regarding Videos: in our last issue of “This Week In Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #18,” we featured Sensei Leventis’ powerful youtube video as ‘Exhibit A” for what we need more of ~ in terms of audio visual mechanisms to aid our potential future students in dropping by the dojo for an “Introduction to Aikido” lesson.
Youtube is the place to do get the word out, and it can be linked with email, Facebook, twitter etc.
This video is the total package, and is certainly worth your time to watch it. The music is compelling. The material polished to a bright sheen. There is a significant list of a variety of techniques not found in traditional aikido, and the attacks are realistic.
The point being the video is a marketing stroke of genius. Watch it again by clicking on the video to the left ~ and watch/ rewatch it for yourself!
As I said last week: this is a quality product ~ one we should try to replicate on our own, or link to independently, and in this manner leverage the skill and resourcefulness/ vision of one practitioner.
A couple of other points: When you post a video on youtube, make sure you “monetize” the video so that you get paid when people watch it. In this fashion you won’t get your hakama in a wad when someone posts one of your awesome videos to their site ~~~ as you get paid per viewer ~ so the more links you have to your video, the more you get paid for the video. I’m serious about this, and I have experience in it also. My company currently earns $300 - 400 per year from Google form our monetized videos on youtube. Obviously, that’s not a million dollars, but if you and I were walking through the Wal-Mart parking lot, and we saw four $100 bills laying on the ground, we’d probably both try to pick them up, right?
More subscribers is the goal ~ so can you help us grow our Newsletter Subscription Base by passing the website along to your training buddies and asking them to subscribe?
Our hope is to be an inter-dojo clearing house for all things NGA, but we need more subscribers to do that. Best of all, it’s free, and who doesn’t like the word free!” Click Here to Subscribe!
There is a Nihon Goshin Aikido Super Seminar in Lexington SC on November 1st. Instructors are Mr. Joe Beckham, Mr. John Wyndham, and Mr. John Carter. Workshop time is 11:00am - 5:00pm. This is the first seminar in the new dojo, so please try to attend if at all possible. More information is here. Unfortunately, I will be out of town that weekend, but that’s probably all the more reason to come!
Other fronts: Do You Have News On Seminars, Dojo Expansions, Relocations, Grand Openings, Promotions, and/or Other Information You Want To Share? Send us the information on it and we’ll post it here for you.
Nihon Goshin Aikido Store Merchandise: Enough said. Click here to get your NGA bling.
Let's meet on the mat together soon!
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I wonder if Takeda had a newsletter? ~~~ lol
What happens when the fight goes to the ground?
Look at how easily the aikidoka is taken down..... Look how quickly the fight is ended..... Notice the absence of force used by the grappler..... Gracie Jujutsu = Aikido on the ground. They are the perfect fighting combination for someone preferring not to strike in a self defense situation.
The Hakama ~ A Great Marketing Resource!
Chris Leventis is doing some great video demonstrations at his Aikido Academy of Self Defense in Tarpon Springs, FL
Consider this unbelievably processed Nihon Goshin Aikido trailer/ demo. Very Exciting to Watch! Kudos Sensei Leventis!
Also make it a point to list your youtube video under “Nihon Goshin Aikido” ~ so future students can find it when searching for aikido related material. The future of our art lays cast in our ability to market it to the public.
It’s all in the marketing.
Unless otherwise stated, the author’s views, musings, and opinions do not necessarily reflect the attitude of his sensei or other leadership within any of the various Nihon Goshin Aikido associations, or unaffiliated Nihon Goshin Aikido dojos.
Fall 2013 Super Seminar at the old Lexington, SC Dojo
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