NGAExperience® Nihon Goshin Aikido

This Week In Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #6

April 15, 2014

Greetings Nihon Goshin Aikido Aficionado!

I hope all is well on your area of the giant blue mat.

Things are going well here.  While it is Spring Break week, the Irmo, SC dojo is open ~ so there are a few opportunities to train this week.

This past week I was doing some ukemi research on and came across a guy named "Sensei Moon" who runs a traditional aikido dojo.  He had a very interesting take on rolling versus break falling that I believe may be worth your consideration.  His idea was that a break fall offered zero ability for uke to counter ~ once he had committed to the fall, BUT if he rolled, there would be an immediate opportunity to counter upon recovery.  He demonstrated this in several videos using several different techniques ~ one notable example being the Spin Around (Irimi Nage) See the second video to the left.

All of Sensei Moon's videos have a true instructional focus (with student retention ~ via a gradual introduction into rolling' ~ seeming to be the central theme), but the higher level theory of countering off of rolls (previously mentioned) is also in there.  Definitely a video worth your consideration ~ especially for more advanced students.

Video link is the first video to the left.

Last week, I was also was thinking about the possibility of a fight going south (to the ground).  There is a police study that documented that 90% of all physical confrontations ended up on the ground over the course of the extended study.

It happens to everyone....  Heck it even happened in on my Sho-dan self defense test!  lol  Seriously, in one of the multiple attacker scenarios (I think the card's instructions are, "Bring man down by any means necessary.")  Anyway, both attacker rushed in ~~~ one black belt attacked my knees and the other attacker (also a black belt) came at me at shoulder height.  I blended, but was tripped by the attacker on the ground (who had grabbed one of my ankles).  The result could have been tragic, had I not spent some time studying the fundamentals of ground fighting offered through our dojo (witch is also a Certified Gracie Combatives training center in addition to a Nihon Goshin Aikido dojo).

Basically that entire fight sequence was on the ground, but I was able to stay in a top position subduing the first attacker with strikes, and then forcing a tap on the second attacker with a rear naked choke.  I would have obviously preferred to stay standing, but since that was not an option, it was nice to have some idea of what to do once I was on the ground.

Along those lines, I posted an article titled "Randori Training ~ What To Do When it All Goes South?"  The article is a compilation of vignettes or short stories mostly told by Chris LeBlanc who had written another more scholarly article on the topic of ground fighting.  The article I posted is basically a series of his comments on the article ~ which I found more interesting.

Link to Randori Training:  What To Do When It All Goes South?"

An excerpt from the article follows:

From Tim Mailloux:

“Several years ago while at an aikido seminar, I witnessed 2 younger (mid to late 30's) and very talented / high ranking aikido teachers (one a 4th dan, the other a 5th dan) get into a brawl.  They got into a real fight during the seminar while training with one another.

Apparently the two sensei had a lot of "history" and hated one another.

Things got really ugly and serious punches started flying.  Really sloppy, wild punches I might add. They were both swinging for the fences.

A few seconds later they were both on the ground doing what looked like really bad ground and pound MMA until they were pulled apart.

Not at any point did either one of these high ranking aikido guys do or even attempt anything that vaguely resembled aikido."

Which leads to some speculation:

My great concern with traditional aikido is the absence of realistic attacks  ~ and the inclusion of realistic attacks is also what I love about Nihon Goshin Aikido.

Let's face it, a shomen-uchi (chop to the front of the head) ~ takes a whole lot longer to reach its intended target than a straight jab to the nose ~ especially when the attacker's hands are already up and protecting his face as would be the case in a real fight.  Further, with traditional aikido practitioners  ~ the uke's non striking hand is always down by his side ~ making a punch combination series impossible.

In my limited experience, it seems that once a realistic punch combination is thrown (even a simple Left Jab => Right Roundhouse), many of the traditional aikido guys seem to just get 'smacked' or the fluidity of the technique the describes them vanishes.

Across all aikido styles, it seems we all decry the need for realistic training, but shouldn't that include striking also?

On other fronts:

Here is a Florida Seminar worth your consideration (Dates are May 9-10 and the cost is only $30 if you pre register, or $40 at the door).  It is very affordable.  The location of the seminar is in Tampa, FL (near Raymond James stadium).  The instructor is Mike Jones, an aikikai based aikido practitioner with unbelievable ukemi skills.  Soft Ukemi is believed to be the topic.  I believe soft ukemi to be the next evolution in making aikido fun.  Let's face it, judo breakfalls are only "okay" when they're done perfectly.  This new soft ukemi style (developed by Donovan Waite Shihan) serves a purpose of extending our ability to train ~ and not running off new students who become overwhelmed by the perceptions of the judo break fall.

Soft Ukemi video link here (BTW, these guys are also from Tampa, FL ~ so they may also be at the seminar): (video to the left)

I hope to attend the Florida seminar with some other students from my dojo.  I think one of the Florida NGA guys (from Mr. Eagle's dojo) may also make it.

Website link for more information and sign up is here:

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Let's meet together on the mat soon,


Jonathan Wilson

Sensei John Carter and me

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