Another hot Saturday morning and another excellent turnout. It’s always great to have guests drop in from other dojos. This week we were fortunate to have Erwin Sensei (Nathan Dojo), Angela (Aikido Republic Dojo) and Neil (Aikido Republic Dojo) drop in for a visit.
Okay lets’ look at what we covered.
The big emphasis this week was having regard to the third-third-third principle to maintain optimal balance. Under this principle, the distance between the feet is divided into thirds and the Aikido practitioner’s centre moves only within the middle third. The principle applies regardless of whether you’re standing stationary (e.g. in hanmi) or moving.
The principle was explored in the Aiki Taiso (Exercises for Aikido arts) with particular reference to the Ikkyo, Sayu and Sayu choyaku exercises. It was also looked at in the context of applied techniques, including atemi (striking techniques).
Ukemi this week focussed on breakfalling.
I recently watched Erwin Sensei teach breakfalling by having the uke roll out multiples of times from a zenpo nage (projection technique), but each time rolling out smaller and smaller until they ultimately rolled out into a low breakfall.
I intended to cover this rather novel and natural approach to breakfalling in the class today. It was an absolute bonus when Erwin Sensei decided to visit the dojo. Big thanks to Erwin Sensei for agreeing to take this part of class and sharing his knowledge.
Yoko otoshi (side drop)
In terms of applied ukemi, the technique this week was yoko otoshi (side drop). This technique really tests the uke’s ability to take ukemi from a strong projection. The technique is also interesting as its one of the few sacrifice techniques in Aikido.
For those wishing to explore this some more, there are a few examples on You tube (e.g. see Aikido yoko otoshi). You may also wish to search under uke waza which is the Judo equivalent to this technique. Maruyama Sensei also covers the technique in one of his earlier instructional DVD’s (sorry no You Tube clips available).
At Susan’s request we covered menutsuki (punch to stomach or chest) techniques this week. Techniques covered were as follows:
- Menutsuki ushirodori (hold from behind)
- Menutsuki koteagaeshi (outward wrist turn)
- Menutsuki kirikaeshi (cut and return)
- Menutsuki zenpo nage (forward projection) – using a single cut.
I particularly like menutsuki ushirodori – it’s simple, direct and effective. It’s one of those techniques that just seems to always work once you get the hang of the kuzushi (taking balance) part and the “wet blanket” feel when applying it.
Although slightly different from the munetsuki ushirodori we tend to do in our School, I found some interesting instruction on this technique in the following You Tube video. What I like about this video is that it demonstrates the power that can be generated if the technique is done properly.
We also looked at responding to munetsuki strikes from the open side. To me, use of atemi (striking) is strongly advisable if the nage is going to avoid the possibility of a second strike from the uke’s other hand. We looked at entering using Ikkyo atemi for this purpose (again employing third-third-third principle).
With gradings coming up in a week’s time, taninzugake (multiple attacks) was a big part of the class. Taninzugake is particularly emphasised in our school as it gives students the opportunity to develop their techniques in free form practice.
I found this short taninzugake demonstration by Master Koretoshi Maruyama (the founder of Aikido Yuishinkai). Those who haven’t seen it before may find it quite interesting.
All the best