Training – Atemi and striking arts

A road less travelled – Aikido pins

In the post-war period of his life, the teachings of Master Morehei Ueshiba (Founder of Aikido) involved significantly less focus on the teaching of pins. This trend has for the large part continued since O’sensei’s death to the point that there are now schools of Aikido that only teach so-called “health pins”.

However, there are still those of us who enjoy and find value in the study of Aiki pins.  At our dojo, for example, we believe the study of pins plays an important role in ensuring that Aikido, in addition to its many other benefits, offers a complete form of self-defence.

The below short video features slow motion demonstrations by Takeda Satoshi Sensei (7th Dan AKI Aiki kai) of a number of rarely seen Aikido pins.  The video was taken during Sensei’s recent visit to Queensland at classes given at Aikido Kenkyukai International Fudoshin Dojo, Sunshine Coast and Fudoshin Warrior Dojo, Brisbane.

 

  • Other Pins

The below pics show demonstrations of other rarely seen pins in modern Aikido practice. All of the demonstrations are by the Founder.


 

Have a great Friday

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Fudoshin Warrior Dojo
Aikido Kenkyukai, Brisbane

Aiki studies – Cross hand grabs

Opposite side one-hand hold wrist grabs are typically one of the first “attack” types taught to new students of Aikido.  The reason for this is that the less aggressive nature of the attack (compared to say a strike) allows the nage (i.e. the receiver of the attack) to more readily focus on such things as correct footwork, moving around the point of contact, basic balance breaking principles, correct posture and movement, maintaining centre and getting off-line.

As we move to Aiki studies, however, the cross hand grab needs to be considered in the context of a more “real world” martial setting.  Specifically, the grab itself is treated as  nothing more than a precursor or set up for a follow through strike to the head or body.

In the below video Takeda Satoshi Shihan (7th Dan AKI Aikkai) provides instruction for dealing with a cross-hand grab from a purely Aiki perspective. As is typical in Aiki studies the emphasis is on principles with spontaneous creation of technique rather than a predetermined Aikido outcomes.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Fudoshin Warrior Dojo, Brisbane
Aikido Kenkyukai

Takeda Satoshi Sensei – Sunshine Coast Seminar

I had the good fortune opportunity on 19 November 2017 to a attend a mini seminar by Takeda Satoshi Shihan at Aikido Kenkyukai International Fudoshin Dojo Australia, Sunshine Coast Australia. It was the first time I have had the opportunity to train with Sensei. Fortunately, the opportunity would repeat itself as Sensei visited our own dojo a week later.  

Whenever I go to a seminar I always hope to either learn something new, gain a deeper insight into something I already have some knowledge of, or otherwise just be inspired. The mini-seminar delivered all three. Further, Sensei was incredibly generous with his time and went to much efforts to ensure we understood his teachings and unique perspectives on higher level Aikido practice.

Key learnings included an exploration of such Aiki concepts as:

  • Gathering an attack rather than fighting it;
  • Finding the zero-point in an attack;
  • Using centreline to take balance and move a uke;
  • Advanced ukemi; and
  • The importance of relaxed good posture.   

Sensei also explained the difference in the way grab based attacks were carried out in pre-war and post war Aikido, specifically the combined use of atemi (strikes) in pre-war times. As an additional bonus, Sensei also demonstrated of various Aiki Budo pins rarely seen in modern Aikido practice.

Dojo friend Steve (AKA Haybigz Bender) recorded the seminar and kindly agreed to let me post his highlights video (see below).

 

Huge thanks to Chicko Sensei for organising the event and also to all the folk from the 2 Sunshine Coast Dojos for making me feel so welcome.

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Fudoshin Warrior Dojo, Brisbane

      

Aikido – Common principles, infinite expressions

An informal demo by seniors at Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo doing a quick run through of the Aiki principles and techniques covered at a recent Saturday class.  The theme of the class was katadori (same side grab) attacks.

The video serves as a nice reminder that while Aikido shares common principles such as taking balance, merging with the attacker’s power and maintaining centre, it also has infinite expressions.

 

Learning from other martial arts – Jodan tsuki kokyu nage

Its always disappointing to read and hear martial artists criticise how each other train and make comparative negative assessments on the worthiness of differing Aikido schools and martial systems. Martial art bigotry of this kind has never had a place in our dojo and never will.

We have had the privilege on many occasions of having visitors train with us from different styles of Aikido and martial arts systems, including judo, tai chi chuan, taekwondo, jujitsu and traditional sword practitioners.  In all instances the interaction has not only given us some insights into their respective martial art/sport, but equally importantly given us greater understanding of our own Aikido and training practices.

In the below video, Dojo Senior Jeremy Gehrke, who is also boxing student, gives me the opportunity practice my Aiki parrying skills in response to committed boxing strikes.  The technique that is ultimately applied (on the change of strike) is a form of breath throw – Jodan tsuki kokyu nage.

I should add that the video should not be viewed as Aikido vs boxing.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Jeremy is doing no more than giving me two forms of committed boxing strikes  and allowing me to practice and develop responses to them using Aiki principles.  In short, he is a training partner graciously assisting me to learn and not a competitor in any way.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Conventional practice for jodan tsuki  

In the below video Dojo seniors (Ian Grant and Peter Marendy) practice jodan tsuki as it is typically trained in our dojo.

 

  • Jodan tsuki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Jodan tsuki ikkyo – Multiple strike application

 

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshn Dojoi

Its marvellous what a difference atemi makes – Tsuki zenpo nage

Tsuki zenpo nage is one of those techniques that for years had me baffled as to how it had any martial relevance  at all.  For those not familiar with the technique, it is more commonly seen in ki aikido dojos and basically involves the nage stepping to the side of a strike to the stomach, taking the uke’s arm and projecting them off.  The idea that a strike or thrust by a uke to a nage’s abdomen could ever result in the uke being able to be projected forward into an unavoidable roll-out in this manner always seem far fetched to me.  Further, I had never had anyone actually be able to do it to me without my full cooperation.  In the end I began to see the technique as nothing more than a rolling exercise.

Recently I came across a black and white video recorded sometime in the 90’s that included a range of hiji waza (elbow techniques).  To my surprise I recognised a hiji waza technique that was clearly tsuki zenpo nage in its martial form – Tsuki hiji nage.

So how did it differ?  Firstly the nage commenced the technique with a double strike to the uke’s abdomen and temple to break the uke’s balance at first instance (see photo of O’sensei at right).

This then easily segued into a locking of the elbow joint which in turn enabled the nage to continue to take the uke’s balance and then project them forward into an unavoidable roll. Any other response by the uke (eg resisting the roll out) would risk serious elbow damage.

Notably in the more typical Tsuki zenpo nage the elbow locking, as well as the atemi, was completely omitted.

Unfortunately, what has happened here is an example of an Aikido application being watered down (presumably for safety or philosophical reasons) to the point it had become martially irrelevant.  By removing the atemi (strike) and the elbow lock, the essence of the technique had become completely lost turning it into no more than an aided rolling or blending exercise.

Far more concerning, however, is that many of the Aiki principles underpinning the technique (you know what we are actually supposed to be learning) had been completely stripped from its application.  These include balance breaking, entering while moving off-line, “heaven-man-earth”, and nage/uke sensitivity and connection, and ukemi responses from an off-balanced position.

In the below video seniors from our dojo can be seen practising  Tsuki zenpo nage with the atemi and elbow lock included in the application.  In some instances, the nage also takes the added precaution of üsing their hip to provide added assurance that kuzushi (balance breaking) is maintained throughout.

 

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo, Brisbane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aiki principles – Yokomen is shomen

yokomen-morihei-ueshiba-arm-extende1In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei explores the Aiki principles underpinning a yokomen strike or cut in Aikido practice.

Yokomen is described in the Founders 2nd text, Budo (1938), as a “blow to the side of your partner’s head or down diagonally across (their) shoulder with your te-gatana (hand sword)”.

The importance of yokomen training in Aikido is also discussed in the text.  Of particular note is the statement that training in yokomen attacks “…contains the essence of all techniques“.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Yokomenuchi basics – Mike Jones Sensei – NY Aikikai

 

  • chicko-senseiChicko Xerri Sensei – Brief Bio

Our dojo is a Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of  Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th dan AKI (Aikikai), Tokyo.  Chicko Sensei has been practising and teaching Aikido for more than 40 years and is endorsed by Doshu Ueshiba.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo