Training – Falling and ukemi arts

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.

 

Video overview of last Wednesday’s class

See below a quick demo at the end of Wednesday’s class covering most of the techniques that we practised. Big thanks to Jeremy for helping out with the impromtu run through and to Peter for filming it.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

 

 

Saturday’s class – What we covered in 36 seconds

We’ve introduced a new tradition lately where seniors do a quick run through summary demo at the end of class of what we covered in the previous 2 hours. This Saturday it was informally recorded and makes a nice video momento of a typical class at our dojo.

Free form ukemi training

o-sensei,throw,Training in how to safely receive technique (ukemi) is something that is particularly emphasised at our dojo.  In every class time is set aside to develop and refine our ukemi skills.  Everyone participates, however, the level and intensity of the practice varies consistent with each student’s experience and skills.

One form of ukemi practice  that we have a lot of fun doing is what we call “free form ukemi training”.  Basically the uke repeatedly receives different variations of the same technique which, depending on the variation, result in unpredictable and different falling outcomes.

Ian Grant - Aikido UkemiRyotadori seoi otoshi is a favourite technique for this sort of training. Subtle changes in the application of the technique result in the uke having to unpredictably roll or breakfall from the left or right hand side while in an unbalance position.  They also result in alterations in the space between the uke and nage, as well as the extent to which the some or all of the nage’s body operates to sever the uke’s connection to the ground.

The use of ryotadori seoi otoshi  for this sort of training is demonstrated in the video below.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Video Library: Falling and uke arts

For further videos and posts on ukemi training, including how to forward roll, see Video Library: Falling and uke arts.

 

  • Ryotadori seoi otoshi – the basic elements

In the below video, Peter Kelly Sensei, International Instructor for Aikido Yuishinkai, demonstrates the shape and footwork for ryotadori seoi otoshi as practised in our school. As noted in the lead-in commentary for the featured video, in order to produce different ukemi outcomes for training purposesparticipants made subtle (and maybe at times not so subtle) amendments to the execution of the technique.

 

  • Training methods for learning to breakfall

For examples of training methods that we use to develop our breakfalling skills (one aspect of ukemi) see the below video.  More detailed information on ukemi training can be found in the Video Library: Falling and uke arts.

 

Have a great week.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Exercise – Forward rolls and learning to relax

UkemiFor many beginners to Aikido, learning to forward roll is one of the most challenging and frustrating parts of Aikido training.  Further, once the mechanical skills of rolling are learnt, first from a kneeling position and then from a solo standing position, the next challenge is to learn to relax when rolling.  The more one relaxes the easier rolling is to do. The lumps and bumps that also come with learning this skill also quickly disappear.

In the below video Master Koretoshi Maruyama, Founder of Aikido Yuishinkai,  demonstrates a fun way to learn to relax when solo forward rolling.  Essentially, it involves the practitioner pretending to stumble and walk around relaxed (as if drunk) prior to executing the roll.

As bizarre as it may seem, this exercise actually works.  In fact, at our dojo the exercise is done as part of our regular solo ukemi practice at the beginning of each class and has proven beneficial to both seniors and newcomers in developing relaxation in not only forward rolling but also other forms of ukemi (e.g. backward rolling and opposite leg rolling).

 

Needless to say this exercise should never be practised by people actually under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

ADDITIONALO NOTES

  • Other ukemi articles and video

See: Video library: Falling and uke arts

  • Maruyama Sensei’s comments on receiving ukemi from O’sensei 

Ueshiba 5“After I became a full-time instructor in 1967, Ueshiba Sensei used me as his uke. As a deshi (student), it was important to take ukemi. One deshi didn’t know how to take ukemi from O-Sensei and went down with a bang. I already knew that Ueshiba Sensei used ki. I wondered, “How to take ukemi from O-Sensei?” So I decided to extend ki to him. He said, “Come, Maruyama!”, and I attacked him.

After taking ukemi from him, Ueshiba Sensei looked at me, and said, “Good ukemi!” He then asked what rank I held and I told him I was a 5th dan. He gave me a 6th dan and told me to go to the office to get the certificate! I thanked him but I never picked up my certificate. However, I had learnt an important lesson, “Extend ki to your opponent!””

Source: http://www.shinsei-dojo.co.uk/koretoshi-maruyama-sensei

Have a great weekend

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Moments in breakfall

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUkemi (the art of receiving technique) is something we take very seriously at the dojo.  It is not only a critical skill to ensure our safety, but also plays an important role in developing  fundamental skills associated with balance, using relaxed power, correct body movement and flexibility.  Further, it is impossible to learn how to execute a technique unless you have someone willing to receive it.

In every class, there is always a segment dedicated to learning and improving our abilities to receive technique.

In the below video, which was taken at various classes during the year, dojo seniors can be seen using Aikido breakfalls to safely receive technique.  Breakfalls are one of a number of ukemi options that are available to Aikido practitioners when receiving a throw. Another commonly used option, depending on the circumstances, is rolling away.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior