Little House In Ise

Hard-Falls with Kokoro
December 9, 2007, 22:19
Filed under: Aikido, Family | Tags: , , , , , ,

While playing tag with Kokoro this afternoon I bit asphalt. My shoes were a little too loose, a little too round and I zigged a little too fast for road conditions. It turned into a hard-fall before I really knew I was going down. Not bad… I scraped some skin off my palm where I slapped the ground but nothing worse. Kokoro tagged me as she ran past giggling. I should be used to it by now.

One night, a couple years ago, Kokoro got quite angry at Ray for monopolizing my time. I was helping him prepare for a kyu test and I was being his uke. I’d call a technique and attack. Ray would then perform the technique on me. From Kokoro’s perspective though, we were just playing and she wanted into the game.

Ray’s school had an age limit of four years old before kids could begin training. Kokoro was three and not even a little bit interested. She wasn’t a part of the test. However, jumping on Papa is always a game that she’s willing to play so she felt left out. She insisted that we take turns — so we did. Ray and I would go through left, right, ura and omote variations and then Kokoro and I would to do something gymnastic. I don’t remember exactly what we did but pretty soon she added the formalized “Onegaishimasu” and bow when it was her turn. After a few turns the ritual stopped being enough, she really wanted _in_!

This was the moment that I, as martial-arts-geek papa, had been waiting for — the moment that my daughter expressed an interest in my art! What technique to choose as her first? What would seem fun? I wanted to pick something that would keep her interested but not be too complicated … A simplified kotegaeshi (小手返し : literally “wrist return”) fit the bill!

I held out my hand with my palm rotated unnaturally outward and showed her how to mirror her tiny hand on top of mine. I told her that all she had to do was press gently and I would be thrown to the ground. Of course, she didn’t listen. She had a vision of her own. Sadly, I made it all too easy for her to express that vision. Instead of mirroring my hand as I instructed, she reached around the outside of my wrist, grabbed my little finger and, hanging firmly onto that finger, did a knee drop to the ground.

My three-year-old daughter’s first Aikido technique threw me for a wicked high fall. I thank all the instructors and sempai who ever taught me to roll. I was able to keep up with thirty pounds of little girl as she levered my pinky causing my body to rotate about the axis of my wrist. My big fat butt shook the house when I landed. My wife came running, my son stood there stunned. Kokoro smiled and said, “Again!”

I really should be used to this by now…


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Not quite the same, but about a month ago my 9 year old daughter made an older boy cry in class; perhaps I shouldn’t have been proud, but I was 🙂

Without any malice she simply applied the technique (ikkyo) harder each time he resisted more. I like the kid, but he is very competitive and was in playful/annoying mood – resisting more than he should and finding it funny.

He got more annoyed each time because he was still going down, and on the fourth time his shoulder hit the mat harder than he expected. No bruises or anything, just a few brief tears. And, a good chance to explain to him that ukemi is all about keeping ourselves safe – not just annoying the person throwing us.

She’s not into the whole rough-and-tumble thing at all, so it’s encouraging to me that Aikido is appropriate for her, and in a decade or so she’ll have a good chance of looking after herself.

Comment by James

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