Little House In Ise

Bad Ass Bio-Mechanics will Play with Your Head
February 26, 2008, 09:56
Filed under: Aikido, Expat, Japan | Tags: , , , , ,

On my first day at Honbu, David, one of the senior foreign students
warned me not to practice in the corner of the mat to the left of the
shomen. That’s where all the really old guys do their stuff. He warned
me that the guys there play with your head as much as your body. I
laughed and filed it away as a cool saying.

Recently, one of the older (late 70s maybe?) students asked me
if I’d like to train with him. This fellow has been through multiple
knee surgeries and has had both replaced with metal parts. His knees
don’t bend and he can’t sit in seiza. He warned me in advance that he
does not do ukemi and we would have to go very slowly. Mostly I was
concerned that I would hurt the guy. I needn’t have worried.

He insisted that I go first, I think he wanted to see how I moved,
unbiased by his opinions of how technique should work. We started with
me slowly not throwing him and him slowly tossing me about like a rag
doll. At first it was pretty typical stuff until he made a sort of
Yoda-pulling-out-his-light-saber transition. He would drop me and
proceed to completely lock me to the ground. He insisted that I fight
all his pins… I now know what butterflies feel when added to a bug
collection. Aside from his wickedly effective pins, he also was able to
take my balance from a moment after contact was made. There was no
mystical Force at work here. The guy knew how to gently steal my balance
and keep control of it. He repeatedly showed me that the muscles in his
bicep were slack while preventing me from moving or escaping. For
kotegaeshi, he used two fingers on one hand to hold me down and the
other hand to ward off kicks.

After class, David, who had given me the very astute warning walked up
saw what was likely a dazed expression and said, “I told you! They mess
with your mind as much as your body!” He laughed at me and wandered away.

Fortunately, Patrice, another one of the foreign students, was hanging
out in hope of a little extra work. We threw each other around long
enough for me to feel as though I had not completely lost my way.


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