Little House In Ise

A Muggle Meets a Wizard
June 18, 2008, 19:07
Filed under: Aikido, Japan | Tags: , , , ,

I have spent today re-playing in my mind three bits of wisdom from one of the little old wizards of Honbu Dojo. His other tips and corrections, however, have faded like the last remnants of a pleasant dream — leaving behind a familiar frustration. So, I have been clinging firmly to what I have been able to and these notes are a part of that.

Shomen uchi iriminage (正面打ち入り身投げ) is all about appropriate distances, entering, blending and connection. For me, it is the epitome of Aikido. When iriminage is light as wind, it is at its best. However, hidden within that lightness, there is a heavy shaleighli and an abrupt introduction to the ground. The iriminage related tip was about blending and entering. I have been cutting uke’s arm too far to the outside. When cutting down, bring uke’s striking arm into your own center, they will be drawn in. As they are drawn in, you enter too. Together, the two motions puts nage in ideal position to gently (or less gently) guide uke into the ground. I have been playing this cut and blend over and over in my mind.

For many years, I have performed ikyou (一教) by alternately “drawing a circle around uke’s ear with their elbow” or pushing their elbow through their head. My partner’s tip was far more elegant and subtle. Instead of “pushing”* around or through, my partner suggested that urging uke’s elbow UP was best. Up seems to create a softer connection that unbalances uke without them being as aware of it. I may have been taught this a half dozen times in the last twenty years but today it clicked. Soft is good!

The tip on Morote tori kokyunage (諸手取り呼吸投げ) was more of a really well timed reminder. The arm that uke takes should project outwards and curve gently up. Maintaining upright posture, nage performs an irimi tenkan (入り身転換) and meets uke shoulder to shoulder. Nage ‘s arms should be extending out and up similar to those of the statue of OSensei. At this point, if nage rotates their hips, uke will fall.

I hope this makes sense to others. To me, it is just my way of hanging on to what was being taught. I hope my muscles remember some of the rest because my brain certainly doesn’t.

*”Pushing” is the wrong word but it’s what I’ve got. If you’ve done this before you know what I mean. If you haven’t done it before, “push” will do. 🙂


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Good summaries–they make sense to me. I distinctly remember being taught that ikkyo trick (at least it sounds like the one I was taught). For me it’s a blending rotation with slight upward pressure, my own elbow down/in. It’s good to be reminded that the pressure should be below the level of perception. For some reason these sorts of tweaks remind me of driving with a manual transmission; there’s a spot where the stick moves effortlessly, and everything engages.

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