Little House In Ise

Ass Kicking
September 2, 2008, 18:27
Filed under: Aikido, Japan | Tags: , , , , ,

I don’t know how much longer I can take all this ass kicking. My ass that is.

The other day I trained with a slight, fragile-looking young college student. I spent most of the class making sure that I wasn’t hurting her (arms are just NOT supposed to bend that way no matter what she said about it being “normal”). At the end, I may have made a slightly vain wish to train with a strong partner or two. The Aikido Faerie must have heard my wish because this week it has been granted — in spades.

Yesterday, I trained with an older fellow who, like me, had not arranged a partner in advance. He led me into a crowded space in the center of the mat and then indicated that I should strike. As I’ve mentioned before, the first technique in Doshu’s morning class is usually shomen uchi irimi nage (正面打ち入り身投げ) and this was not an exception. I lined up, targeted and swung at his forehead. Apparently, in some circles, that is the signal to unleash the dogs of war and open vast cans of whoop-ass. First contact sent me into a barely controlled high-fall in a tightly crowded space. After that only a couple more high falls were required to keep my head attached.

I followed my partner’s tempo thinking that I probably had better wind than he did and that turned out to be true. Though he did finally slow down he didn’t really relent, he just started to throw in more atemi (strikes). At one point, I missed my footwork on a kotegaeshi (小手返し) and he launched a wicked side kick into my guts. Whew! It felt just like my commute.

The next day I partnered with a younger, taller, stronger, more athletic foreign fellow who I had wanted to work with for some time (I had liked the guy until I typed that description — sheez!). He was much more gentle than the older fellow from the previous day but I was way out of my league in the stamina department. This guy was able to maintain his remarkably fast pace from start to finish. By the end of class my form was limp as my gi and I was barely able to roll. It was a _great_ practice and tough. I look forward to training with him again when the weather cools just a bit more and he is significantly older and slower (kidding).

Though in two days I have gotten more hard-core Aikido than in I had in the previous week, I don’t know how much more my butt can tolerate being kicked this week. Whew! Perhaps the Aikido Faerie will bring me a tired old shihan who just wants to teach? Hint, hint…


5 Comments so far
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Oh, ouch!
Is kicking/hitting when there is an opening ill guarded common even if the practitioner is of low grade ?

Comment by costic

No! This fellow is a rare gem/special breed of hard-ass. Most of the older guys will let you know when you are leaving yourself open with a more-or-less gentle thump, whack or scowl. Don’t get me wrong, I _respect_ him and now that I know what to expect I quite enjoy training with him. That first day I was pretty shocked. He spent no time sizing me up or even waiting for an opening in the crowd… Anyway, I’ve been thwacked plenty of times but that was the first time, at Honbu, that I had been kicked.

As for “low grade” there is rarely more than a handful of white-belts in that class. I think, around 3rd kyu-ish is about when most take their first visits to the 3rd floor but there isn’t any rule that I am aware of.

The vast majority of regulars are yudansha with a decent percentage of those being sensei and three to four shihan are in Doshu’s class most days. Though I post about the wild and the exciting, normally morning class with Doshu is pretty accessible to Aikidoka who can wake up early enough to attend.

Comment by Eric Holcomb

Ah, I see! I do enjoy practicing with one of my sempai’s. He is as well as aikikai, well experienced in judo, tomiki and most likely a bunch of other styles. What I enjoy is that when seeing a opening I tells me to stop, and just looks at me long enough for me to realize how I’m standing and where then *poff* I’m on the ground. This helps me to feel as well as just “understand” what I did wrong. But when I read your post I feared for my health and mood when practicing in Japan. (Yesterday I bought my ticket!!!!)

Comment by costic

It’ll be fine. That said, as in other country’s, every dojo you visit will have a different feel. Enjoy your trip and if you get a chance to visit Aikikai Honbu in Tokyo say “Hello” and maybe we can roll around a bit!

Comment by Eric Holcomb

[…] distributed a list of names and ranks of everyone promoted was unveiled on the back wall. A friend, Shannon (tall, strong, talented New Zealander) was promoted to 3 dan — too […]

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