Little House In Ise

Random Wandering Badasses
March 15, 2009, 19:54
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , ,

Way back in the day, I used to be a gamer, not PC or console gamer but paper, pencil and funky dice. As either DM or player I was a classic example of a D&D playing nerd. Represent! One of the sometimes annoying and sometimes brilliant elements of D&D was the “wandering monster”. An encounter with a wandering monster was, in theory, a random event that the game master had not really planned. Sometimes the encounters were lame (orcs, kobolds, etc…) but sometimes you’d run into something cool and different and the balance of the adventure would turn on the whim of the dice.

I have been running into many of what I have begun to consider “Wandering Badasses” lately. Or rather, whenever I train in Watanabe sensei’s class. Watanabe sensei is noted for “no hands throws” sometimes called “spirit throws”. Without getting into the reality or applicability of such Aikido, I have attended his class with a relatively open mind. True to his reputation, his demonstrations are beyond typical grab-and-throw Aikido. Bluntly put, I don’t get it. Nor have any of the partners I have encountered in his classes either. Also, not one of them has fit the fuzzy-foofy stereotypical image of flowery Aikidoka who are unwilling or unable to either throw or take a punch. They have all been wandering badasses.

The first was a big tall white guy (from Osaka) who came to train at Honbu for the weekend. Neither of us “got” what the sensei was teaching so we just pounded the crap out of each other since that was so much simpler. Then there was the college kid. He wasn’t really a badass in the sense of massive guns and size but he wast fast, skilled and more than willing to remind my solar plexus (throat, ear, etc…) that if I didn’t pin him just right then I was “open”. Finally, there was the “Salary Man”. He visits monthly from Niigata and, apparently, trains as though the apocalypse is due any day now.

This was another instance of me knowing I was in trouble from the moment I laid hands on the guy. Call it training, instinct or whatever, I knew that I had picked another serious shit-kicker just by grabbing his wrist. At the start he tried very hard to reproduce the mysteries of Watanabe sensei’s Aikido but failed. In failing, his plan B was to reset his Aikido back into the physical realm of twisted joints and inhuman leverage. Following his lead I tried to do spirit throws but, from what I can tell, a lot of that requires that you intimidate you partner until they want to fall down without your help. My partner was having none of this so I had to go to plan B too. By the end of class, we were both huffing, puffing and soaked with sweat.

This wandering monster definitely made the adventure for me but I still don’t understand what the wizard was doing…


1 Comment so far
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Great post; I remember those wandering monsters–they could drain a few hit points, couldn’t they?

Comment by Primo Carlos

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