Little House In Ise


Lying Eyes…
April 2, 2009, 17:57
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , , ,

Eyes lie, hands and feet deceive and feint. The chest is honest, where it goes, so goes the rest of the body. This is not my original idea, but it is a bit of martial logic that I have incorporated into my Aikido. When training, I watch uke’s breast bone just above the opening of most gi* and try to remain broadly focused.

Though hands and feet may lie, they can also deliver painful truth. Maintaining an awareness of them is critical. However, focus on one hand and get kicked in the knee. Focus on the feet and get slapped to the ground. A broad focus that encompasses the whole body is crucial.

If a blade is part of the conversation, one’s focus must be even broader yet. Many sensei and sempai have warned me of the dangers of being overly focused on the blade. Becoming absorbed by the threat is to submit to it. Since most of the disarming techniques that I have been focusing on lately have involved, essentially, throwing myself down the line of the sword as the attacker strikes (入り身:irimi, entering body), not being overly absorbed by it is the only way to avoid being cut.

In the US, I have had the pleasure of seeing Saotome Sensei demonstrate his astoundingly fluid sword-work. Not just spectacular, it is educational. Watching his sword weave and swoop, it becomes very clear that I have no idea how to deal with that sort of onslaught. In fact, anyone with a bit of experience with a sword could probably make a person of my skill level (unarmed) into bologna without a great deal of effort.

So, why the continued focus on sword disarming practice? Most people will never have to fight off an attacker armed with a sword in the first place. The purpose is really to teach timing, awareness and spacing. It can also have the benefit of teaching how to respond to adrenaline. My main take away from all this, aside from some nasty welts, has been the discovery that if eyes and hands are liars then swords are the lowest form of politician! If the point zigs the edge zags and the slow student learns another lesson.

  • I think this has irritated more than one woman. Yes, I am looking at your chest but, no, I am not looking at your chest. Does that even make sense?
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