Little House In Ise

Old Bears at Play
November 16, 2009, 17:06
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , , ,

Crush! Biff! Slam! Bam! Twist, pin, wham! WHAM! Two old bears went at it like cubs this morning. Both in their seventies and one a hachi-dan (八段: eight degree black belt), these two guys tore up the mat.

I’ve seen quite a bit of very hard Aikido since I came to Honbu but I had never seen this sort of torque, balance, weight and muscle applied so aggressively before. They were friendly enough, in a “thank you for returning my eyeball” sort of way, but it wasn’t in the slightest bit soft or fuzzy.

For the last several weeks my partner, a nana-dan (七段: seventh degree black belt), has been helping me to relax during the execution of waza and today was a continuation of that training. However, with the bear-fight going on next door, relaxing was hard! The fact that my partner would occasionally toss a friendly kidney punch into the melee was also a bit distracting. The problem with being distracted is that my partner would take advantage of that and, without speeding up or changing his technique significantly, pile-drive my head into the mat.

So, I tried to keep myself from being splattered, I tried to relax and maybe learn something from the bruisers too. The big guys did a lot of nasty joint work. As an example, I saw one kote gaeshi (小手返し: Wrist return) end up with a very jujutsu flavored arm-bar, one leg across uke’s chest and the other planted across his throat. Morote-tori was fun to watch too. Uke applied a nasty yonkyo and used it try to force nage into the ground shaking and jerking nage all the while. Nage responded with a skull-buster kokyu-ho. In the midst of all that there were a few wicked low kicks but they seemed, to me, rather like lace doilies on a lace tablecloth — just a bit too much of a “good thing”…

Throughout all that they rolled or fell on us a few times — only once was it an accident. Afterward I had the great pleasure of informing two men who are so much farther beyond me technically than they are beyond me in years (both almost twice my age) that they were using too much muscle. They both laughed.


2 Comments so far
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Oh, this was hilarious! Though I keep hoping that your own physical scrapes are minor and not life-threatening, as they sometimes seem to be.

Comment by Ita

Mostly they threatened my dignity. Being clobbered by an older but extremely experienced teacher is fine (it’s how I wake up most days). Having a couple of them just roll on top of me while they wrestle — just to be pains in the ass, mind you — is a different story…



Comment by Eric Holcomb

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