Little House In Ise

2010 Mid-Winter Training at Honbu
February 4, 2010, 17:53
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , , , , ,

The two coldest weeks of the year seem like an excellent time for some hard training, right? Honbu Doju held its 2010 Kangeiko (寒稽古: mid-winter training) from Monday January 25 to Wednesday February 3rd. Regular and irregular students of all stripes showed up making an effort for kaikin (皆勤 : perfect attendance). After about three days the crowd thinned back to busy normal and stayed that way to near then end when the mat grew crowded again. The day after winter training ended the only people left were a few foreign visitors and some hardcore regulars (OK, I was there too, but I live in the neighborhood).

As per my usual, I attended ichibangeiko — the first morning class — taught by Doshu. The curriculum was as follows with each day devoted to a specific attack.

Monday 正面打ち Shomen uchi (forehead strike)
Tuesday 横面打ち Yokomen uchi (side of head strike)
Wednesday 逆半身片手取り Gyaku hanmi kaktatetori (toe-to-toe wrist grab)
Thursdsay 諸手取り Moretetori (two hands grabbing the wrist)
Friday 両手と売り Ryoutetori (both wrists grabbed)
Saturday 後ろ両手と売り Ushiro ryoutetori (both wrists grabbed from behind)
Sunday 肩面打ち Katamenuchi (grab shoulder punch face)
Monday 交差取り/合い半身片手取り Kosa tori / Aihanmi katatetori (cross hand grab)
Tuesday 突き Tsuki (punch / stab)
Wednesday 肩取り Katatori (shoulder grab)

On the Thursday following Kankeiko, Wakasensei substituted for Doshu and focused on shomenuchi.

All in all, I had a lot of fun but the my biggest revelation from this training was that I still have a pretty big hole in my iriminage (入身投げ: entering throw). When students of Aikido first see iriminage their impression is usually, “OK, I finally understand something — just smash him in the face with your arm, right?” Subtlety can really suck sometimes and this is one of them. Iriminage does NOT mean clothes-lining uke. However, it does mean that you need to be able to maintain the threat of smashing uke in the face throughout the technique so, if uke drops their defense, nage should be in a good position to knock their block off.

All that said, the key to iriminage isn’t the arm. The key is position (caveat eric: this is as I understand it now, if I discover that the key is actually a mystical force I will edit this article appropriately). Nage must enter behind and as close to uke as possible. From this point the tenkan and throw happens. It is also at this point that many of us find that we didn’t quite enter deeply enough or close enough. Entering too deeply is also a problem but, I think, less common. At any rate, if you don’t enter to the sweet spot, uke can very easily disconnect and walk away. Worse yet, a good uke can stay connected, over-rotate to the point where they are lined up perfectly to gut you.

What I have been experiencing recently is the latter. When a certain sempai decides to resist he has shown me that he can over-rotate, re-enter my space and pound me in the stomach. After repeated demonstrations of my lack of prowess, one of my favorite mean-old-men noticed my confusion and took the opportunity to point out a remedy. His claim is that a good way to practice finding the correct position for iriminage is to repeatedly do the “drop-em-on-their-ass” variation.

Uke attacks, nage enters deeply to uke’s rear. Nage is now standing close behind uke, almost touching. Nage puts both hands lightly on uke’s shoulder and then does a reverse tenkan, swinging the foot on the side from which they entered. While swinging their foot, nage lowers their center, dropping uke onto the ground. Repeat until it works without effort — I’m still working on that part.


%d bloggers like this: