Jushinkan Hefei!

20 03 2011

Ok, ok… this is a typical over statement, just to produce some special interest in the audience.. but to keep more my feet on the ground, better stating the fact 🙂 :

I finally had an Aikido session here in Hefei!!!

PracticeI strongly doubt that this will lead to a real creation of a club here, not yet, different from the now extremely established club I left in Stavanger, Stavanger Jūshinkan Aikido. Stavanger club was just the evolution of an extremely effectively ground work done by my good friend and great martial art mind, Bob, aikidad! Over there, after joining his Tomiki Aikido dojo and practicing together for a couple of years, we decided to start an Aikikai new reality. And the dream/project worked out very well! But the club was barely a small step of evolution, starting from an already stable group of people. People that had already practiced Aikido, that knew about Aikido and.. I was never alone in the project! Bob, together with Jacqueline, Christian, Flurin, Inger, Tommy, then Karwan, Thomas Andre’ and other gifted practitioners supported the whole process, participating at classes, helping with the organization and giving form, structure, to a dream.. making it the reality it is now!

Anyway, back to Hefei, I finally have a chance to teach Aikido thanks to the great help of 潘蕾  and the interest of several students I had the pleasure to meet at the English corner organized by the Foreign Language department of Hefei University. Once meeting these students at another event organized for the freshmen, I noticed a yoga room with tatami mats. So I asked 潘蕾 if it was possible to use that room, and actually it is.. at least in the weekends. Not the best solution for me (since weekends, when I can, I prefer to go to Hangzhou or Shanghai for practice) but I take of course any possible chance I get offered!

So, yesterday, I went to my first Aikido session at Hefei college, curious to see who was actually coming.. and they were a nice little group especially of girls from the Foreign Language department of the college and a couple of guys.
Aikido in Hefei
They had prepared also a huge poster, finding some info on Internet and some pictures, also with o’Sensei Ueshiba Morihei, but it was partly destroyed by some other students:

Aikido in Hefei Aikido in Hefei

Saying that except what they read on Internet, nobody of the people that came to the session knew anything about Aikido. They came because they knew me and a couple of the people there are actually studying Japanese language!

So, it was one of my first times ever teaching alone a complete beginner class! In Trondheim I have been teaching new beginners together with  Sverre or some other instructors, and it is completely different having at least another person graded in Aikido when starting a.. club from zero!

So I decided to focus on basic ushiro ukemi, just falling from standing and the most typical applications, sumiotoshi and kokyu ho. The latter technique also for introducing the basic concepts of Aikido: relaxation, center line, elbows down, “hold the big glass and drink your juice” kokyu ho movement. Baby steps from kokyu ho I went into shihonage omote.. and got an applause!! 😀 That was a first time!!! Kind of cute! (I also got an applause when showing a complete ushiro ukemi movement!)

I realized something special about ukemi foot movement: Chinese people have extremely flexible knees and ankles, because of their common squatting position, so for them it was almost natural to move the foot backward like normal step, leaving it flat on the mats when preparing standing ushiro ukemi and then lowering the body for falling, without having any problem on the ankles.. The safe way for falling backward from standing is retract the forward foot and setting the foot upper/lateral part on the mats, keeping the weight on the other leg and lowering the body for rolling. More difficult to write it down then doing, but for almost all the Chinese there it was completely natural doing something that probably would snap my ankle!!!

Just to have some more fun and easy applications, not involving falling, I introduced a technique that girls especially always like: escaping from ushiro katatedori kubijime attack using kokyu ho and easy hips movement, avoiding the strangulation. Then I follow with ushiro ryote dori grip and how to get the hands in front, using both the more typical way moving wrists in front of center and lifting avoiding opening the arms/elbows or using muscles and the so called “rabbit” hands way that Endo sensei used to love so much, focusing more on completely relaxing the arms and lifting the hands in a rabbit fashion, forgetting having the elbows at all. It makes always smiling the people on the mats, and at the same time they all understand extremely fast how to perform the movement.

Wrapping up all the good feelings, I closed the practice with suwariwaza koyu ho, using both common kokyu ho and more Endo sensei rabbit wrist movement! 🙂

Let’s see if this was a one time only or if they will ask me to go another time.. I gave my availability and I of course will keep my fingers crossed all the week hoping to be called in next weekend as well!! 😀

Aikido in Hefei
FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – I tried through my contacts to spread the voice about the best training clothing: sport trousers and t-shirt.. but apparently the voice did not reach very far!! Most of people were wearing jeans and coats! Typical for Chinese people I’d say! Since there is no heating systems, they are used to always wear coats in houses or classrooms or offices. Then, even for TaiJi or any other activity they often do that in jeans. Trust me, teaching basic ukemi to people wearing jeans is not the easiest thing of the world!!! 🙂

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2 responses

20 03 2011
svein

Oh yeah!!! 😉

Congratulations!!! 😉

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20 03 2011
mathias

Congratulations ! I wish you all the best with this new adventure! I hope it will last and be successful!

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