Aikido on my mind!

19 11 2011

Not only on my heart.. and hopefully soon I’ll put both, heart and mind, “on” the mats!

Time to wear my keikogi again!!

These days I have been extra busy, mostly with after work tasks and things to do, mostly for fun or.. “fun”.. (or remunerative part time activities, still taking though lots of time). The result has been too much time with zero physical activity (except a quite productive weekend cleaning home)! And you cannot imagine the effect on my already not optimal condition.. uhm.. of the belly!

A couple of nights ago I met a few young students from the local university that I knew from before and a couple of new ones. They were eager to speak English and one also studied Japanese as second language. So, from the general speaking the conversation moved to Aikido.

Then I showed them 2 videos from the net (available on Chinese pages as well!):

Tissier sensei in Bercy:

Endo sensei at All Japan Aikido demonstration:

(not sure if exactly these 2 but similar ones..)

The quite surprising comment by one of the girls was that Aikido looked violent and brutal…. and she said that during Endo sensei video!!!

Not that I think that Tissier sensei is brutal, but the ukemi taken by his partners in his videos might appear as the result of a brutal technique.. to someone that does not know any martial art.. But I would not have thought such a comment coming from a Chinese person, given that on TV old Chinese kung-fu (功夫, gōngfu) movies are a constant! And the old movies have very little of the grace of the modern ones (old Jet Li or Jackie Chang movies are quite violent!! Especially Jet Li ones!).

So after the comment, I felt compelled to show that actually Aikido is based on relaxation and not force, feeling and physics, not strength and magic.. as many Aikido videos might appear to people that never tried.. (ok, also to me some more exotic Aikido forms, or so called “free Aikido”, appear funny, at the least..). So, using the male student there as partner, I just showed some basic kokyoho from strong morotedori grip, typical Endo sensei and Kanetsuka sensei application exercises. When getting warmer, I asked actually 2 people to old my arm (the male student was strong yes, but half my weight probably!!) and just show how being relaxed is more effective than trying to use the force.

And then, it was time for them to try, once explained the physics of the movement and a little about the silent agreement between partners in order to learn together (the one attacking should not just change the grip as soon as it feels uncomfortable, but keep on following at best in order to help the partner to learn.. funny that this is the most discussed argument against Aikido by competitive martial arts, as if they were also not doing exactly the same at practice, as beginner and not when learning new techniques! But this is a topic for another post 😉 ).

Realizing that some basic movements, very easy (somebody might remember the “rabbit” movement..) can be extremely effective. Especially for people that are not especially strong.. like little Chinese girls.. or fat old Italian men 😉

Impossible not sharing one of the Aikido pictures I love the most:

Aikido in Wuhan

(I’m not so naive or stupid to say that a tiny child can take down a grown up with Aikido.. or Kung Fu.. or TaeKwonDo.. or Karate.. but it is nice being able to practice with so small children that are already able to perform techniques sometimes better than adults I met here and there in my Aikido trips..)

Today finally another Aikido weekend, after my fast visit to Hangzhou for only a Sunday of touch-and-go of practice.. I’ll be in Wuhan for the weekend, and the direct and effective Aikido that the main teacher shows is a good @$$ kick back to some sort of condition.. if I survive!

If not, physically, I am anyway sure I will have a great time with these special new friends in Wuhan.. friends that even practice a very different form of Aikido still enjoy the exchange and meeting people like me with another vision of the same root.. as I enjoy their form..

And probably for the first time I risk to be cold in Wuhan: the weather is turning toward winter and they told me the big dojo in Hankou is really cold.. I will see if it is as cold as Tekisuikan Gløshaugen Aikido room in winter, when the penguins usually take sauna with us to warm up after passing through that room!! 😉

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