Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Keep it simple

We did some complex stuff in class. Well, at least one complex technique. It started off as one off as a reverse nikkyo but then nage grabs the other hand and controls both shoulders. Uke is taken down without any arms (difficult ukemi if your partner doesn't know what he's doing) and the the double pin.

Hrumph. Let's just say, there were a lot of confused faces on the mat -- including mine -- except for Luke Machado. That guy can just see a technique, do a technique, perfectly, even the first time. He doesn't have to think about it. He's unconscious. He's like the Manny Ramirez of aikido.

It bugs me sometimes when we drift off into this complex stuff. I suppose I'll change my mind someday as a lot of the senior guys seem to love it. But it never strikes me as particularly realistic or very useful. I mean, there's so much to work on in the standard cannon of techniques, why improvise?

And how useful is it martially? I don't think, in the heat of the moment, such complex stuff is going to come to mind, and if it did, would it work?

On the other hand, "realism" is only one goal of training, and not the most important one, at that.

My main goal is to drill aiki principles, improve them and get them more and more integrated into my being. Things like relaxation, being centered, grounded, blending with the incoming attack, ki flow, extension, breathing, etc. For me, all this is still a challenge, even on techniques I've done a thousand times, so I don't need any added complexity to distract me further! I guess the more senior guys like the challenge. I can understand that.

I have heard Osensei called irimi nage the "20 year technique." Meaning, I think, that it is a perfect example of all aiki principals. Well, if Osensei says it takes 20 years to get it right, who are the rest of us to gum up the works with complexity?

Yamada-sensei ventures into variations from time to time, but I never felt overwhelmed by complexity by anything he did on the mat. I think that's something to think about.

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