Ok, how about aikidoblogging?

Does anyone else do aikido among my oh-so-massive readership? If not, this post will be meaningless to everyone. But, fuck it. Aikidoblogging.

I’m probably the world’s longest-running 6th kyu, since I first started aikido, oh, eleven years ago, but have never taken a rank test. How did that happen? An incredibly long series of moves, breaks, and (unrelated) injuries. Anyway.

So I usually train at the Stanford club, but it was off this week, so went up to the parent dojo to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. Great, so why is this worth a post? Well, it was a really interesting class, because we did blindfold technique. Like, actually wearing blindfolds.

It was bizarre: I had a total reversal of my usual practice. Techniques that I usually have trouble with, came effortlessly. Techniques that usually come effortlessly just didn’t work blindfold. We did a limited jiyuwaza (katatedori, kosidori and morotedori only) — the hardest part was figuring out which hand was grabbing.

So shihonage is my pet technique. I can do it in my sleep. My default technique for whenever I don’t know what else to do is shihonage. I can find shihonage from any attack, often by accident. I love shihonage. I couldn’t do a shihonage to save my life, blindfolded.

Instead, it was all kokunages. From everything. I’ve always struggled with kokyunages, but blindfolded it was just woosh, woosh, woosh.

My working hypothesis for this is that being blindfolded made it impossible for me to force things through. All you can really do when you can’t see exactly what the attack is is blend — like, actually blend — and then just go somewhere. Which, for me, meant blend, turn, extend and turn again for a kokyu throw. But you can’t really try to clothesline uke blindfold, because you don’t know where uke is, exactly. So you just have to trust that uke will fall down and turn with strong extension… i.e., exactly what you’re supposed to do when you can see uke. Being blindfold forces those of us who have a tendency to force techniques to do it right. Whereas when I was trying to do shihonage, it was more like “ok, damnit, I’m going to get a shihonage this time, I ALWAYS get shihonage,” and so I stopped blending and tried to crank it on. Which I can get away with when I can see exactly where uke is… Also, a bunch of times I found that I’d guessed the wrong hand, so I was halfway through trying to force shihonage when I realized that I was in sankyo.

Ok, we’ll return you to your regularly scheduled once-a-month-posting of things that interest people other than me shortly.


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