Another memory of a past class.
After the past few weeks playing with Eagle Claw technique last night I returned to basics.
Mike Cassidy and I did work Chantan Yara No Sai a bit. I’ve also turned the project to develop a more “Isshinryu” form of sparring technique over to Mike. We discussed possible parameters, etc., but the goal of course is to develop dominance in sparring technique ace but retain a distinct Isshinryu Kata technique style.
Tonight in class I spent most of the time returning to basics and self focus on same.
Personally I’m a fanatic in trying to become as precise as possible in kata execution, with the goal of using that more precise technique in application to deliver more energy into the opponent.
But training long term black belts, where individuals are and must be responsible for their own training focus, its easy to find that people begin breezing through forms too frequently. You could stay on their butts, but by giving them reasons to focus on their own training themselves, you end up with stronger results in the long run, IMExperience.
As we were in the gym last night (during the summer) I took one of the lines running down the floor and centered myself on it. I demonstrated that Seisan should begin with the line coming into my center. I then ran the form, discussing various techniques and how I was originally trained in Mr. Lewis’ dojo. When I finished talking I had completed the form. I then mentioned, if you look I’m aligned over the line as I was in the beginning. Then I gave them their lead to see if they could do the same. It was interesting seeing where they were ending and their efforts to re-adjust and re-align their kata practice.
Now this is but a minor aspect of Kata, but still worthwhile. In large part we have no real technical vocabulary to fully discuss what happens when we’re turning, and adjusting our stances. Those turns and adjustments form powerful alignment during application and the kata is the tool to make them stronger.
Next, we used the lines (running before us from left to right) to run Nihanchi, trying to keep or execution parallel to the line. From that exercise I then went to one of Carl Long’s Shorin exercises, doing Nihanchi with 2 180 degree turns. Carl’s Shorin practice descended from Shimabuku Ezio. When you strike across with the spear hand and then step across, when the foot sets down you pivot on both feet (the direction the spear hand moved) 180 degrees to the rear and then continue the kata. Then repeat on the 2nd spear hand to finish the kata. This becomes a very interesting exercise in control.
Next I re-inforced my Isshinryu movement principles derived from crescent stepping, where for all turns we move the turning leg alongside the other leg and then turn and step into stance.
Using the ending of the 2nd row of Seisan, where the hands are stacked right and you’re turning left 90 degrees. I first hand everyone just turn 90 degrees (without centering) with a partner touching their shoulder from the side, first with a slight push and the with a slight tug during the turn. Next I had them do the turn by first drawing the left foot in alongside the right (as you turn your head to look), and then explode out into LFF Seisan from that movement. Again with the partner lightly touching or pulling the shoulder.
This is demonstrably stronger with the latter movement. Now this is how I do my Isshinryu from my research and studies. When the individual feels a difference they’re more likely to concentrate on doing it correctly as time passes. But these type of drills are necessary to help long term focus. I need them and I know my students need them too, as we’re all less than perfect (or at least most are).
Then we moved onto the study of some of Chinto’s application potential, from ½ way in the kata, with the right outside knife hand block, left hammerfist strike, Pull down into Seiunchin and finally step away into kake dachi section.
Beginning very small, I first concentrated when you’ve been grabbed from your right side with a 2 handed grab. We concentrated on centering on the grabbing hands, and then simply turning away keeping your grabbed hand in-front of your center during the turn. This effects a release from the grab. As many had difficulty relaxing and trying to muscle their way out of it, I showed them how if the left hand simply reaches under and touches the little finger, your body correctly aligns and with no more effort the technique will also work.
Then I showed how during the turn, if instead the left hand grabs (either the opponents right or left hand) how an entire range of Aikido techniques can lock, tie up, throw or break the attacker.
Next I took the initial motion to turn the attacker but then turn back into the attacker with the rest of the outside knife hand block (as in Chinto) and chose to close with the hammer fist into the attackers right arm, behind the elbow as I grabbed and began pulling down with the right. Finishing with the two arm pull down and then stepping back with the right foot to break their arm (implied of course) across the left knee.
While not even close to a full study of the inherent technique in this movement, it gave enough to keep all busy, and re-inforced how the small details are extremely important.
Class closed with Bando Stick drill, always preferring to hit people with sticks, etc.