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Re: Learning from Aikido?

Subject: Re: Learning from Aikido?
by Fnord325 on 2011/6/13 14:25:54

Leam,

I feel your pain. I spent quite some time in the wilderness of Wyoming with little in the way of training opportunities.

I found a legitimate iaijutsu group, and that was great, as it allowed me to focus on kihon in terms of sword work (hasuji, tenouchi, etc.).

I still worked on my ukemi, sanshin, and did kihon happo with my wife. I also just worked Goho from Kukishin ryu bojutsu a lot on a telephone pole.

Spending time with Sanshin no kata is extremely important, and by spending time, I mean taking the kata apart inch by inch and understanding how your kamae changes through the movement. Just doing repetitions is useless unless you spend a lot of time feeling how your body flows through the movement while maintaining efficiency. Doing it very slowly will keep you honest and is very difficult at first, then it becomes addictive. This is similar in theory to what beginning (less than five years of practice) taichi practitioners do with their forms, but it is of course not taichi. The method is sound.

Just spending six months on that alone, with honest practice can completely change your taijutsu for the better. You can also do the same with ukemi and the kihon happo. Really, everything else is just gravy beyond that, imo. If your foundation isn't good, the rest doesn't matter.

I found, by doing this, that when I would practice with people of good quality, that I did not have any problems. My breadth of technical exposure was not great, but my depth of understanding of kihon was sufficiently deep to allow me to catch on to new things much easier than if I had not spent that time in such in-depth training, and I got a lot of very nice compliments when they found out that I trained on my own 95% of the time for three years (not the point, but it was nice to hear).

There is a reason why each of the Sanshin and the Kihon Happo are done the way they are (and this applies to henka as well). Being on your own is a great time to delve into those things and get to know them for yourself. It requires a lot of self-direction and self-honesty, but it is so worth it.

Still go practice with the aikido people though, it will be fun, just as long as they are a good group. Figure out how it is different from what we do and how it is similar, then tuck that stuff away for the future.

As Papa-san is alluding to, breathing is important. Sanshin has breathing excersise incorporated into it, and there are a lot of ways you can change up rhythms in your movement and breathing as you get better.

I know what it is like to be isolated from good training partners and teachers, but I was encouraged by my teacher before I moved away to keep going and just dive into the foundations without reservation. It was excellent advice.

Even if you have been doing the Kihon Happo and Sanshin for a good bit of time, this sort of training is invaluable, as many people really haven't taken that kind of time to root themselves in the foundations of our art. Think of it as a typeof Shugyo.

Check in when you can with a teacher whom you trust and make use of other available training material on the fundamentals. Be excited about the potential, and don't let the situation get you down.
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