Step in the right direction?
Had a great Aikido class tonight. We broke from tradition, and practiced entries against more realistic attacks. By this I mean multiple strikes with jabs and such. I was training with a 2nd kyu and a 6th kyu. I am a 3rd kyu, but have been training in Aikido for over seventeen years.
We didn't go all out, which I know will get criticism on this forum. Out of respect for our Sensei we kept things at an easy pace still. The 2nd Kyu and I sped it up, just a little between us, with good results. Even at the slow pace with the 6th kyu it proved a little difficult, but he started to learn he had to actually move after some light contact with his face a couple of times.
I know there will be the request for videos. Our Sensei doesn't like cameras in the dojo, and I think he is right in saying that posting videos is an exercise in vanity and foolish, since you know how these videos will be received. I concede that the striking techniques and combinations, we used this evening, were less than that of which you find in any type of MT, boxing, or MMA gym. I am not trying to portray that we brought "the street" or "the octagon" to class.
I think this evening's training may have been a step in the right direction of where Aikido training needs to go. We didn't even do techniques; the 2nd kyu and I were in agreement that Hamni, center, and entry were the most important aspects to be practiced at this time; something I know I have said repeatedly on this forum.
I post this for the Aikidoka who come here.
The 2nd kyu and I, quickly recognized, it was beneficial to treat the jabbing type strikes as full fledged strikes worthy of being blended with and connected to. It seems to be a mistake to simply try and swat them away and wait for a big strike to come with lots of intent. I reason that you end up in a sort of guessing game by doing this and it doesn't feel comfortable or seem to make sense to wait for someone to try and take your head off with a committed attack with all their power, if you can avoid it. The 6th kyu repeatedly did just that, and ate a couple for his efforts. He didn't recognize the jabbing punches as committed strikes. This I believe is most likely due to either inexperience at being in a fight, or the static manner in which traditional Aikido attacks are carried out, or both.
In entering the jabbing technique, as entering any technique, it is important to keep both hands extended and best to try and get to outside the elbow with an irimi entry connecting at the elbow. Of course keep your center facing uke as you do this. When Uke attempts to jab again and turn so he can use the other hand and his power. Again step in pinning his elbow to his side before it has the opportunity to extend. At the same time, you step with his turning motion to obtain position behind him. Depending on how much you both have moved, this may be another irimi or possibly a tenkan movement.
If you move to the inside of the jab, you need to extend a forceful atemi. By moving to the inside, you have opened yourself up for uke's power from his cocked arm. If you choose or end up inside, you better be focused. Extend the atemi up toward uke's face, almost as if the jabbing hand was a yokomen strike and you were blending with it.
Know and be prepared for the power punch that will be coming from the other side. After making contact with the atemi, keep your arm up to shield you from the punch if it is still coming. If it isn't and he used that hand to block your atemi or your atemi was significant enough to halt the punch before it began follow through under the arm that threw the jab by striking just above the elbow on the inner arm and two stepping under neath it.
If Uke has successfully punched with his other hand, instead if following through with your atemi hand, either make contact with the punching arm with your forearm at his elbow, drop down and step and pivot to pass underneath the punching arm so you can pin this elbow to his side and gain an advantageous position slightly behind uke; or chop down to his elbow with your atemi hand and extend to raise uke's arm to pass underneath it with a step and pivot.
From here it's just about moving when uke moves, to keep this position and gaining control of his elbow.
We have all done this type entry and blend before from yokomen or Katate dori. It isn't new. To me it has always been obvious, and I have used this, in the past, on the job. The fun part was getting to see some different attacks than we normally do in the dojo. Being patient and not trying for a big technique off the first jab but really trying to blend and connect with uke without him grabbing you or you grabbing him, while he is still attacking.
If you haven't done this kind of practice then you should. It won't make you ready for combat right away. If you are still new take your time. If you have been training a while, you should recognize the application of things you already have learned to this type of training. Over time, you can pick up the pace, till you are able to flow with uke. I think this is a step in the right direction. I hope to have more opportunity to train in this manner. I know, someday when I have my own class to teach, I will use these types of attacks to train with as well as the traditional attacks.
Next step is to apply techniques, and add active resistance. I don't see any reason why we cannot add this to what we already do.