I was chatting with A-D after class the other day (while using some of his new supply of duct tape to re-attach his car’s side-view mirror), and the conversation came around to the clunky side of aikido, namely “things that go splat”. There’s infinite potential for this in our favourite pastime, and we jotted down a few of the more common incidences; we’ll leave it to you to decide if we’re speaking from direct experience or circumspect observation of our fellow aikidoka.
Be sure to leave a comment sharing your favourite flavour of splat.
Face plants: These come in a wide variety, but two of our favourites are face plants to the mat, i.e. as a result of an ‘incomplete’ breakfall when receiving juji nage, and face plants to knees during the ‘take down’ portion of a #2 style sankajo.
Failed Blocks: Too numerous to list here, but one of the most common is the ‘nose substitution’.
Bokken Bonks: Usually the result of an over-exuberant partner who has poor depth perception or forgets to ‘check’ their strike at the last moment. While many result in more of a ‘thunk’ (think about the sound you get when you check a melon for ripeness), contact with the ear will make a pretty good ’splat’, with secondary entertainment value vested in the experience of picking out the splinters.
Mid-air collision: Relatively rare, but can occur during kakari geiko in a crowded class. Better than watching wrestling.
Bowing Mishaps: Can happen even to the most experienced aikidoka, especially during suwari waza techniques. Always, always remember who is shite.
What are your favourites?
Kevin and A-D
Yesterday, I happened to arrive at the dojo at the same time as Aiki-Doh!-ka. As I pulled into the parking spot beside him, I noticed something different about his car: it was covered chock-a-block with decals advertising things like duct tape, Bounce fabric softener, Fabreeze and Aveeno lotion. I had to admit they did a nice job of covering up the rust and body filler.
“What’s with all the decals,” I asked as I climbed out of my car, lugging my weapons and gym bag.
“I was thinking about your suggestion to be a spokesman for aikido related products,” he replied, “so I made some calls and landed a few retainers.” Aiki-Doh!-ka surprises me sometimes.
“What are you going to do with all that extra money?” I re-applied the trailing end of one of the stickers that was flapping in the breeze as I awaited his answer.
“Well, they’re paying me in product, actually,” he said, head buried in the trunk of his car, “but I can sell some of it and make a bit of coin.” He emerged from the trunk brandishing a handful of duct tape. “Wanna buy some tape? I’ll give you a good deal.”
“Ah…I’m good for now, thanks anyway.’
“I figure I can make enough to take S_____ out on a date.”
I recalled his blush the other day. “Oh yeah - did you ask her out yet?”
“Well…I did, but she said she had to stay home and wash her dogi…”
We were in the locker room now, changing into our uniforms. I noticed he had sewn a few logos onto his gi, wedged in between all the duct tape applications. He was really going to town with this. I also noticed that he was using different colours of tape and asked him to explain his system.
“Well, I use regular gray to cover rips and tears in my gi,” he said, pointing to his knees and a patch on his butt. A-D skids a lot when he lands from his breakfalls. ”And red is for the really ouchy spots, like my elbows.” He sat down, picked up a roll of blue, and began applying it to his feet. ”I use it on my feet, too, to help hold on the band-aids and improve my suriashi.”
“That’s a lot of duct tape; it’s a good thing you have a deal.” I found myself grateful that 3M didn’t make fluorescent colours; as it was, I didn’t know whether to shake his hand or salute him. Finally ready, we headed out to the training room…
Often we feel like we’re under attack in day to day life - the myriad demands of work, family and fun can sometimes feel like a swarm of angry bees. Let’s take what we learn on the mat in jiyu waza and apply it in our world:
Hold a good kamae.
Facing our problems head on, with all our focus and commitment, is powerful, and many issues dissolve readily under such intense scrutiny. It also puts into practice the old adage “Divide and Conquer”, making the ‘portions’ on our ‘plate’ seem smaller and more manageable.
Attack the attack.
Take the initiative, and you’ll maintain control of yourself, and by extension, the situation.
Get in there! As Sensei Jamie says, get a good, big mouthful of your problem (metaphorically speaking - don’t bite uke!) ; chances are it won’t taste as bad as you thought it might.
Once you’ve taken action, let go and face the next problem. If you get stuck wondering if you did the right thing, you’re wasting energy; it’s already done. You’ll find out soon enough if further attention is required.
Keep moving forward.
Anyone who’s done jiyu waza knows that if you stand still, you get clobbered. Moving forward brings the future, and its solutions, closer, whether or not you can see them now.
Back to kamae
Repeat as necessary…