Is this thing still on?
I finally caved to the martial arts craving and re-visited our local aikido dojo. My last visit–and review–was probably not fair. I’m too lazy and do not have enough time to opine about that now. However, I have decided that I am going to give this dojo a try.
Observations from last night:
- The sensei has a solid pedigree. He was a uchi-deshi for three years in a reputable east coast school. His lineage is solid. Watching him last night with his senior students and his skills show.
- He is more traditional that other past aikido instructors I have observed.
- He really emphasized how the sword movement plays into the hand techniques he was having class work on. He must have took his bokken down from the wall a dozen or more times.
- He demonstrated several levels to each technique. Example: he demonstrated a throw that’s similar to kung fu’s wild horse parts mane. He first showed the throw. Then he showed how to turn it into a standing choke that could be a throw, choke, or neck break.
- He demonstrated another take down (I totally do not have the names down!) that transitioned into kneeling across the opponent. At this point it was a vertical arm bar/wrist lock with his legs scissoring the opponent for control. If the attacker tried to roll he showed how to use his legs and the lock to control. The kicked up version was him sitting into a traditional judo arm bar. I have NEVER seen a classic judo arm bar in aikido — would be interested to know if that is thing or if it’s an akijujitsu thing? (see below)
- As a secondary option in about every demonstrated technique he showed his students where they could fit in atemi. It’s not like I am an aikido expert but I have dabbled on occasion. In the maybe 6 months of dabbling I can count on one hand when strikes where mentioned. Last night he easily passed the 25 mark on that.
- In some of the technique variations he would often say that “this will work with one opponent” or “what I just showed you would not work if you have two attackers” — i.e. practical application!
- Chatting with him after class and he gave me the usual story of how aikido came to be. i.e. it evolved from the battlefield, samurai, etc. He did mention it’s link to aikijujitsu. Based on how he was teaching it I suspect that this link must have been taught to him by his senseis.
- He had students in class ranging from teens to 50’s.
Where does that leave me? I’ve decided to go to class tonight. It’s been over five years since I’ve seriously practiced a martial art so I’m going to take this one class at a time. Running parallel to this is the fact that I am actively looking for director positions. So it’s possible that in a year we could move. Based on what I saw I’m certain I can get a good grounding in fundamentals — assuming my body holds up!
I’ll try to post every few weeks on this little adventure so stay tuned…