This was, as far as classes go, a fairly easygoing one. After beginning with the usual warm-up, we went through a few courses of solo falling practise to get into the groove for the evening’s class.
After the falling exercises, I spent some time going over the poste and their use as waypoints and what they represent in terms of body positions before moving to the poste dance. The focus was on fluid transitions, proper transfer of body weight, footwork and structure.
Following this, I blah-blahed some more about the chiave/ligadura, demonstrating a few keys, how they relate to one another, what their basic function is (break structure and pain compliance) and how they accomplish this. The drill goes like so:
- Partner attacks with a hammer fist to the head.
- cover this using posta longa and move into the ligadura mezana employing proper mechanics (which I won’t delve into here.)
- At the resolution of the key, the partner taps then reverses the key.
- Using this reversal, remove your arm and move into the arm bar. Stop when the partner taps.
- The partner will attempt to reverse the arm bar. Follow him/her and apply the ligadura soprana.
- Partner taps.
- Partner reverses direction once again. Use that impetus to apply the chiave forte/ligadura di sotto.
I then fielded some questions about the pertinence of the drill, so here goes:
- The drill is firstly pedagogical in nature. It helps you learn the locks in an easy to assimilate format.
- The flow portion of the drill aids students in sensing pressure and making a decision as to how they can transition from one technique to the next according to said pressure.
- The mechanics of each technique should be studiously applied during the drill, as should the accompanying footwork. Yup, you guessed it. We’re practising footwork too.
After this, we did an exercise featuring the gambarola. Well, while ostensibly about the gambarola, it was really about unbalancing. Last week`s class we did a series of exercises aimed at assimilating the concepts of balance and structure and how to break these. We did the gambarola much like an O soto gari, by collapsing distance and occupying the partner’s space as we pulled off balance to the right forward diagonal while attacking towards the right rear diagonal and the triangle point. This week’s class focused on a slightly different dynamic, with the onus on unbalancing first. Before beginning, however, I expounded on the three fundamental steps for any successful takedown: 1) unbalance 2) enter 3) takedown. In this light, students had to move across the mat by first unbalancing, then entering. unbalance, enter. Unbalance enter. Unbalance, enter, takedown. All in an effort to stress a) the importance of the unbalancing and entry and b) the slightly different dynamic of unbalancing along the line formed by the feet rather than across it. This variant also has the students remove support by occupying space with their leg, stepping into the crook of the partner’s leg to collapse it. And yes, like everything, it is totally dependent on measure.
As a special sneak preview, we’ll soon be having a seminar with an accomplished aikido instructor to help us in our throwing and grappling game.
Until next time!