Saturday, 19 August 2017

Holsworthy and Bucks Cross Aikido Club News

There are a few changes to the class schedules for the Bucks Cross and Holsworthy aikido clubs this September.


In September we switch from Tuesday to Friday evenings. Our last Tuesday evening class will be on Tuesday the 29th of August. Our first Friday class will be on Friday the 8th of September. Classes will continue every Friday thereafter.

Bucks Cross

The Monday classes will end from September onwards. Our last Monday class is Monday the 28th of August. The Thursday classes continue as normal.

All classes (Monday and Thursday at Bucks Cross; Tuesdays at Holsworthy) run as normal throughout August.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Holsworthy and Bucks Cross Aikido Classes in August and September

From September, the Holsworthy Aikido classes move to a new regular slot on Fridays. There is also one change to the Bucks Cross class schedule in August. Details below...

Bucks Cross Aikido Club

July 31  - Monday class at Bucks Cross as usual.
August 7 - Monday class at Bucks Cross
August 14 - NO class at Bucks Cross (due to another event, we are taking the night off!)

Apart from the change noted above, all Bucks Cross classes as usual at 7:30 to 9:30 on Mondays and Thursdays throughout August.

Holsworthy Aikido Club

Classes continue throughout August every Tuesday at 7:30 to 9:00.
The last Tuesday class will be on August 29th.

From September 8th, all classes at Holsworthy will be on Friday evenings. This will now be our regular class time. So, from September onwards, there are no longer and Tuesday classes. All classes are now between 7:30 and 9:00 on Fridays.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Aikido has no form

Thought for the day...

Aikido for Self-Defence (or maybe just gratuitous violence)?

Aikido is the art of peace, yes? It's non-violent, OK? Then again...

Here are those crazy Czech Aikido people once again (be sure to watch their previous video) showing how to win a fight on the street, in a bar or on the bus. Even with the help of a snooker cue!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Monday, 10 July 2017

Aikido "on the train"

"Get on the train! Be on the train!" - I'm always saying this. But what does it really mean?

To me, being on the train means that you are sensitive to the energy of the other person - be it nage or uke. You "go with the flow" rather than try oppose the other person's power. This is not only safer (you won’t be taken unexpectedly if someone suddenly tries to do a technique) but it is also more effective.

However, I have practised with some people who take a different view of being on the train. I remember one teacher who shall remain nameless (mainly because I’ve forgotten his name!) who insisted that being on the train meant that the uke should fall over when the teacher did a technique. If you ended up just standing there, he would ‘correct’ you – “Oh no, you are not on the train. If you’d been on the train my technique would have worked.”

Well, pardon me for taking issue with that. But I am not of the opinion that it is the uke’s job to make a technique work!

Anyway, here is a passage taken from Koichi Tohei’s book (‘the black book’) on Aikido:
“Not to receive anything means unlimited strength. If you try to stop with your strength a train which is coming toward you, you will be flung aside though you may have very great strength. It is better for you to ride on the train, and when it stops you take one step forward and get off. 
“Though your opponent may be strong, if you do not struggle against his strength but follow it and when it stops you go one step ahead of him, you will be able to lead him to fall down.”
And that, in my view, pretty much sums up the essence of the art of Aikido.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Aikido, No Pain, No Gain?

In the first part of these reminiscences about my early days in aikido, I got as far as explaining how – out of four martial arts that I tried – I decided that aikido was the one I’d devote much of the rest of my life to studying. In the second part, I told a bit about my progress to black belt. But let me backtrack and return to the early days...

It was the early '80s and I had enrolled in a lunchtime beginners’ class held in a basement room of the leisure centre in Camden Town High Street. There were just two or three of us who turned up week in week out to study with the teacher, Sensei David Currie. Occasionally  one of Sensei Currie’s higher grades would come along too. I remember being intimidated by an orange belt who actually knew where to put his hands and feet when doing something called shihonage. This manoeuvre seemed impossibly complicated and this was the first time I’d ever seen anyone other than Sensei Currie who knew how to do it! Then one day a brown belt student turned up. He could do even more complicated things and when Sensei Currie threw him, he seemed to fly across the mat and land (mysteriously!) without even hurting himself.

I realised that there was much more to this aikido lark than was being vouchsafed to us mere beginners. After a few weeks I came to the decision to take the next major step and go along to one of the general level classes – with students that even included (gulp!) black belts. I was really nervous about that. Would I look like a fool? Would they make fun of me? Worse still, would they hurt me?

The Pain, The Pain!

The truth is that some people did hurt me. They cranked on the nikkyos and yonkyos and kotegaeshis in a way that brought tears to my eyes. But the higher grades usually hurt me less than the lower grades. And Sensei Currie never hurt me at all. His nikkyos, yonkyos and kotegaeshis worked without pain. In fact, he specifically told us not to rely on pain to make our techniques effective. People are not always moved by pain and it is bad technique to assume that they will be. When, many years later, I finally joined the black belts, Sensei Currie told us: “The black belts should be the most dangerous people on the mat – and also the gentlest.”

I still think that is true. Good, skilful aikido, should not rely on pain. It should rely on using the force used against you. It should rely on leading an attack without engaging in a fight. It should rely on taking the person’s balance to lead them to fall, not smashing them into the mat with the maximum of brute force.

In fact, the more I practise aikido (and it’s been well over 30 years since I started) the more I believe that people who use pain to make their techniques work have fundamentally lost the plot. That’s not what aikido is about. It’s a cheat, a trick, an excuse for poor technique. Your technique must work whether or not the attacker feels pain. If they feel pain, it may be because they are using strength to resist your technique. But it should not be the aim of your technique to impose pain. Instead, think of using gravity to unbalance the attacker.

The simple fact of the matter is that some people can resist pain. Nobody can resist gravity.