Assembling a Defense

As we learn the techniques and applications of Nihon Goshin Aikido or any other art, we begin by breaking them into parts. While this teaching technique (known as “chunking”) facilitates learning for both adults and children, it also causes students to develop hesitations in their movements. At first, students pause at the end of each “chunk” (in both application and technique) to allow their brains to catch up and tell them what comes next. After some time practicing, they simply have the ingrained habit of stopping at that point in the movement, and find that they have a very difficult time moving smoothly past these transition points.

While I don’t know of a way to avoid the development of these hesitations, I do have some suggestions for helping students to move to the free-flowing movements we all strive for.

Re-Chunking. The hesitations developed because of the way the movement was broken down. So, give the student somewhere else to break the movement, allowing them to move past the habitual pause. In time, by varying the pauses, students are able to move through all transition points without unnecessary pauses (and, helpfully, to stop at various points of a technique without losing the technique). A good exercise for this is to select a few roundhouse defenses that start with a parry. First, have the students simply block and parry, making sure their uke is off balance at the end of the parry, but not executing any technique. Once they are smoothly moving to this point (which is well past the usual habitual pause at the end of the block), have them continue into an application. While they are practicing this application, ensure that they pause at the end of the parry (to avoid pauses elsewhere). Continue with the other defenses you’d selected. After they’ve completed this exercise for three or four applications, have them attempt to repeat them, removing the pause at the end of the parry. Conclude the lesson with a brief attack line, to allow them to try out their new smoothness. Repeat variations of this exercise from time to time, and your students will have fewer pauses, and will do a better job of controlling their uke.

Transitioning Between Techniques. Some students’ hesitations are reinforced by a lack of confidence in the technique, and the fear that they will be stuck with everyone watching during a defense line. To overcome this, students need to learn to properly transition between techniques. Have students react to an attack with a specific technique, move to a specific point, and switch to another technique (for instance, from Handshake to Come Along). At first, practice just a few (no more than three or four) techniques in a row. As their confidence and ability to see available openings for techniques improve, extend the exercise.

Practice Movement without Technique. For some students, the best answer is simply to improve their balance and confidence in motion. This can be accomplished by practicing moving transitions between stances. For instance, have them step from a front stance into a jigotai, then step and pivot into a hanmi. There are endless variations that can be used, and an instructor (or student) can invent their own series of transitions to practice, effectively creating a kata. The more a student practices these transitions, the more smoothly he or she can make transitional movements with a technique.

There are any number of other ways to work on this problem. Send me your favorite ways to cure this, and I’ll include them in a future article.

       

About The Author

Leave A Comment

Categories

 

Recent Posts

 
Over the years one of the most commonly asked questions by prospective students is, “How do I evaluate a dojo?” To someone who has no experience in martial arts this is a somewhat intimidating task. For me the task was easy. I was in Tokyo and the first person I saw, when I walked in
As with many martial arts, Nihon Goshin Aikido is taught in a structured atmosphere, with specific constraints regarding usage, movement, and application. The beginning student is told precisely how to perform the techniques and stances at every step of the way. Yet, when an advanced martial artist demonstrates even a minimal level of mastery, it
As with many instructors and experienced martial artists, I am often approached for advice in selecting a school, art, or instructor for training in the martial arts. While I can’t effectively answer this question in an article (for reasons which will be explained in a few moments), I can provide the basic framework of an
On many occasions, I have heard Steven Weber Sensei (Godan, Nihon Goshin Aikido) speak of those students who seek “The Answer”. …That one absolutely correct response to a given attack, technique, question, or conundrum. On these occasions, he paints a picture of an inexperienced martial artist begging him for the “right way” to respond, rather
“What’s the best martial art?” This is a question most of us in the martial arts community have heard, in some form or another. And it’s one that most of us groan inwardly at hearing. There is a real problem with trying to establish a “best” martial art. Or even in trying to say that
When faced with someone intent on doing you bodily harm in the street, or when training in the dojo, the ability to avoid being hit is a skill well worth developing. There are four basic ways to avoid being hit that are used by virtually every martial art, sometimes and stand alone techniques, but most

About

 
Mr. Seymour has been studying martial arts for three decades, with 20 years of experience in Nihon Goshin Aikido and varying experience in other arts. The majority of his training has been at the Aikido Academy of Self Defense in Spartanburg, SC, under Mr. John Wyndham, Sandan.See the Aikido Academy of Self Defense (Spartanburg, SC)

Training

 
Mr. Seymour offers group classes, private lessons, self-defense workshops, and security officer defensive training programs.

Shojinryu

 

Contact Us

 
Phone: 828.490.4500