I am glad to be back at the table with you, carving once more into the thick of it.
On technique 2, two thoughts: 'No pull is necessary on tori's part?' That makes two things all the more important, tori's split second timing and the vigor in uke's attack. On the topic of where tori is looking, be it the hand or the head: my sensei used to say you don't look at anything. You take an unfocused view at about chest level and you can 'see' everything, including what's out at the periphery.
On the sport vs. kata comment: this might be an issue of writing clarity, or it might help to clarify some context in where I'm coming from. I've written about my aged and wise sensei in Alaska a few times on this Forum. The last time I was up there was this past March, and I returned chewing over three major concepts: the infinitely small center - the idea that with proper control and proper balance even the smallest movements can throw an uke. There was the an enhanced look at the idea of extending the energy and force an opponent imparts and finally the notion of exploiting the shifts of weight and structure inside an opponent's body. The very first thing I did when I got back to my Washington DC club was pull out the book and run through Itsutsu No kata with a partner. "This is what these guys are doing up there," I told him. It wasn't the kata per se, but the ideas within. INK helped me put my thoughts together, and as a result I wrote that gigantic thread entitled "Judo in an Alternate Universe."
More recently, in moving to Puerto Rico I got involved in a sport dojo - an Olympic dojo, as a matter of fact, because I blundered right into the fray as they were training Puerto Rico's three entrants for the games in Beijing. I can tell you quite sincerely that this was an entirely different brand of Judo from what I had been doing. It was fast, powerful, and all flexors and extensors. It was rough stuff, brutal gripping of the gi, beautiful in many cases, but not centered, whole body movement. Whether there is time for that kind of bodily carriage in modern competitive judo is a debate for another time.
In fact, I think that's why kata, even Randori No kata, is so foreign to players nowadays. They're taught to attack, to pull uke, and make the throws happen. The 'blending' of kata, to steal a word form aikido, is exactly the opposite of what they've done from Day One. For clarity's sake, that's what I meant. It's been my experience that competitive judo and kata styled judo are divergent paths.
Again, based on my experiences here and in Guam, Florida, and Alaska prior to 1999, I think I'm making an approach to INK and this discussion from a very different perspective than a lot of judoka. (I've also written about the history of our style, and the ultimate heritage is a bit of a mystery, but it would seem to lie in Hawaii in a blend of Judo and Jujutsu. Strangely enough, I see vestiges of our stuff in Krav Maga, of all places, so if someone can trace the jujutsu background there, we might be on to something.)
Centered, whole body mechanics are taught from Day One. At about the three week mark, I can show a beginner yoko wakare and yoko guruma. They'll have to know them, since they'll be getting them as counters, as a way to test whether they're doing their O goshis correctly.
When that Ochiai video of the rare and secret Go No Kata flashed across the Forum about a month ago, I was mainly astonished by it. Those are skills my sensei would do ALL the time as a means to make larger points about whole body carriage. You're not going to believe me - PTNippon is going to fall down dead - but I can do some of those things too - to an extent, or at least I understand how they work.
PTNippon: I don't want to be enemies with you either, but when you mean to say no one, including Daigo, could teach this in an hour, I'm tempted to write, "If you're struggling with the whirlwind, go hit a ballroom dancing class. You'll have the turning with a partner down in about 10 minutes." I see analogies to these movements everywhere. On the thread that's closed now, did you see the bit I wrote about my neighbor who ducked a bully's rush on Halloween? That's Technique 5, and he did that instantly.
The other day, during the whole dust up on the other thread, my daughter jumped on me for a piggy back when I wasn't ready for it, which made me stagger backwards. I was about to go over, and before I had a chance to snarl something at her, my thought was, My God; my ten year old can do this kata. She was creating and exploiting a structural flaw: technique 4.
Any bullfighter in Spain could eat technique 2 for lunch, all the while holding a red cape.
It goes on from there. I never said any great level of understanding can be achieved in an hour. The starting points, however, are perfectly accessible for ordinary mortals.
This post has been edited by Sir Harry Flashman: 26 September 2008 - 05:57 PM