Sunday, March 5, 2017

Moving from one Aikido technique to a Cjimande series of techniques

This started a long time ago.
It began when Charles Murray was training me for ShoDan. At the time it seemed almost as if he was shoving a new kata down my throat every month. Then when he returned to the USAF for his career I began visiting schools of nearby fellow competitors to train. Not so much as to learn their system, just to work out, but when I saw something interesting I tended to remember it.
At the same time I began the study of Tai Chi Chuan with Ernie Rothrock, later to add a variety of studies in a wide variety of Chinese forms. Having a lot of free time, I continued to visit a variety in instructors in many traditions.
One of them was Tris Sutrisno, who I competed alongside many times. He invited me to visit his school and one dark night I did just that.
I found his Shotokan program different from what I expected and did my best to follow along. Towards the end of class he had his students begin to stand in the middle of a circle of 8 attackers and then perform a  variety of aikido drills against striking attacks. And when one sequence was concluded the next attacker began, frequently they would have to rise from the floor and meet the attack.
So I observed this again and again as each student stood in the middle. After maybe 20 minutes Tris turned to me and asked me if I wanted to try it. Not I had studied any of these techniques. I said yes and took my place in the middle. Then attacker after attacker came at me and I ran  the entire sequence.
Where upon Tris then asked me, “How did you do that”.
I just responded “A black belt never says I can’t:”
That began a decade long association with him, learning many things.
Of course after observing it time after time I had paid attention and having quite a bit of experience learning new things, their repetition enabled me to get it down.
I went home that night and wrote it all down, beginning something that has become a tradition with me. Writing everything down.
I did not receive further instruction from him, working on my own and eventually learning how to teach some if to my students at brown belt level.
In time I had to move to New Hampshire and at times Tris would come and visit and share with my students. During one of those visits I had the youth perform the first 6 of those drills.

Tris could not believe that I had remembered the drill. (I have done my best to retain everything I have ever seen him do.)
He did make one change to the 3rd drill .Told me he was no longer teaching that technique, and shared what he was currently using.
It was a solid technique and I made the change.

He never explained why he made the change, but I believe it was because the students expected the projection and made to easy for each other jumping into the throw for effect. This was not how Tris did it, against a focused attack. And knowing what he expected people to learn chose to use an easier, but effective technique at the  kyu level.
So change made. But this lesson does not stop there.
Human nature often becomes when you know something has a solid use, you stop there, content with what you have learned.
I just stumbled across this video of an Indonesian instructor sharing a series of related technique possibilities he was using. And each of them is using the same opening of the new aikido drill. A sort of parry and pass. A skill my students have long mastered, but with an entirely different set of responses.
jurus dan teknik cimande yang telah dikembangkan

That is the real lesson, the mind must remain engaged always looking for other possibilities. At least to me.


Because I knew what the move was for, I never took the time to explore the other possibilities.


Whether you explore all of these options is up to you after all. But this is a lesson I continually keep learning.


 The infinite is the answer.


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