Welcome to the next saga in my feature and review of Howcast’s fitness and wellness series, titled Aikido. Aikido is a Japanese martial art that was created only some 60 years ago. My series will take you through all of the videos have been appearing so far in Howcast’s series. I hope that you all have been enjoying this as much as I have. This part four of what will be a 6 part series. Enjoy!
I have not heard of the term Ukemi Nage before. I’ve always heard it only as Ukemi. That said, I found this video pretty much akin to any – and every – explanation of ukemi that I’ve heard and been taught as. Two *slight* disagreements (with respect to Steve Pimsler Sensei, 7th Dan) is at 1:12 when he states “…using the power of his leg to lower himself down.” From what I’ve heard and was taught, you’re not really supporting yourself with your leg when you’re doing a back roll. Gravity does the job and it’s more like sitting down on a bean bag chair rather than using your leg to support you. at 2:20, although that’s true that you putting pressure on your arm as you roll forward, several times I’ve reached a point where I’m not using my arm so much as support but rather as a guide; the real contact point on rolls (in my experience) has been my back. Anyway, I’d like to point out several good things. The uke here, Mike Jones has very good ukemi, complementing his strong technical viewpoint of Aikido in the past few videos. Lastly, I like how Pimsler Sensei demonstrates Koshi’s as a way to show how ukemi is displayed. For those of you who haven’t experienced it yet, Koshi’s can be very intimidating to do ukemi on, especially with the newer folks.
Suwari Waza is one of the unofficial “basic” requirements of Aikido. Some people love it (me), some people hate it still, but most people definitely didn’t like it when they first started learning it (me). I like the presentation of it – sorry there really isn’t much to say.
Which is actually a good thing here! Claire Keller Sensei displays a demonstration that is occasionally peppered with good self-depreciating humor. The way she presented it almost seemed like she is a teacher in her day job. She has a good way of connecting to the audience and to her uke. One note from an Aikido practitioner: Suwari Waza is very hard at first. For most new people this is one of the “big barriers” to overcome. Just be patience and keep on repeating the movement. From my experience, it takes technique, presence, body-alignment, and cardiovascular skill to do this in-sync with a partner.
This video about Katatetori wasn’t what I had expected, which was a technique and a series of movements off of that technique. This was to me more of what different grabs are there in Aikido off of a Katatetori. Nothing wrong with that! Again, Mike Jones Sensei shows his technically strong sense of the martial art. I’d like him to delve more into how some jiyu-waza style presentation(s) in the future – this I believe will show off his creative, more true self as oppose to how well he knows the technicals. Regardless, novices and non-martial arts people will continue to enjoy his basic explanation of the art.
The Katatori presentation is, like the Suwari Waza, a very good well presented short on the basics of the mode of engagement by the uke. I would have liked to see Mike Jones display more variations of Katatori such as the double hand grab, doing nikyo, or having a ikkyo happen. I found this section a tad short, but good in presentation. One gripe I have here is the free usage of the word “aggressive”. As a young man of my age I have no problem being aggressive – it comes rather natural for me. But in Aikido, being aggressive seems a little out of place and goes against what the art is about. There might be an “attack” to your uke, but it’s about being present and connected with your partner and less about having to become aggressive. Besides – putting up your hand to another one’s face – whether in a fist or not – is usually a sign of aggression anyway.
Look forward to Part 5!