I found the Danzan Ryu Jujitsu school through meetup.com. Attending this I knew that I would probably only do this maybe once or twice. I don’t know why I attend random martial art classes but just something about me propels me to just try out as many martial arts as possible.
I don’t know how to explain it – but simply if I see that I can attend a martial arts class for free I will take it. I don’t know why I do, but that curiosity is the main driving force.
It was a small class, about 6 students including the Sensei – a middle aged man who had studied Mantis style Gung Fu, Tai Chi, Aikido, and Jujitsu. Going into the class, I presented myself as a “novice” – someone who had not had any martial arts experience since I was 14 years old.
As some of you may already know, that is an obvious lie.
The experience was great actually and something of a different view. As it turns out in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu at least a lot of the moves are components in the Aikido curriculum. Some things that were the same:
- Ukemi is still an integral part – rolling, falling, etc; a fact demonstrated by the 1 full hour of being shown the ropes of Danzan Ryu by the senior black belt in the class. This is of course with him not realizing that I had 4.5 years of ukemi already under my belt!
- Wrist locks and joint manipulation – I recognized kotegaeshi immediately, and often found myself using the Aikido-style grip rather than the one that the black belt was telling me to do (fortunately I was a good listener!). Other things such opening movement of ikkyu (where putting the persons elbow to the head yields a favorable result) was evident but was put in a self defense format.
The major differences that I experienced?
- “Harder style” ukemi – where the person is falling on hard surfaces rather than emphasis on minimizing the impact. E.g. There’s a forward fall where you use your forearms to lessen the impact of your whole body weight falling on the ground.
- Uke and Tori, as oppose to Uke and Nage. Tori is simply an older term that got replaced in O’Sensei’s vernacular in his later years.
- No Body/mind relationship at all – It was a very martial class indeed. But that was what I was expecting there so no surprises.
- Kicking and punches – about halfway through the class, the black belt who was chaperoning me was impressed with my “natural skill” and decided to test me with some kicks. I learned how to put up a guard and do front kicks. Nothing new but different emphasis…
Other than that, nothing that I hadn’t seen before with the Jujitsu class that shares the dojo space that I train at.
All the meanwhile, I was maintaining the facade that I was a “novice” thatI have no experience whatsoever. There were times that my ukemi showed itself and all of the people there (sensei and black belt included) thought that I had “natural skill”.
I don’t know why I do this; I guess all of this is just myself tricking my mind and ego from becoming too egoistic (hah!) about my Aikido skill. I look at this martial adventures as challenges to my “I” – the process of “breaking the I/ego”. To break any pre-conceive notions that I’m “better” – for whatever reason.
And by being treated like a novice and letting my skills speak for themselves is to me a great thing.
This past Saturday I went to an archery range with two women from my Aikido dojo. Sensei joins us later after becoming very lost on the way there.
I can definitely see myself practicing archery, with the obvious skills of centering and aligning yourself to your target a logically “spill-over” from Aikido. Too bad I wasn’t doing Kyudo.
But no complaints here; I had to borrow one of the girl’s bows. The furthest target that I made was I gathered to be a little more than 30 yards away. After some shooting the girls introduced us to the “flying pig” – a moving target about 20 yards downslope.
Sensei ofcourse doesn’t count as a novice because of his incredible ability to apply Aikido to *almost* anything – he had an accuracy rate of 90% for all of the shots that he made during the day!
The picture at the top was from the range. Made a couple of shots myself. On a parting note, I realized that I’ve been holding the handgun wrong since in archery you don’t arm straight at the target; you aim a little below because it isn’t a direct line of sight result. The next time I go to a gun range (and archery one) I will aim a little below the target.