This post started off as a rant. I decided not to publish it last night. I have now edited it and removed most of the swearing and it has turned into more of a whinge than a rant.

It started when sensei reminded me that two students from his kids class are going to get to join the adults class. He pretended to ask me what I thought as if he hadn’t already chosen. I knew the decision was already made and it turns out his first choice was the pupil who gives me a hard time when I help out with the club. He refuses to do what I ask, tells me I’m wrong and is generally defiant, cheeky, rude etc. the night I took class he point blank refused to do what I told them to do and did different techniques instead. He challenged me for not doing things the way sensei did and was a general pain in the arse. The thought of kids who have very little respect for me coming to adult club is horrific. The thought of this particular individual getting more ammunition for telling me I don’t know what I’m doing is unbearable.

The weapons part of the class was ok….never thought I’d be saying that! When it came to open hand sensei said we were doing ikkyo- I was pleased because I’ve been doing that a lot recently. On Friday at the aikikai club I made real progress. There were some techniques I felt I was good at and some that were a bit ropey but improved with practice. When sensei said we were doing the spiral arm shape tonight I was delighted since we had spent a long time on that on Friday. We had practiced the shape as a throw as kokyu nage and then used it in ikkyo. I thought sensei was going to do the same and felt convinced I would be able to do it. Why was I so na├»ve to think that what I did on Friday would bear any resemblance to anything I did on a Monday? The technique had the same description and sensei showed a similar shape with his arm but it was different. Everything I did was wrong and felt bad. Ukes felt heavy and I was heaving people arround, losing my balance and generally being very ineffective. I felt my hope and confidence draining away with each change that took me further from the technique I had developed on Friday. Had it been replaced by something different but functional I would have been content but actually my technique was just dismantled perhaps to be constructed in an improved manner at a later date but for now it’s gone. The feeling of loss is heavy- i had something I liked and valued, something I worked to develop, I thought it would transfer, make a link, somehow tie together what I know. Nope gone. A lesson in non-attachment perhaps?

Then there was injury. I don’t mind being thrown really hard, don’t mind being punched, hit or anything like that. I am happy that I’m learning a martial art and understand that there is risk, and accidents happen. However, as I’ve said before, and will say again, hurting someone when there is no way to receive the technique is brutality. As an example, throwing someone hard is ok because they can take ukemi this should be scaled to their perceived level of skill but throwing is ok. Holding on to someone and driving them into the mat is not ok. Applying nikyo (during ikkyo) to the point of damage is not ok because the person can’t move to receive the nikyo because you control their elbow in ikkyo! Forcing a persons joint the wrong way when they are face down on a mat is not ok either. It’s about not breaking the people who trust you with their body. If there is nothing uke can do to protect themselves then don’t hurt them. So I’m injured. My shoulder hurts as do both wrists. I think the wrists will be ok but I fear the shoulder is more serious.

I came away from the Friday class on a high feeling good about what I learned. Tonight I feel destroyed and broken. There was free practice at the end and I couldn’t take a turn. There is absolutely no technique I can do in Iwama style. I knew Gary would be encouraging me to just do a different style but I couldn’t or rather I didn’t want to. I could have done all the techniques we did tonight in multiple ways but I just didn’t have it in me.


So that is how I was feeling last night. Today my shoulder is still really sore but I managed to teach my kids club. I went in feeling quite flat but their enthusiasm is brilliant and in no time I was back to my normal self. Well…..normal self with a sore shoulder. One pupil split her gi trousers! I felt so sorry for her but she just went and changed and seemed relatively ok about it. I think that on Monday I will go and see my old sensei again. I know I keep running back to him every time I feel bad but he is like my aikido Dad. I know that the advice he gives me will be for the best.


2 thoughts on “Rant?

  1. Roger McDermott says:

    I think you should do aikikai stuff in the free practice. The two styles look the same to me if there’s movement and it doesn’t start from a static grip. I would be interested in seeing those techniques.

    I know the person who injured you did feel bad about it afterwards. I think that sometimes some people, me included, forget that we need to blend with uke’s ukemi as well as the uke themselves.

    And if we do get new youngsters joining the adult class, I’m pretty sure that any disrespect to senior students, especially to yudansha (which includes you, after all!) wouldn’t be tolerated. Nikkyo concentrates the mind wonderfully.

    And (finally) at least you get the occasional insight! I come away every week thinking I’ve taken another two steps backwards and have done every practice session for the past couple of years.

  2. aikidoshoshin says:

    Thank you for your comment. I’m still quite new to aikikai so I think I would be better doing my old style aikido in free practice. It’s really interesting that you say aikikai and Iwama look the same. Perhaps I am getting bogged down in the detail and fundamentally they may well be identical.

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