Sanrin Mountain Dojo starts every week off with a topic, and/or Principle, that we focus on. Our Mokuroku is followed, and sometimes what we are studying is the training for a specific Principle of our art. This week we focused on “Combat Intimacy”.
What does that mean for us?….for me? Well, first off, my students and kohai in Nami ryu Aiki Heiho will teach me more that I can hope to teach them. This is the reason for our dojo in Flagstaff, Arizona. I have taken keppan and owe back what I have learned and need to continue practicing.
The “Way is in Training”, and skills are all perishable. After 47 years of training, I tend to forget, unless I have someone do something wrong that someone once (who we foolin’? …. always more than once…) corrected me on. Helping us stay “evergreen” is one of the reasons we have mokuroku, a listing of the relationships that remind us to always learn by constant practice and relearning of the basics of our art.
Our focus on “intimacy” this week was on some of the ground and close “grappling” aspects of jujutsu and kenjutsu. Yes, even swords get close, although generally, they allow for not getting as close.
On Saturday we took the relationships that allow for the quick drawing of a sword from the saya and saw how just that movement can foster the other party’s movement. The closer the better, as a magnification of the effect, happens with the closest direct connection and body movement that is generated without tension. We often refer to that as “soft”, but other words like: “pliable”, “flexible”, and “aiki” refer to this connection. We work on breath a lot, as the fuel to the engine that releases tension.
Earlier in the week, this combat intimacy was explored when we studied the entry and applications of hadaka jime, which is often referred to as a “rear-naked choke”. Turning in to a choke, getting closer, is one of the counterintuitive applications of defending and mitigating this very dangerous relationship. Another martial artist of note recently suggested remembering this with the phrase: “always face your problems”.
Survival dictates the need to learn how to deal with something everyone can learn to do, like causing people to have difficulty breathing or getting blood to their brain.
Speaking of choking and intimacy, everyone should know the “Heimlich Maneuver” as well. I learned it first when getting my Boy Scout First Aid Merit Badge at about the time I started learning martial arts. I believe Self Defense starts with personal health and the safety of ourselves and others
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Written by: Jim O’Connell