A Conversation for Aikido
A gentle martial art
Gavin Orr Started conversation Jul 10, 2006
I haven't practiced since I left the U.K. 20+ years ago (I couldn't find a class in Australia which I was comfortable with, athough there are a few here) and while I don't remember ever being taught offensive moves, some of the defensive ones could inflict a fair amount of pain!
I never got to into the swordplay side of the art, but did enjoy learning the unarmed self defense. I especially enjoyed the "unscripted" exercises we used to do towards the end of the class, with one student in the middle and the others attcking one at atime (or two, or three, depending on the skill of the one in the middle). Our instructor would go into the middle and it was interesting to see how some students backed off, while others pushed harder - however the end was always the same: when our instructor was ready to finsih, he simply used one or more students as a shield to stop oncoming attackers.
I was lucky enough to witness a first dan grading and was amused, if a little worried, when the examiner (the "top man" in the U.K. at the time) gave one of the attackers a telling off for not trying to kill the examinee with the knife attack. Amused because the attacker was a student of the examinee, and worried because the knife being used wasn't a rubber or wooden one, but a real knife with a serious blade. It all ended well, though - no one got hurt and the examinee (my sensei) got his first dan.
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