Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Learning to work with Juniors

Sensei Steven taught us a few seemingly innocuous positions for our hands as a fight escalates. This way we appear harmless and do not project violence, but at the same time we are prepared for an attack. One position included two hands positioned together in almost a prayer position. The other included placing one hand on our chin and the other under the elbow of the first hand, somewhat resembling Mawashi Uke. As a whole I liked the drill, because even though I felt even sloppier than usual, it made me think about where I was going to place my hands and what my options could be from there.

Yesterday I was working with Naomi on this drill in a defense against a roundhouse punch. At first I moved slowly and fell over at any sign of my arm twisting in either direction. Then I realized that I didn’t feel any pain and I decided to only drop when I felt a need to. What wound up happening is that as she attempted one lock and then another, I stood up straight and waited. Then as she was starting to give up, I began placing my palm on her forehead repeatedly so as to let her know that it wasn’t over.

In retrospect, this was a big mistake. Now I am slowly frustrating a new person who, in spite of her size, is placing an increasing amount of strength into her maneuvers. All the while I am not making any efforts to retrieve my arm. Most of you know how this story ends, but I’ll humor you anyway. Sure enough she did get it right; and with a good deal of strength to boot! Actually she resorted to the Aikido version of Nikyu where she uses the free hand to place her entire arm over my arm and with her shoulder she just drops down. I’ve only hit the floor that fast on a few select circumstances but I am glad that I did yesterday.

The lesson to be learned here is one that I seem to need to learn repeatedly. Don’t give people trouble if you do not know how to defend against the circumstances. In contrast, I feel that I’m doing a tremendous disservice to the Torre when a technique isn’t working and I follow along anyway. It reinforces the delusion that an attacker will just wait. Especially considering that Eizan Ryu is a form of Urban Ju Jitsu which is meant to control the attacker and not disable him altogether. As soon as we lose the lock, the attacker is still not hurt, they are angry and now they’re educated!

So where does this leave me? Somewhere in between those two concepts is a balance. If I'm not going to play along every time, then I should probably decide how much trouble to give which people. Or at the very least, I should decide which people can be challenged without creating a situation where I am likely to get hurt.

EDIT: I am aware that I am a junior too, but I was referring to anyone who is more of a junior than myself.