Striking and Kicking
The photo above was taken in the early '80's at Aikido West in Redwood City. After an event, I was taking jiyu waza ukemi for my daughter Jennifer. Being born in the old dojo in Japantown, she had a pretty innate sense for aikido. So we used to work between classes. As she got older, one of the things we used to work on was Bruce Lee stuff. Strikes. Especially kicks. With air shields. It was a lot of fun in that it got her used to her body in a good way. She was very strong with her arms and her legs from a very young age.
She now styles hair and instructs Pilates locally. But sometimes things do come full circle. Later this week she is coming to the dojo for a session where she again wants to explore kicking and striking. Fairly recently I have been back into that on a personal basis. I began by studying Bruce Lee's movement again. Being diabetic I need to exercise to keep my blood sugar in control. I found that shadow kick boxing, especially the kicking, got my pulse rate up like nothing else. Also, after 40 years of aikido, I had gotten to a place where I could "just kick". So I am going to work with Jenny on some of this and see how it translates to possible private lessons.
There is striking in aikido. The "atemi" movements are in each technique. Tojima sensei, especially, really concentrated on the striking aspect and its relationship to showing "suki" or openings in movement. And he could kick. I once saw him in the narrow rear part of the Shingu dojo leap up in the air, execute a flying side kick, kick the dojo wall, propel himself to the other side of the dojo, back roll and come up right next to the wall on the other side without hitting it. Yes, in don Juan-Castaneda terms he could "stop the world". I don't believe he had any formal instruction in this. It was just something he had a predilection for and simply picked up as he went on his journey. And he understood the connection between striking and weapons.
So I have been having an interesting time on my own with the striking and kicking. And so I was wondering if anyone else out there in aikido-land would be interested in exploring the kicking/striking concepts in a way that would be consistent with aikido. That means you wouldn't have to do another art in order to do that. I remember in Japan Linda Holiday sensei and I used to work on kicks. So it has been done. Just not recently. The build up and release of energy through the body in kicking are very similar to some concepts in ukemi. So if you have any interest in any of this, let me know.
I just uploaded the following video yesterday. It is another version of an earlier"Wolf-tunes and Blade Blues". It was done following an Aikido workshop in Sebastopol held in August of last year. Dianna Lynne and I started trying to synch up music to sword drawing. And through it all Vladimir the Siberian Wolf majestically witnesses. The whole piece was shot by James Gauer and goes for over 12 minutes. It has been collected on dvd with 2 other pieces. You can access a link with more information on this at dvd.