Hitting People with Sticks
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Power randori – aikido

One thing Phil seems to like to do with his classes is incorporate bits and pieces of real-life situations and show us how to respond to them in an aikido-like fashion.

Yesterday, we did a couple simple throws to warm us up, but focused mostly on how to block a strike coming in at your head with a simple “oh sh!t” movement – throwing up the forearm (the *outside* of the forearm, which syncs up nicely with a note from eskrima that same night) to either block or redirect the strike.  Now, on its own, this doesn’t do much other than take care of one move – generally, it’s better to have a plan in mind.  We then practiced (with pads) using that simple block/redirect along with a shove to uke to push him back.  It’s actually most like a dead-arm strike as I learned it in eskrima, where we use our body weight to do the work of moving the opponent and doing damage.

After a few rounds of that, we moved into randori – but not a typical style of randori.  One person stood in the center of a very tight circle of people, all holding pads.  At the signal, the people in the circle would all push against the person in the center, trying to keep him in there and maybe knock him down.  Obviously, the goal was to take the concepts we’d been working on and use them to escape.

Not as easy as I thought, of course.  The biggest adjustment I made was keeping my center low and moving 100% forwards rather than trying to push *up* and out, which just left me with my hands in the air and no where to go.  Very interesting exercise.

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