Ichikawa. Part 5

Fitness |

Aiki-Jujutsu will seek control through pressure points and wrist manipulation; while its ancestor aikido strives for a more peaceful path, aiming to redirect the energy you attack with so you end up dominating yourself. It’s quite a blow to your ego when you realize that you can and have been submitted in every range of combat imaginable. (more…)

Ichikawa. Part 4

Fitness |

As I picked myself up off the ground, Ichikawa had to have been licking his chops before he transformed my gift of momentum into another beautiful throw. It just kept going. This guy wasn’t even breaking a sweat and he was smoking me; as fast as I could get up he’d send me back down. And there was no struggle in it. His uchimata (inner thigh throw) was clean, dynamic and instantaneous. A quick pop of motion and I was on the ground. (more…)

Ichikawa. Part 3

Fitness |

I remember the only girl on our team shouting out “Sugoi” after watching my crude attempt at an osoto gari (outer reaping throw). With a meaning along the lines of “Oh my God!” I thought the girl was impressed by my display of power (and it’s implied virility). I realize now that she was probably mortified and was just bracing herself for a long year with a reckless gaijin (foreigner). (more…)

Ichikawa. Part 2

Fitness |

I learned ukemi 2 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks, culminating in a test where I grabbed the belt of a teammate situated on all fours, and hurled myself over his back, 5 times each on my left and right sides. The purpose of this training was to enable me to fall with velocity without injuring myself. (more…)

Ichikawa. Part 1

Fitness |

My introduction to martial arts began auspiciously enough. Sent to Japan as an exchange student, my militaristic high school “encouraged” me to train in one of the traditional Japanese arts offered at the after school clubs. I had several options available, including kyudo (traditional archery) and kendo (sportive fencing), along with the less physically demanding ikebana (flower arranging) and sado (tea ceremony). (more…)