Monday, 5 November 2007

Smile and relax - humour, hakama, east of England

An aikido training should not be too serious. You should respect others, O'Sensei and the dojo (see prev. post) but a smile is never frowned upon if it's not out of hands :). Our masters ask us to smile when executing a technique. It shows that you enjoy the class, don't take things or yourself too seriously and your muscles are relaxed enough to do a technique in harmony (without collision of the Forces* ;)).
Your muscles should not be too stiff for aikido, and smiling helps a lot in this. A relaxed body can perform better.

The former Soviet Union had a coach for the men's 100m sprint who accepted someone as trainee only if the person passed a quick test: he had to run the 100m with a rolled paper in his mouth (it's exactly like playing fetch just completely different :)). If the paper stayed intact after the sprint the runner was OK, otherwise dismissed. The reason was that if you clench your teeth you can't be relaxed enough to give 100% when running. It was used in this short distance run mostly because if you run longer distances (as many of you go running for 30-60 minutes or so), at the end you should end up more relaxed as being stiff is not sustainable if you exercise one thing for a longer period anyway. Since aikido is rather a "short-distance-many-times" exercise (seiza-practice-seiza-practice,technique-pin-technique-pin, etc.) it's important to be relaxed before you start doing a technique.

Many web sites offer some aikido humour (cartoons, "funny" songs :)) and, especially in children's classes, there might be some humorous aikido games as well. (I like these games in adult classes too as my inner child is always ready for games ...unlike the comrade leader in old eastern times who said "I do understand humour just don't like it" :D)

A couple of days ago I came across some videos and photos my brother took in Hungary (where I'm from). I'm not showing these videos here because, although funny enough, drunk people falling off horses during a local traditional festival are not really appropriate for this blog :). However, I have some pictures showing (reasonably sober) people in old clothes that prove the historical relation between the Hungarian and Japanese :). Look at the pictures, what are they wearing? Of course, it's a Hungarian Hakama! :D It is called "gatya" or "bőgatya" which also shows the relation because the words have (almost) only 'a' vowels in them, and 'k' and 'g' are very similar in Japanese, too! Remember, "Kote" (forearm) and "kaeshi" (reversal, return) becomes "kotegaeshi" (a name of a technique) when used together! Amazing! :D Almost a complete match! It's like getting from "deer" to "beer" in one step. :) And should I mention that hakama was worn initially by horseback samurai? It's all way too obvious. :D

Enjoy your trainings, add some comments here if you feel like doing so.

*I read that George Lucas took, at least partially, the idea of the Force in Star Wars from an aikido master but more about this maybe later in another post.


Charlie san said...

lol :D

Zolley said...

This video made me laugh :) Good trick and many commenters fell for it. :D

Armand said...

I cant believe all the comments take it seriously O_O 13 seconds in, its obvious XD

Zolley said...

Another couple of great links, thanks to Chris for showing them to me :D [1] [2]