Skip to content


by on May 9, 2012

This episode is our first from Master Hall’s new dojo, and our first experiment with my new GoPro camera. (The sound leaves a little to be desired…) In this episode we present “soft-soft”.

“Soft-soft” has been the most useful drill I’ve found in my aikido development. It was the thing that first lead me down the path of softer, more fluid aikido (putting the aiki into my aikido…). I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time practicing with Eric, and we’ve played a lot of soft-soft over the years. As our aikido has evolved, so has our soft-soft. In this video we show a little glimpse of that evolution.

I imagine many people have tried a similar exercise. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it!

If you’re just beginning, I’d recommend starting out as we initially did, and as we show at the beginning of the video: essentially trade soft techniques taken 80% to completion. As tori nears completion of a technique, uke should go with it, flowing out of the technique, and into another, becoming the new tori. This will give you a structure (rather than just: “be soft!”) and hopefully increase your softness and ability to transition from uke back into being tori. As you get better, see where it takes you!

I’m sure our soft-soft will have evolved even further in 6 months.

In other news, Eric had the idea for a new drill that would give a structured way to practice connection and “shocks” to uke’s intention – used to draw uke out past where he would otherwise go. This is a strategy that Eric has seen one jiujitsu sensei in particular use to great effect, and also something that Shishida and Sato sensei’s were playing with when I visited them in 2009 (I found it much too difficult to do myself at the time…). Hopefully this new drill will help us all develop the skills to pull it off in a more dynamic situation. If we like it, we may present the drill in an upcoming episode.

We spent most of practice tonight playing with kotegaeshi again. We’re working specifically on clean kotegaeshis that lead uke inevitably and smoothly into a flyer, rather than one where there is collusion and uke jumps. We made some progress, but I’m not ready to share any breakthroughs yet. Hopefully soon.

From → Video

  1. Hey thanks for the film.

    I really like the Vasser college drill. My opinion, whatever that is worth, is that drill is optimal the level to train. Probably if you included ukemi on every third exchange or so might be good as well. I had not seen any JAA people train like this before. Good stuff.

    • I know some of the CA folks do it, so it goes at least one generation further back from Vassar, probably to Dziubla sensei.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: