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Forget your hands America

by on August 3, 2018

A few quick thoughts from nationals:

The nice thing about participating in a sport in a small enough niche is that when you attend a national tournament you are liable to come back with several medals in your bag. This year’s nationals in San Diego was no exception. However, I cannot take full credit for any of the success I enjoyed this year – nor could most of the participants – the vast majority of competitive aikido events at nationals are for pairs or teams. This year I shared golds with a seven person team, a three man team, and a kata partner, as well as a silver with the same partner (thanks for playing through your injury Erik!), and a bronze with this year’s random Bandiero.

Lesson 1: the easiest way to success is to surround yourself with great teammates.

Lesson 2: Dedication pays.

This year’s overall champion Tiffany Doan has been the ever-present face of women’s sports aikido in the United States for over a decade. No one has been more dedicated to the sport, so this recognition was well earned. But it isn’t just showing up to tournaments – Tiffany and Alec Niccum executed a fantastic freestlye routine which I’m sure was the result of countless hours of practice together in Florida. Practice works!

Final observation:

I want to preface my final observation with a series of qualifiers. This is only my opinion, and nobody has asked me for this opinion. I approach aikido differently than most Tomiki aikido players, and it may well be that my approach is not the best approach for you (dear reader), or indeed the best approach in general. I’ve enjoyed a modest degree of success in competitive randori, but nothing exceptional, and my experience is a pretty small sample size. So feel free to take what I am about to say with an enormous grain of salt.

There is an epidemic of shoulders hunching forward and butts drifting back.

In my opinion, in this year’s tournament, there was ALMOST NO ONE whose shoulders were aligned properly over their hips. I’m not going to say that this posture makes true aikido movement impossible, but it sure as shit doesn’t make it easier.

This is not to say that my body mechanics are perfect – they certainly aren’t. I have much to learn on this and many other topics. But, dear reader, we need to fix our posture because this is just embarrassing.

Why are so many of us sacrificing our posture? This is probably above my pay grade, but if I were to hazard a guess, I would say that too many of us are under the false impression that we can think of something to do with our hands.

Forget your hands America, and stand up straight.

Or, whatever. Ignore me. The beautiful thing about Tomiki aikido is that we can all come up with our own crazy ideas and test them out in randori.

Maybe I’ll see you at the next go-round.

From → Quick hit, Update

  1. As someone who is SUPER guilty of the shoulder misalignment, I can say that a lot of the posture issues probably have to do with lack of feedback-driven randori training. We fall into unhealthy practices without thinking about it because it “feels” like we’re doing it correctly. It is only when you see video that you realize how wrong that feeling really was.

  2. Mark Colopy permalink

    Charlie –
    A very insightful comment. Balance and structure has always been something I stressed at USC.
    Mark Colopy

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