Posted by: yoko | January 21, 2006

Notes for Freestyle

Still working on this.

Look in their eyes.
Keep the feet still! No hopping around.
Move and turn, move and turn. Get out of the way.
Don’t be looking for trouble– let trouble come to you.
One more: Hands up!



  1. Yeah. I need to work on this as well. I’m learning qinna (joint locks/throwing/grappling–probably pretty similar to Aikido in many ways) in both my martial arts classes now, and if you anticipate, it doesn’t work and gets you into a lot of trouble. It’s hard, though, when you’re a girl who feels the need to prepare for things.

  2. Ack! Who told you to look in their eyes? NEVER look in their eyes! This was one of the first basic aikido lessons that I was ever taught. It narrows your focus too much, and once you’re focused on the eyes the unconscious human instinct to keep that focus slows down the process of turning away when it’s time to turn away (not by much, but every tiny bit of time counts). O-Sensei was quite adamant about this, and my own experimentation over time, plus the experimentation of my students and the other aikido instructors I’ve compared notes with, has demonstrated that it was yet another thing he was right about.

  3. Nick– I don’t think it’s so much “look in their eyes” as it is “look up.” I have a horrible habit of looking down— at my hands, at my feet, at the ukes’ hands and feet. By doing this, I not only communicate what area I’m concentrating on, I keep my head down– and then get caught with the ukes on my back every time.

    There is no way I can focus on only two eyes (or all the eyes in the ukes’ heads) when there are ukes all around my field of vision. I like to think of it more generally– by looking up at the upper body, I can see the direction the person is moving. And one flash of eye contact, done judiciously, sometimes disarms the uke to give me an extra second.


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