My cross-training journey

O'Malley

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Hi folks,

So, my dojo closed indefinitely, which means that aikido in my region is now clinically dead. After six months without physical activity, I finally checked out a place that trains esrkima Latosa yesterday.

My impressions are very positive. The teacher is very skilled and knowledgeable in a lot of martial arts, and the assistant instructor just won silver at an international Nippon Kempo tournament. Both are very passionate about martial arts and learning from them looks great. I got along nicely with the students as well.

What I particularly liked was that since the instructors also compete in kickboxing/sanda/full- contact karate, they emphasize the empty handed part of the art.

So I guess I'll join. That being said, I'm still an aikido guy at heart so I'll keep training aikido solo and will bring it with me when training eskrima, even though I'll need to make sure that does not prevent me from learning.

If it's of interest, I'll share some thoughts on my journey here so stay tuned!
 

bluepanther

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It seems that learning a striking art at that school would compliment your Aikido training.
 

Buka

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Hi folks,

So, my dojo closed indefinitely, which means that aikido in my region is now clinically dead. After six months without physical activity, I finally checked out a place that trains esrkima Latosa yesterday.

My impressions are very positive. The teacher is very skilled and knowledgeable in a lot of martial arts, and the assistant instructor just won silver at an international Nippon Kempo tournament. Both are very passionate about martial arts and learning from them looks great. I got along nicely with the students as well.

What I particularly liked was that since the instructors also compete in kickboxing/sanda/full- contact karate, they emphasize the empty handed part of the art.

So I guess I'll join. That being said, I'm still an aikido guy at heart so I'll keep training aikido solo and will bring it with me when training eskrima, even though I'll need to make sure that does not prevent me from learning.

If it's of interest, I'll share some thoughts on my journey here so stay tuned!
I would love to hear thoughts on your journey.
 

_Simon_

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Fantastic, yes please would love to witness your journey! I know my journey thread I made really helped me to reflect along the way on not only my search but my discoveries and insights along the way, and hopefully gave other people ideas to follow their intuition and MA calling.

Yeah the instructor, fellow students and general aura/atmosphere really are important, it's gotta click with you.

Looking forward to seeing how eskrima goes, and yes Aikido will still run in your blood, just like my old style still does in mine. Hoping you can still keep your Aikido training going, and be interesting to see how it can infuse into and inform your eskrima training.

Enjoy this new branch of your journey :)

ALSO never forget.. clackledockling is still, and always is an option, and is there for you at all times....
 

Gerry Seymour

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Hi folks,

So, my dojo closed indefinitely, which means that aikido in my region is now clinically dead. After six months without physical activity, I finally checked out a place that trains esrkima Latosa yesterday.

My impressions are very positive. The teacher is very skilled and knowledgeable in a lot of martial arts, and the assistant instructor just won silver at an international Nippon Kempo tournament. Both are very passionate about martial arts and learning from them looks great. I got along nicely with the students as well.

What I particularly liked was that since the instructors also compete in kickboxing/sanda/full- contact karate, they emphasize the empty handed part of the art.

So I guess I'll join. That being said, I'm still an aikido guy at heart so I'll keep training aikido solo and will bring it with me when training eskrima, even though I'll need to make sure that does not prevent me from learning.

If it's of interest, I'll share some thoughts on my journey here so stay tuned!
I'd be really interested in hearing how you think your Aikido influences your eskrima, and where those principles seem to give you an edge, or at least a different approach.
 

Holmejr

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This sounds like an excellent adventure. Looking forward to hearing about it. I find that all the arts complement each other with the right perspective. Im a FMA guy. The FMA arts have an almost backwards progression. Think youll be amazed how your Aikido will interplay with your FMA. Ask lots of questions.
 
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O'Malley

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Thanks for the kind words, everyone!
Fantastic, yes please would love to witness your journey! I know my journey thread I made really helped me to reflect along the way on not only my search but my discoveries and insights along the way, and hopefully gave other people ideas to follow their intuition and MA calling.

Yeah the instructor, fellow students and general aura/atmosphere really are important, it's gotta click with you.

Looking forward to seeing how eskrima goes, and yes Aikido will still run in your blood, just like my old style still does in mine. Hoping you can still keep your Aikido training going, and be interesting to see how it can infuse into and inform your eskrima training.

Enjoy this new branch of your journey :)

ALSO never forget.. clackledockling is still, and always is an option, and is there for you at all times....
Hahaha good one! When I first asked about their training, they struggled to describe it because while they do train stick fighting, they also incorporate a lot of empty-handed striking and grappling. After the whole explanation was done, I thought "ok they do clackledockling".
I'd be really interested in hearing how you think your Aikido influences your eskrima, and where those principles seem to give you an edge, or at least a different approach.
Too early to tell obviously, but I've already had to adjust my stance and guard. I'm curious as to whether the conditioning will show, because the head instructor said I had "good structure" (even though I know my technique is abysmal). He did bounce off me on a couple of occasions but I don't want to read too much into that.
Would also be fun to try some throws in sparring but we need to be careful on the wooden floor.
This sounds like an excellent adventure. Looking forward to hearing about it. I find that all the arts complement each other with the right perspective. Im a FMA guy. The FMA arts have an almost backwards progression. Think youll be amazed how your Aikido will interplay with your FMA. Ask lots of questions.
Thanks! First question, then: what do you mean by "almost backwards progression"?
 

Gerry Seymour

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Too early to tell obviously, but I've already had to adjust my stance and guard. I'm curious as to whether the conditioning will show, because the head instructor said I had "good structure" (even though I know my technique is abysmal). He did bounce off me on a couple of occasions but I don't want to read too much into that.
Would also be fun to try some throws in sparring but we need to be careful on the wooden floor.
I have found that sometimes the aiki structure and mechanics throws folks off, and you're probably better at both than me (NGA just isn't as good at developing it). I expect you'll find some interesting ways it lets you adapt some of the new material, though it'll certainly take time to reach the proficiency level where that starts happening.

I'm curious about the conditioning, too. Yours will be different from mine (we use mostly Judo falls, so part of our conditioning is just the beating of taking those falls - not nearly as nice as some of the "feather falls" I've seen and learned in Aikido dojos).

As to the stance and guard, I expect you'll eventually find some ways those new ones fit into your Aikido movement and structure, giving you some new opportunities.

Man, I hope you have a blast with this!
 

Gerry Seymour

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Thanks! First question, then: what do you mean by "almost backwards progression"?
From my brief exposure to FMA, I'm guessing they're talking about the fact that often (from my experience and what I've heard from others) FMA starts training with a weapon, then teaches how to adapt those mechanics to empty hand.
 
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O'Malley

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Quick update. So life got a bit in the way (moving out, travelling for work then catching COVID abroad, etc.) so training took a bit of a backseat. I've played around with some daito ryu exercises at home but I have almost not trained since my last post.

So I went back to eskrima (and plan to keep this as consistent as possible) and here are some thoughts:

- The head instructor said my punches were much sharper than last time (in both orthodox and southpaw) and he asked whether I'd been doing special training. I have no idea whether it's a matter of perception, of my form being particularly bad last time or whether the DR exercises somehow improved my punches. Can be unconscious learning as well;
- My kicks still suck colossal ***;
- I've sparred a bit with him (stick) and I noticed that he would often catch me with a vertical cut on the wrist after parrying my attack. So I started parrying the vertical cuts and got him a few times until he had to adapt. I'm happy with that small victory and I can't wait to get better at this;
- I lose ground quite easily, even against people whom I should outrange. I wonder whether it's because I don't understand my own range or my opponent's. Perhaps it's because parrying is not natural yet for me so I tend to overly rely on staying out of the danger zone;
- I feel like improving my cardio will make a big difference, all the more because he wants us to be very quick and aggressive and to throw out combinations and not just pot shots. I also started losing speed and precision after a few rounds and gassed out before the others.

As regards upcoming plans, the instructor informed us of sanda tournaments in our area where his assistant will compete (that guy signs up to about every clackledockling event in the region and beyond). I said I wanted to compete as well and he was very surprised (nobody else wants to). We agreed that I won't be ready for the next tournament in two weeks but I'll start doing some sanda sparring and conditioning in preparation for the one after. A buddy of mine also told me he'd visit the local Nippon Kempo dojo this week, I replied "count me in!" and if it goes well we might end up both joining. I know those guys and they're the "happy go bonk!" type, so I could also end up competing there as well. Sounds like I'll be compensating for all that lost training!
 

Gerry Seymour

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Quick update. So life got a bit in the way (moving out, travelling for work then catching COVID abroad, etc.) so training took a bit of a backseat. I've played around with some daito ryu exercises at home but I have almost not trained since my last post.

So I went back to eskrima (and plan to keep this as consistent as possible) and here are some thoughts:

- The head instructor said my punches were much sharper than last time (in both orthodox and southpaw) and he asked whether I'd been doing special training. I have no idea whether it's a matter of perception, of my form being particularly bad last time or whether the DR exercises somehow improved my punches. Can be unconscious learning as well;
- My kicks still suck colossal ***;
- I've sparred a bit with him (stick) and I noticed that he would often catch me with a vertical cut on the wrist after parrying my attack. So I started parrying the vertical cuts and got him a few times until he had to adapt. I'm happy with that small victory and I can't wait to get better at this;
- I lose ground quite easily, even against people whom I should outrange. I wonder whether it's because I don't understand my own range or my opponent's. Perhaps it's because parrying is not natural yet for me so I tend to overly rely on staying out of the danger zone;
- I feel like improving my cardio will make a big difference, all the more because he wants us to be very quick and aggressive and to throw out combinations and not just pot shots. I also started losing speed and precision after a few rounds and gassed out before the others.

As regards upcoming plans, the instructor informed us of sanda tournaments in our area where his assistant will compete (that guy signs up to about every clackledockling event in the region and beyond). I said I wanted to compete as well and he was very surprised (nobody else wants to). We agreed that I won't be ready for the next tournament in two weeks but I'll start doing some sanda sparring and conditioning in preparation for the one after. A buddy of mine also told me he'd visit the local Nippon Kempo dojo this week, I replied "count me in!" and if it goes well we might end up both joining. I know those guys and they're the "happy go bonk!" type, so I could also end up competing there as well. Sounds like I'll be compensating for all that lost training!
Great write-up!

About the losing ground - this might come from some Daito-ryu habits. Since my primary art is founded on Daito-ryu (with other parts put in), we may share some habit - or may not. I have to watch myself when sparring, especially when I'm out of pracitce. I like to draw people into reaching a bit, then close in. If I don't change angles often, I'll back up too much, losing ground when I shouldn't.

For the cardio, what helped me most when I was working on mine was spending time on a heavy bag. I'd do 1-minute round with 10-second breaks. I'd do a session with sticks (similar to what you're probably using), rest for a while, then do a session with boxing gloves (because those things wear me out FAST). I'd keep moving as if the bag was an opponent, so I'd step out, change angles, cut across it, etc. That seemed to help a lot and also got me out of some passive movement habits (only moving in response to what came at me) from my NGA training.
 
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O'Malley

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Ah another thing:

I still hold back too much during drills and sparring because I'm overly protective of my partner. For example, we did a drill where I had to punch my partner's ribs upon entry and to avoid damaging him I systematically collapsed my arm without sending any force. The coach said he'd help with this. It was already a problem in my aikido, and my former instructor had pointed that out to me at the time.

I don't know if this is of interest but I'll also use this thread for my training notes.
 
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O'Malley

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Great write-up!

About the losing ground - this might come from some Daito-ryu habits. Since my primary art is founded on Daito-ryu (with other parts put in), we may share some habit - or may not. I have to watch myself when sparring, especially when I'm out of pracitce. I like to draw people into reaching a bit, then close in. If I don't change angles often, I'll back up too much, losing ground when I shouldn't.
I haven't done any sparring in my aikido/DR lineages so can't compare. But the theory as I understand it is that you should take control of the line of attack, that's a thing in aikiken as well:

For the cardio, what helped me most when I was working on mine was spending time on a heavy bag. I'd do 1-minute round with 10-second breaks. I'd do a session with sticks (similar to what you're probably using), rest for a while, then do a session with boxing gloves (because those things wear me out FAST). I'd keep moving as if the bag was an opponent, so I'd step out, change angles, cut across it, etc. That seemed to help a lot and also got me out of some passive movement habits (only moving in response to what came at me) from my NGA training.
Thanks for the advice, I'll try that!
 

Taiji Rebel

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I haven't done any sparring in my aikido/DR lineages so can't compare. But the theory as I understand it is that you should take control of the line of attack, that's a thing in aikiken as well:


Thanks for the advice, I'll try that!
Eskrima practice will be really good for you O'Malley. Aikido has given you a number of skills and concepts. Now, you are only adding to them. Fitness is key to all forms of fighting. Gerry has given you some great advice there with the heavy bag. You might also like to grab a jump-rope and aim towards sets of 3min rounds as this will definitely help with your stamina. Keep up the good work and be sure to keep us all posted on your progress - it sounds like you're going to have a whole lot of fun training there
 

Tony Dismukes

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About the losing ground - this might come from some Daito-ryu habits. Since my primary art is founded on Daito-ryu (with other parts put in), we may share some habit - or may not. I have to watch myself when sparring, especially when I'm out of pracitce. I like to draw people into reaching a bit, then close in. If I don't change angles often, I'll back up too much, losing ground when I shouldn't.
Sparring in a ring or cage really helps with this. When you're operating in an open space with no obstructions, it's easy to just keep retreating indefinitely. It's not necessarily a bad option in self-defense if you're ever attacked by a single person that you see coming in a wide open space with a flat surface and no obstacles or hazards. Too bad that's not the context for most assaults.
 

Buka

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Quick update. So life got a bit in the way (moving out, travelling for work then catching COVID abroad, etc.) so training took a bit of a backseat. I've played around with some daito ryu exercises at home but I have almost not trained since my last post.

So I went back to eskrima (and plan to keep this as consistent as possible) and here are some thoughts:

- The head instructor said my punches were much sharper than last time (in both orthodox and southpaw) and he asked whether I'd been doing special training. I have no idea whether it's a matter of perception, of my form being particularly bad last time or whether the DR exercises somehow improved my punches. Can be unconscious learning as well;
- My kicks still suck colossal ***;
- I've sparred a bit with him (stick) and I noticed that he would often catch me with a vertical cut on the wrist after parrying my attack. So I started parrying the vertical cuts and got him a few times until he had to adapt. I'm happy with that small victory and I can't wait to get better at this;
- I lose ground quite easily, even against people whom I should outrange. I wonder whether it's because I don't understand my own range or my opponent's. Perhaps it's because parrying is not natural yet for me so I tend to overly rely on staying out of the danger zone;
- I feel like improving my cardio will make a big difference, all the more because he wants us to be very quick and aggressive and to throw out combinations and not just pot shots. I also started losing speed and precision after a few rounds and gassed out before the others.

As regards upcoming plans, the instructor informed us of sanda tournaments in our area where his assistant will compete (that guy signs up to about every clackledockling event in the region and beyond). I said I wanted to compete as well and he was very surprised (nobody else wants to). We agreed that I won't be ready for the next tournament in two weeks but I'll start doing some sanda sparring and conditioning in preparation for the one after. A buddy of mine also told me he'd visit the local Nippon Kempo dojo this week, I replied "count me in!" and if it goes well we might end up both joining. I know those guys and they're the "happy go bonk!" type, so I could also end up competing there as well. Sounds like I'll be compensating for all that lost training!
What a great post.

As for losing ground. in order to maximize your timing skills you have to understand distance (your range). Focus on your own at first, its most important. Learning an opponents distance - or reading it before he moves - comes with experience and frequency of resistance in training.

Keep at it and keep us posted.
 

isshinryuronin

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I like to draw people into reaching a bit, then close in. If I don't change angles often, I'll back up too much,
Angles are the key. "All the secrets of combat are in the angles." (Miyagi Chojun, goju founder).
When you're operating in an open space with no obstructions, it's easy to just keep retreating indefinitely.
Backing up is instinctive (your opponent counts on this). The ability to resist this impulse.....(see the quote below)
comes with experience and frequency of resistance in training.
To this I would add repetition, not only in sparring, but even in drilling. In my style's entire series of forms, I'd guess just 5% of the steps are backwards. And those are parries or grabs bringing the opponent in and simultaneously striking. (One exception is retreating to condition the opponent to overcommit his forward motion) Offensive mindset, offensive tactics. Moving into the attack on an angle or even straight in will likely catch the opponent by surprise, neutralize his attack and keep you in close position to counter. Whenever I find myself backpedaling, I usually curse myself for lack of mental discipline and losing an opportunity for a counter.
 

HighKick

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What a great post.

As for losing ground. in order to maximize your timing skills you have to understand distance (your range). Focus on your own at first, its most important. Learning an opponents distance - or reading it before he moves - comes with experience and frequency of resistance in training.

Keep at it and keep us posted.
@O'Malley , I agree with Buka. I would add to range that you should also work on your angles. In Escrima or Kali, this is not only footwork but the relationship between the angle of your arms/hands to your body. Especially when stick sparring. Angles can make the difference between a wrist strike and the stick hitting air.
 
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