5/2/16 – College Dojo
Pushing hands. Hubad-lubad. Sensitivity drills. I’m not quite sure what the Karate organization I’m training with calls ’em. The label doesn’t really matter – as Grandmaster Remy A. Presas would say, “It’s all de same.”
The first time I did anything like this was in a black belt’s garage-dojo. She had invited a few of us out for training and lunch, and I was by far the lowest ranked. I was introduced to this fun game of deception, luring, escaping, trapping, and generally, as my stick-playing FMA friends would say, “going with the flow.” We started out with arms only then moved on to using our whole bodies. Now I have a better idea of how to work when someone is in my space!
I found out very quickly that trying to use brute force and strength only gave my opponent a huge advantage. I had to stay loose and keep in motion – adjusting and re-adjusting as needed to work towards a goal. I also learned that sometimes it’s OK to yield to my opponent – that in doing so I might set him up for what I want to do to him.
In College Dojo today we did a little of this as well. College Sensei only had us use one arm today. I smiled as the young man I was paired with tried to overpower me with strength. It didn’t work. I figured out which direction he was “aiming” his strength and simply directed it aside and tagged him. Patiently I started working, getting him into a rhythm, then abruptly broke the pattern I’d woven. Tag again. We didn’t have time for more because class ended.
After class, another young man of low rank challenged me to a one-armed match. A challenge from a lower ranked karateka is a breach of etiquette. I chose to deal with it indirectly and with a good bit of mischief, grace, and humor. I said, “I’ll do you one better. Let’s play this with two arms and the goal is to trap one another.”
Sometimes being Sempai is a lot of fun. I found out he is good at this game. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed the few minutes we had to play. I think we are equally matched skills-wise, so if we play together more we’ll both get better. I learned that rather than yell at the kid for daring to challenge his Sempai, it’s a heck of a lot more fun to “punish” him by challenging him to grow in skill.