Keeping your eye on the ball

Setting the scene

Last weekend the Aiuchi Jitsu Nationals took place in High Wycombe.  This annual get together sees all association clubs training and socialising together over two days.  And from the looks of some people on the second day the socialising aspect was taken as seriously as the training.

A light hearted competition in the form of a gauntlet run, judged on your ability to deal with a range of attacks, also takes place.  Prize per grade grouping is a box of chocolates and your fellow club members buying you a drink.  Traditional Jitsu is not a competitive sport, this is purely a chance to test your skills.

1st kyu and dan grades don’t receive a prize, but we have the delight of watching some truly amazing throws and techniques being applied in response to some very dedicated attacks.  What strikes me most is the fun these guys and girls have, confident in their ability to land safely.

Image

Photo by Kate Milledge:  Start of a group training session at High Wycombe

Advantages

The advantage of this sort of event is that in the time you spend, either training with the same grades or within mixed groups, is the exposure to a range of ways of explaining a technique.  Every instructor has his or her niggle point, the thing they like to see carried out correctly.  You are also training with new people, eliminating the anticipation in the way they would behave.

If you ever have the chance to attend such an event then I’d urge anyone to go.  Yes, even if you are brand new to your martial art, there is a lot to be gained.

Too much choice?

Initial worries at the start of the weekend that my recent practices in aikido would somehow interfere proved unfounded.  If anything, they helped.  A compliment on my shiho nage I attribute to aikido practice.  (Though my shiho nage is considered sloppy in aikido, a topic for a different blog entry).

Distractions

During the social event someone from another club decided to verbally cross swords with me.  This was the consequence of a misunderstood joke and my attempts to calm him down seemed only to enrage this guy further.  He stomped off, stating that our club was not much good etc.

This short spat lasted a few minutes at most, but somehow dominated my view of the weekend.  I did end up training with this guy, which started initially with a grim silence before we both started given each other reluctant feedback on our performance.  I felt genuinely upset by the disagreement, but to be charitable I suspect he did as well.

In real life distractions happen.  You have to learn how to put them to one side and move on.

  • In a street fight you receive a minor cut from a knife.  You cannot worry about it until you’ve dealt with the idiot waving the knife at you, ready for a more serious stab.
  • Someone at work being overly critical of your work?  Move on in order to produce the good work that shows this person you are competent.

Lessons

I don’t think either of us showed good spirit.  I should have made some attempt to apologise the next morning.  He should not have insulted people from my club over what was a personal minor matter.  Most of all I should not have let an idiot spoil what was otherwise a truly fun weekend.  I only hope that whoever he was he too has reached the same conclusions.

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