Aikido and Making Some Noise
While watching a Yoshinkan Aikido class you may notice how loud it is. They are loud while warming up, loud kiai’s while training and bodies may be flying all over the place. No it is not a group of people with a lot of aggression to work out, it is spirit! Spirit is very important in Yoshinkan Aikido. Someone with good technique and poor spirit is missing out on a lot of what Yoshinkan Aikido is. When you come to class and give it your all every time and with a good attitude, you are showing good spirit. When you have a new student join the class, make sure you introduce yourself and work with them. Often times new students are a little timid their first day.
Counting as a group is a lot of fun and it shakes things up a bit. The instructor will count Ich, Ni and the class replies with San, Shi and so on. You get to practice counting in Japanese and warm up at the same time. It is easy to tell who is not counting and who is so make sure you are nice and loud while you are replying to sensei. If you have never spoken a word in Japanese don’t worry, through repetition you will learn how to count and pronounce all of the words to the movements and techniques. Aikido is lifelong training so you will have a lot of practice with these words.
A nice strong kiai while training can do a couple different things. A kiai does not only have to be used while striking as shite or uke. You will hear them while uke is being thrown, before a break fall is performed, and sometimes while students are warming up before class. Remember a kiai is a battle cry, make it your own and make it strong. It can also be used to off-balance your uke. A kiai from deep down can be pretty intimidating to uke as they are attacking shite and even make them freeze if it is loud enough. One of my first instructors came at me once with Xena’s battle cry to shake me up. Now that was something I did not expect from him and it took me completely off balance resulting with me on the floor. If you are a shy and quiet person this is just the class for you. You will have a strong kiai in no time.
When I say there may be bodies flying all over the place I am not talking about people just throwing themselves on the floor. In Aikido you are using the other person’s energy against them. The more committed your attack is the stronger your fall will be. This is where good spirit comes in again. You should not give a half-hearted attack and expect a committed one when you switch roles. Being thrown is a lot of fun and committed attacks make the ukemi a lot easier. If you don’t commit with your attacks you will have a much harder landing.
I’m not saying we have to scream at each other while training but we should not be hearing crickets either. A good attitude and spirit will result in effective training. Now go make some noise and get thrown around. Osu!