Communication in Aikido
by Sensei Natasha Hadwick
(Bognor Regis, West Sussex UK)
I think that communication should be very important when training with multiple partners to avoid injury. It’s important for women to know how to take a fall and be able to carry on, otherwise why attend classes?
At the Arun Aikido Club in Bognor Regis, we pride ourselves on our family run business and its friendly atmosphere, including three generation of Aikidoka. We are very caring people and welcome everyone to our club.
We try and put students at ease whilst they are beginners. But, we are also a Yoshinkan club which is a military style of Aikido, and even though some of our rules are strict, they all come from a place of respect.
We do have more of a workshop type feel to the club at the moment, where students chat among themselves whilst training, to help their understanding.
But when we are nearing a grading we, as Sensei’s, remind our students that we are practicing Yoshinkan Aikido. We must demonstrate our understanding of what that means including respect, attitude, posture, angles and attention to detail.
Knowing when to train hard and prepare each other for a real altercation and knowing when to be relaxed and flow with the technique for Tori’s improvement is one of the biggest misunderstandings between students.
This miscommunication can cause injuries, resentment, avoidance and messing up Tori’s technique which stops self improvement.
When Sensei is talking you must never interrupt…
When called up to be uke for Sensei during a demonstration, communication is so important. It’s uke’s job to understand what attack is required of them as well as the amount of force that Sensei desires.
To understand what technique Sensei is showing and if you don’t know the technique, to just attack with consistent strength. If your arm goes limp half way through the demonstration, there would be no point in throwing uke!
Also communication off the mat can be beneficial. Students letting their Sensei know that they are unable to attend a class are considered respectful as well as polite.
At our club, we find birthday and Xmas cards give that personal touch.
Sensei Natasha Hadwick
Arun Aikido Club