Archive for January, 2008


Class Record: Koku + Kubisugi tonso + Happo biken

January 29, 2008

Class: Monday 28th Jan

We looked at Gyokko ryu’s first kata and henka to see how the manipulation of the space and potential space that the uke occupies and needs can result in effective gyaku without particularily trying to “do a lock”.  The same idea’s of space and timing manipulation appeared in a version of koku applied with the ninjato. I think a lot of what was in that waza is well worth studying – footwork, kamae, spirit, cutting, thrusting, angling, timing, disance, technical manipulation of the sword etc.

I was asked to show a technique so did some Oguri-Sensei inspired gyaku which involved some close quarter gyaku waza with elbows and knees. Alex then took us through some ideas form Kubisugi tonso no kata which again looks at total body movement and evasion to set uke up for locks, throws and strikes. Being uke throughout the class  was helpful in understanding the feeling of not-fighting that was displayed. A definite feeling of being played with like a cat with a mouse (….or rat, I guess……). This happens a lot in Japan

Thought provoker: When tori was striking you – did it hurt, move your structure, throw your balance or just annoy you? Did you tell them?

                                                                                                                                  – Ali Martinez


Class Record: Hachimonji no kamae + Santo Tonko

January 28, 2008

Class: Saturday 26th Jan

My first class since Japan we started with the sanshin warm-up, taken from Someya Sensei’s class along with kaiten/ukemi practice. We continued with some ideas this teacher showed us involving shuirken and using hachimonji no kamae with some gyaku from the kihon happo.

We then did the first kata from the Santo Tonko of Togakure ryu looking initially at the take ori/tehodoki release then at some timing aspects within the movement. All the time we played with being free to use shuriken. In the end we looked at Nagato Sensei’s method for throwing a knotted loop with the kyoketsu. I myself didn’t get this during the class in Japan but with a few hours practice since then I’m hitting at least a 1/4 success rate. The trick to it is…… well…… self-discovery really.

Ali Martinez


Class Record: Back from Japan taster

January 25, 2008

Class: Thursday 24th Jan

The class was a jet-lag fueled taster of the outline of a little of what we did in Japan this trip. We saw some of the Santo Tonko no Kata forms but didn’t really thrash them out. We did these in nearly every class over there and so many things were covered. It’s all really kazushi  waza – balance breaking. We also looked  a little bit at Ninpo Bikken but again just a rough view at some of it. Alex mentioned that our training should encompass a spectrum of hard and soft and to me that includes looking at shinken gata as well as ukemi (not just rolls, breakfalls but being a relaxed uke). I suspect our training this year will constantly call for the approach of how to do both and everything in between.

Thought provoker:  You have gotten your training weapons for the year, right?

– Ali Martinez


Normal training resumes this week

January 23, 2008

Well done to the guys for holding the fort while Alex was away. We heard good reports!

Training resumes this Thursday with Alex continuing as normal Mondays and Thursdays next week. My class is on Saturday 3-5pm and will continue with the odd time changing to Sunday’s as suits my schedule. Watch out for the beginners course starting in Feb.

See you on the mats!

 – Ali Martinez


Japan training, January 2008

January 13, 2008


Just a quick note to say that as several senior dojo members are in Japan on a training trip, normal service on the blog will resume next week.

– Alex Meehan


Class Record: Te/tai-hodoki + gyakuwaza + Kakushi Buki

January 8, 2008

Class: Monday 08 Jan

Ninpo taijutsu deals with  escaping from engagement as opposed to last years theme of dealing with an attack directly until it’s nullified. We looked at hand and body escapes, using total body movement and natural gyaku waza. The angles involved allowed us to seek a direction to avoid further attacks and flee the scene. Blind angles were useful here.

With the semban shuriken and shuko we used the idea that low light levels allow us take on an opponent using hiden weapons. There were particular kyusho attacks throughout the class too, but as usual they wern’t relied upon and we were free to adapt as the situation allowed.

Thought provoker: Ever train by candlelight?

– Ali Martinez


Class Record: 1st class of 2008 – tehodoki + keri waza + tanto

January 4, 2008

Hatsu Geiko / Kagami biraki – first training of the year.
 Cnoc Bhréannain, Dingle penninsula, chirtsmas day 2007

Class: Thursday 3rd Jan

Some of the Togakure Ryu Taijutsu involves escaping from grabs so we did some basics of this – tehodoki. We looked at angling, timing, and dis-engagment. As usual our footwork becomes very important here with an emphasis on small steps.

Various ways of kicking came into effect as well. Shidoshi Alan Butler had some ideas on balanced kicking  – essentialy maintaining zanshin through movement in order to counter and be adaptable. I find that kicking is very like throwing –  best done when the opponent is already off balance, which is achieveable in many ways through our footwork, strikes, angling, timing etc. Our kicks should aslo be like our punches.. not necessarily about pain or percussion but effecting structure. In that way we can see that powerful kicks to punchbags and the liek probably aren’t as worth doing as tactical, drills through movement and positioning.

After tea we had a look at coping with sudden knife attacks and how to control the space uke needs to wield the weapon. It’s understood that cut’s are extremely likely to occur so our techniques need to be quick and decisive with minimal “sparring” and a hightened degree of awareness of the consequences of using the knife.

This was the first training of the year so we were all asked to resolve ourselves to dedicated training this year. There were a few senior students  graded last night and recently so congratulations to them too. A great start to the year!

– Ali Martinez