Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hakko Denshin Ryu; A Gifted Instructor

I would like to revisit, briefly, the training I did in Hakko Denshin Ryu during my two week hiatus to the States at the beginning of August. This entry does not focus so much on the art of Hakko Denshin Ryu, but rather seeks to showcase the teaching style of my Sensei, Matt Pinard. Matt was kind enough to allow me to record a couple short videos during our last training session. The links I have put up are not intended to explain these particular waza.

Since the beginning of January—and until the end of March when I returned to Japan—our Hakko Denshin Ryu club consisted of three regular members plus our sensei. Having such a small group is ideal for learning the art quickly and, in truth, our sensei marveled at the speed with which we learned our shodan waza. Though Matt Pinard attributed our progression to our deep interest in the art, the truth is that Pinard Sensei is a very gifted instructor. His clear explanations combined with the humble attitude he adopts while instructing make an otherwise painful art enjoyable. More than anything, it’s the enthusiasm Pinard Sensei brings to the dojo that is contagious.

Pinard Sensei never hesitates to take ukemi himself. In this manner, he can feel both the pressure and angle of the technique and instruct accordingly. In this video:
Matt instructing wile I apply wrist lock and throw
The initial wrist lock is something Sensei and I worked on during the beginning of the class. In this video, however, we proceed to a throw. From the wrist lock, I pull Sensei’s elbow (holding the sleeve) to my chest and apply pressure to the back of the hand, forcing Sensei’s wrist to bend painfully inward. This is refered to as konoha. Then, again holding the sleeve, I lift the elbow high and, as though dumping a tray, tip the arm and throw Sensei to the ground.
Sensei shows definite enthusiasm as both joint locks and pressure points are applied. AS you can see in the video, “Nice! Nice!” means it hurts like hell. Nevertheless, I hold a very high respect for a Sensei who will actively participate in class and take ukemi for his students.

In this second video:
Matt demonstrating Third-Dan te-kagame from seated and standing
Sensei explains the origin of te-kagame (hand-mirror) as it appears in a henka-or series of moving techniques—we were learning. In the established series of waza, the te-kagame technique we were practicing appears as a third-degree, seated technique. Sensei explains both the seated technique and then applies it standing.

What I would like to further point out, in this video, is the stress Sensei puts on my understanding of the correct movements. Notice how he makes sure I have felt the movement of the elbow, insisting that I use my free hand to follow his movements. Pinard Sensei is extremely gifted when it comes to teaching in this manner.

One of my greatest frustrations when learning new techniques—or even reviewing techniques I have already learned—in any art is the fact I must wait for the Sensei to explain the technique and then rely on another student to transmit that technique to me as best they can. Pinard Sensei, however, almost always uses me as Uke while teaching. Though this can become quite painful, I find this to be both an honor and a sign of respect from the Sensei. On those occasions where Pinard Sensei does not use me directly as his Uke, he makes a point to explain the technique to me immediately afterwards. I believe, more than anything, this is the reason I have been able to progress rapidly in the art of Hakko Denshin Ryu.

No comments:

Post a Comment