Howard Popkin, Joe Brogna and Dimitri Deglas Daito Ryu Seminar 9/19/15 – 9/20/15
Sensei Howard Popkin and Sensei Joe Brogna from Daito Ryu Akijutsu Ginjukai came to Shindai Aikikai in Orlando for a weekend Daito Ryu seminar. Sensei Dimitri Deglas was present too. He teaches at Shindai. Dennis, a Daito Ryu instructor from Jacksonville, was also there teaching. Forgive me, but I can’t remember his last name. Bad huh? I remember his technique and teaching though.
Lots of the same faces were present. Many thanks to our martial brethren at Shindai for hosting the event. They have a very nice dojo and are good folks.
There was one major theme for the weekend and it was this: HPFF (head past f%$#$ foot). This is akin to what my old judo teacher used to tell me; the body follows the head. HPFF is more focused than that, but the concept is the same.
In practice, the idea is to move your opponent so that his head is vectored such that it is past his foot. This produces kuzuchi. Makes sense right?
We worked HPFF from many different angles and techniques. In a basic example, to help visualize it, we did it from a same side wrist grab where you let the grab happen. You then move your opponent’s hand past his legs so that his head is positioned in that spot over past his shoulder and behind him. It’s a sublime move with great impact.
We worked on another move where you catch your opponent’s hand as if he is striking you with an open hand, like a slap. You accept it only slightly in order to suck your opponent in, taking his center and balance. You then move back in the same direction yet underneath to the oncoming energy. Its surprisingly disabling and workable from about any angle or technique. Think aiki agi aiki sage.
There were a lot more techniques that we worked on. But this seminar seemed to hit a new, higher level in that it was all about accessing aiki. And that’s a hard thing to do. I hit it a couple of times, but I need lots more practice. I want to have it just happen in all my martial moves. Well, more really, all my moves, martial or otherwise.
At the end of the seminar, one guy asked a question about moving your hips and generating power from them. To my surprise, Sensei Popkin said that in Daito Ryu, you don’t move your hips; you don’t use them to generate power. He did clarify that your hips obviously move since moving your body will make that happen. But you don’t move your hips to generate power how you would in karate for instance, when you are punching or kicking.
As usual, it was great watching and being taught by Sensei Howie and Sensei Joe. I am always amazed at how easy they make it look.