Since launching Ikazuchi Dojo Online, we’ve received great feedback from our community. One thing we’ve discovered is that many Ikazuchi Dojo students and practitioners in our extended community want more exposure to our research efforts and special projects.
After careful reflection on the best way to provide visibility into our research, experimentation, and projects, we decided to build The Lab. The Lab won’t contain instructional content, but will document some of our “behind the scenes” efforts and activities.
We wanted to take the time to outline our thinking behind The Lab, share our hopes of what it will accomplish, and highlight some of the concerns we had before launching this new collection of content.
Introducing The Lab
The Lab is a new video collection housed within our streaming video service. It will include videos, stories, and analysis of our research efforts and special projects. To ensure everyone has some level of exposure to this information, public blog posts (with embedded short video segments) of our efforts will be posted on our website.
A Knowledge Exchange Platform
We’re fortunate enough to have access to some of the world’s best martial artists and thought leaders in a range of related fields. We want to be able to share with our community not only our fully synthesized conclusions and findings, but also some of our raw research material.
With people reading our blog and watching our videos from over 100 countries, we realize that not everyone has the ability to access the same kind of resources we can. By publishing out some of our raw research material, we hope to provide senior level martial artists with access to information they otherwise won’t be able to get. In the right hands, this information can expand horizons and provide insight and inspiration. Our hope is that experienced leaders in the martial arts world will gain benefit from this material and be able to bring us back new ideas, approaches, and conclusions that we can then feed back into our extended community.
We Want to Share the Cool Stuff
Ikazuchi Dojo is a traditional aikido school. All of our classes are held with strict etiquette in a structured format. However, there’s a great deal of interesting activity that happens at the dojo outside of those classes. We want a venue to share some of the special moments, surprising insights, and informal exchange that happen “behind the scenes”. The Lab allows us to do so with our extended international community, as well as even our own dojo students who may not otherwise have the chance to be involved in these opportunities.
Content in The Lab is research and experimentation that has not been vetted, tested, or refined. Some of it may be chaotic, confusing, inefficient, full of mistakes, and even potentially dangerous. Over time, some of our research will be distilled into elements that are seeded into our curriculum. Other efforts may turn into new programs or products. A great deal of it will be discarded, dismissed, or set aside to revisit in the future.
While exposure to the content in The Lab has the potential to benefit everyone, it can also be used incorrectly and produce negative results. I’m cautioning mudansha (pre-black belt) students at Ikazuchi Dojo not to become distracted by access to this content. Students at our dojo on the path towards shodan (black belt) will be best served by allocating their focus and training efforts towards development of Aikido basics within the framework of our standard curriculum. We hope these students draw insights and inspiration from the content but we don’t want them limiting their development by dedicating training time towards exploratory items in The Lab at the cost of neglecting focus on the fundamentals. They could end up investing time in wasted or low-yield training or even risk injury.
In the end, we thought it was worth launching The Lab. We’re confident that our viewers will exercise proper judgement and maximize their benefit from access to this material.
We’ve launched with a set of four videos and will expand the content over time. Current videos include:
- Introduction to Knife Flow Drills: Dr. Mark Cheng, a seasoned martial artist and contributing editor for Black Belt Magazine, gives a primer on the nature and value of knife flow drills used in Kali systems. Josh shares his thinking on an important gap in our knife training methods (relative to sword and jo practice) and how knife flow drills can serve to improve our Aikido-based knife defenses over the long term.
- Kali Knife Flow Drill (1&2): Mark Cheng shares a drill from Filipino martial arts called the “Palusot flow.” In this drill, one partner uses a standard knife grip (Heaven) and the other uses an inverted / icepick grip (Earth). Through the course of the instruction, Mark highlights vital targets to attack and protect, bringing us a new level of education and awareness of knife attacks. Many of the attack vectors used will be completely new to Aikido practitioners.
- Tsuki Sayunage Variation: Chris Jones, the “Mad Scientist” of our instructor team, shares a new training method and technical variation of our sayunage throw. He pairs the standard ukenagashi deflection with a simultaneous atemi with the secondary hand. It’s an interesting variation that Matsuoka Sensei thinks is worth exploration.
- Coming soon: In the near future we plan on adding content related to a motion capture initiative (Project Orion), more knife education with Mark Cheng and the legendary Jeff Imada, and brainstorming and experimentation related to aikido techniques and training methods with Matsuoka Sensei and our team of instructors.
We look forward to getting the community’s feedback on The Lab. We hope members of our tribe can learn from our research efforts and bring us new insights that in turn can be shared with our wider community.