hajime geiko

This post originally appeared on my AikiWeb blog…

I’m starting to like hajime geiko. Okay, I can’t say that is my final word on the subject, but I did state previously that I thought it was bad training and prone to re-inforcing errors and causing injuries. That may or may not be true, but I have a more positive view of it now.

To review:

Hajime geiko

  1. All members of the class pair into shite-uke partnerships and stand in kamae.
  2. Sensei calls out a pre-determined technique.
  3. Sensei calls out “hajime” and the technique is performed as fast as possible by the entire class.
  4. When the first shite-uke pair returns to the starting kamae position, sensei calls out “hajime” again and the class performs the technique again.
  5. If you are the first shite-uke pair to finish, you get a half-second rest; otherwise, you starting falling behind and have to perform the technique continuously more and more urgently without rest.
  6. This goes on until sensei calls “yame.” Then shite-uke switch to uke-shite and start again. Then shite-uke switch again and switch to performing out of opposite leg kamae, then switch one last time.
  • Obviously, hajime geiko is extremely tiring as you are getting thrown around and getting down and up off the floor continuously.
  • The point of hajime geiko is supposedly to tire out the body so that the technique doesn’t work with strength and only if shite employs correct posture and controls uke’s center.

how hajime geiko is used in Kyoto Kenshusei program

Daily training involves a conditioning/ukemi class followed by two technique classes. Generally, the technique classes follow the following format:
class 1 – preparatory movements and exercises, demonstration and practice of full technique, sensei’s comments on mistakes, focused mistake-related practice
class 2 – more focused exercises, then practice of full technique, then hajime geiko

We performed shomen uchi yonkajo (yonkyo) osae ni for 23 minutes continuously the other day. Just when I thought my technique was completely fallen apart, I started performing the technique much better. After we were done, Crampton-sensei informed us we are working up to performing hajime geiko continuously for one hour. Wow!

I’m still not convinced about it, but I am much more open to it than previously. And although yonkajo hurt like the dickens when performed over and over again by a tired partner, I wasn’t scared of it the way I was with shihonage.