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Class this week has been heavily influenced by the Kirisawa seminar a few folks attended last weekend. It's been good training as it deviates a bit from our usual approaches in that it is a bit more indirect, doing things like taking uke's energy directly to the floor to unbalance with no joint lock or other coercion.
Also notable this week was learning a new breakfall using ushiro mae ukemi to fall out of ryotetori tenchinage. Once I started practicing these ushiro mae ukemi breakfalls, opportunities to use them seem to be popping up out of tons of techniques, like irimi and sumiotosh.
Inevitably questions have arisen out of this about how 'real' it all is. I.e. the falls take time to do... Could you ever really be relaxed enough to take them in real life without having your neck broken?
Adiscussion last week in Aikido-L really caught my attention, and I've been thinking a lot about it. The initial article ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=00010347-101C-14C1-8F9E83414B7F4945&pageNumber=1&catID=2 ) really struck home to me about practice and what is required to become an expert. I feel like it is especially timely with me currently trying to change my practice a bit. It reinforced that I need to think in class about what it is I'm trying to accomplish.
I got the message from Sensei this week that it was time for me to start working seriously on sensitivity. I was so enjoying 2nd kyu-ness too
Sensei also commented that perhaps I should keep a journal, hence my return to writing. Hopefully I can make the time for this at more than a twice a year rate.
My thoughts on the whole sensitivity thing are very mixed... Sensei thinks a lot of it is my previous TKD training, having too much 'jerk' and muscle in my techniques instead of going with the flow and maintaining fluidity. I found my reactions to this interesting. First was the hackles rising, I have not been hurting anyone to my knowledge. But I know that he is right, and that a lot of techniques are not working as well as they could because of my blending with uke. So far in my Aikido training ukemi has come much easier than nage-waza. Part of that I think is due to the fact that I have worked harder on ukemi than nage waza.
So this week I have a week off due to work travel. Hopefully this will give me some distance and contemplation time. 1st kyu test in only 5-6 months, I need to make some progress in this area before then. As Sensei said, the question is not 'whether' to do this, the question is 'how'.
Tuesday night I visited a dojo while out of town on business. They practice Iwama style, which as the instructor explained at the start of class is an old friend of Yoshinkan. Apparently the founders dojos used to visit each other on a yearly basis. The style is supposed to be on the "hard" end of the scale, like Yoshinkan.
The night was dedicated to Katatori techniques and for the most part I was fairly comfortable with at least the naming. Some of the interesting differences were things like an emphasis on "live hands" and the fact that their takedowns were a bit more direct than ours. For instance with an ikkyo type move, after the initial movement where you take the opponents hand/arm and turn it over, they kind of turn the hips towards the front foot that you stepped with (away from the oppenent) to break the balance, then do a single step with the inside leg into the opponent and do the takedown at that point instead of taking the extra step away again like we would.
The instructor also talked about irimi a bit and doing it directly as an option. I.e. from what I typically do, the most direct is to kaiten, then turn to face the other way and step through. He was saying that an even more direct way is just to step in and skip the kaiten all together.
I noticed a (to me) larger emphasis on hand movement than what I am used to. No break falls all night, the single black belt in class commented to me "You are used to break falling aren't you?" no clue h
Atlanta Center for Zen & the Arts - Aikido Association Atlanta - Kyushinkan Dojo
I stopped by here while in the Atlanta area for work this week.
The Dojo is a member of AAA out of Chicago, affiliated with Hombu they apparently have some ASU, Ki and Jujitsu roots as well. There were some interesting variations and differences from things that we do. Sensei Paul Domanski, IV Dan taught both classes.
Footwork drills had lots of rowing + variations, including some 8 directional stuff similar to the basic Bokken kata, rowing is still a bit confusing for me
Mai-Yoko ukemi was like breakfall then roll to stomach, VERY different from what we do.
Wrist warmup was Katatori attack, followed by ikkyo to nikyo to sankyo, done slowly as a stretch
Yokomenuchi attacks were stopped higher, like at head/shoulder level, seemed like no follow through for energy flow, you had to take the hand/arm higher as nage and pull it through.
Techniques I remember through the night included:
Hamni-Handach Katatori Sankyo
Hamni-Handach Katatatori Kotagaishi
Ushiro tekubitori Kotagaishi (slightly different hand and body motion than I remember from 5th Kyu, though I probably just did not pick up on the details at the time)
Yokomenuchi Shihonage (I saw several people here do this with much more of a hand extended bring uki's arm around in more of a horizontal 180 arc, was kind of cool, looked a little more flowing than what I was used to doing myself, I need to work on Sh
Helped demo for this today, it was an interesting experience. The actual techniques I did for my 1 minute are a blur. The more interesting part was watching all the other demos. It was my first exposure to really seeing a lot of other schools do their Aikido.
Also seeing the Yoshikan Dojo brought out a lot of reflections on training at larger schools vs smaller schools, when I saw all those people on the mat at once. Utada Sensei was quite interesting to watch. I was struck at one point by the subtlelty of his movement when he evaded an attack. I felt kind of like I was watching a stage magician and that I should have been watching him more instead of the action, because he was there, then suddenly not there... All in all an interesting afternoon.
Interesting seminar. I was especially fascinated with her iriminage. She corkscrews them down almost to the floor, then does the most vigorous throw at the reversal I have ever seen. People doing ushiro mai yoko breakfalls out of iriminage were impressive.
On a personal note, I'm going through a "beaten-up phase" Multiple injuries (hip, wrist) and then yesterday while running, I seem to be having problems with my heel on one foot... I need to remember to appreciate the weeks when I am in full health better.
This week has really focused on being connected to nage for me. I had several revelations about exercises we did and the proper way to do them.
The first one was where you push nage from behind and they go down to one knee, and you roll over the forward knee/shoulder of nage. I was pushing then letting go. Sensei explained to me that the exercise was to stay connected to nage, feel what he was doing. OMG, light bulb moment #1.
The other was doing basic hip randori, where uke comes at nage with arms about shoulder height and width, and nage kaitens, throwing uke the direction they were going. I have been whacking nage in the head for a long time, and never sure why. Sensei explained that I needed to maintain shoulder contact with that back hand, staying connected and feeling where I was being thrown. Light bulb #2 for the week.
2 light bulbs in a week is really a pretty good week for me.
We had a pretty much all ukemi night tuesday of this week. We did a rolling exercise from seiza that made me realize I really need to work on one side; I'm not nearly as flexible on the right as I am on the left.
I'm not really sure how much time I'll have to keep up a journal, but I'm finding I want to keep track of things I learn/realize as I progress. Sooo...
I'm Berney Fulcher. I started Aikido in March of 2004, I was 42 then. I go to Asahi Dojo in Collegeville, PA, Senseis Mike and Pam Aloia.
I come from a TKD background, so much of this is really new to me. I remember coming in thinking I knew how to fall and roll, but then really stressing my muscles when it came time to do it from the kinds of throws that we were doing in Aikido.
I'm presently 5th Kyu, I tested May 25th. Comments returned from the test were:
1. stay centered
2. try and let the techniques flow- do not push thru them. pushing thru means we are using strength not energy of center.
3. remember your stances. yes it is traditional but it gives us a sense of balance and groundedness(if that is a word: ) )
in time your stance will become a part of you as they are in tae kwon do
4. control your breathing- breath in on the entry and out on the execution
5. stay relaxed and pace yourself. it really is not speed but timing.
1 and 3 I definitely didn't understand what the heck he was talking about. In the months since I know my stances are better, and I feel like I am starting to understand center, though I am sure center is going to be a concept that evolves over time.
We are a new school, currently I seem to be the senior student coming regularly (scary thought). Membership is fluctuating