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Jeff Hepner's Blog Blog Tools Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 11-11-2004 06:05 AM
Jeff Hepner
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 32 (Private: 1)
Comments: 2
Views: 64,453

In General Aiki-Doodle-Dandy Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #2 New 08-05-2004 11:04 AM
Aiki-Log -- Class #1
Wednesday, August 4, 2004 -- 7:30pm

"I'm an Aiki-Doodle-Dandy, an Aiki-Doodle do or dieů."

If you don't hear Yankee-Doodle music when you read that, you probably won't get the regional humor. This might help, but I doubt it: http://www.contemplator.com/america/ydoodle.html


I've forgotten how much fun it is to dislocate a toe on my left foot, get mat burns on the top of my right foot (both before class), and then have to bow out of class to run to the bathroom in hopes of not puking in front of everyone (ukemi and motion sickness don't mix).


I got there early and started stretching. Patrick showed up and started laying out the mats. He's got a brown belt -- is getting married on Friday -- and his parents were there to take pictures (probably to use at the reception). I helped with the mats and got my first workout.

I was winded! I'm sooo out of shape!

Sensei showed up just as we were finishing with the mats. He helped me remember how to do ukemi -- "Let's remind your body of what it already knows."

My backward break falls were OKů but:
I wasn't getting my hips up off the mat well enough.
I was slapping too early.

My forward rolls were OKů but:
I was slapping the mat too late (I was leading with both hands, forgetting to put my trailing hand behind me)
My left-side roll kept going on an angle (I needed to pick my line and stick to it)
On my right-side roll I wasn't pointing my toes on my back foot.
I wasn't focusing on recovering from the role into a strong kamae.

My backward rolls were OKů but:
On my left-side roll I stuck out the wrong arm, did a cross-step back and brought my right leg over first (sounds like a right-side roll, doesn't it?) DUH!

It's amazing how much you remember / forget in 14 years.

I fixed everything pretty quickly. I still need work, but it got a lot better right away. I proved to myself that I was pointing my toes when I got the mat burn on the top of my right foot. Then I came up once with my left toes curled under and heard "snap-crackle-pop". I'm limping today and the toe next to my pinky-toe is an interesting size and color. I think I over-extended the knuckle (closest to the toe nail) in a downward direction.

Sensei and I decided that I should be 7th kyu since I passed 3 tests and I'd be 7th kyu in this dojo. I'm glad I know my starting rank. I need goals to work for and knowing what techniques I need to "get under my belt" helps a lot. We discussed my belt (I wore my white one) and decided a size 6 would be a better choice. My size 5 only has about 4 or 5 inches hanging out of the knot. He's ordering me an orange belt with one white stripe.

Norbert wasn't there last night so I couldn't have him check out my weapons for excessive dryness. He'll be there tonight, though.


Our class starts with the "ritual" of washing the mat. I call it Washi-Waza, but I think they call it something else. I'll find out tonight.

Next, a white-belt was awarded her yellow belt with one white stripe. Clap, Clap.

I did fairly well with the warm-ups. I didn't try too hard to keep up on the backward break falls (with and without hitting). I still have a gut to work around and it slows me down. I skipped a few (maybe 5 total) but otherwise I did everything else.

I did have a problem remembering some of the details of Elbow Power #2. Sensei helped me and I got it put together just as we did the last one.

By this time I was winded again. I'm sooo out of shape!


I was last in line, and I did about 5 rolls to get around the mat. We did backward, then forward. Sensei called seiza.

By this time I was really winded, overheated, dizzy and nauseous. I'm sooo out of shape!

I hung in just long enough for him to start explaining the first technique. I bowed, ran to the edge of the mat, bowed again and staggered to the bathroom. During seiza in front of the toilet I debated if it would be better to get it over with or see if I could keep everything down. Meditation and deep breathing go a long way.

I got a drink of water and went back to class, but had to watch from the sidelines. I have fairly severe motion sickness and when I get queasy I'm done. I can handle dizziness, but not queasiness. I can't function until it passes and that usually takes 45 minutes to 4 hours, depending on how bad it is. Since we were already 30 minutes into our 75-minute class, I resigned myself to just watch.


I recognized the first technique immediately. If Sensei stated the name of the technique, I missed it. I was probably chatting with the porcelain princess at the time.

Both uke and shite (pronounced SHtay -- roughly equals Nage) are in right kamae. Uke grabs with their right hand toward shite's chest. Shite performs a counter-clockwise 95-degree pivot and blocks uke's hand (supporting from below) with wrist-to-wrist. Shite pivots back to front while raising uke's hand, bending uke's elbow with the left hand and trying to introduce it to uke's right eye. Crank, elbow lock, zig (uke goes down on right knee), zag-zig (uke is one with the mat), left knee down into uke's right armpit. Spread your knees, pin.

That was the very first technique I learned 14 years ago!

Sensei varied part of the take down by using knuckles (middle set, not punching) on the tendons of the elbow during the last zig (45-degree cross step). I've never seen knuckles used in Aikido (has anyone else?) Sensei said his Jiu Jitsu background comes out in class.

Another variation modified the pin by having shite's left knee land on top of uke's shoulder instead of in the armpit. Uke's forearm was supported by shite's right thigh. Grab uke's chin with the left hand and put it and uke's right wrist in the direction of your head (you don't get that far, only about 2 or 3 inches before uke either slaps out or dies). Once again, chin grabs are new to me.

A final variation on the pin had uke's right hand up against shite's left shoulder with shite kneeling at 90-degrees to uke. Shite presses both palms down (on top of each other) near the outside edge of uke's shoulder blade in the shoulder joint.

We finished up with a few students doing minor randori using techniques from their upcoming tests. Yellow, brown and black belts. The black belt (his name begins with an R -- I'll get it tonight) has been practicing for over 30 years and was wonderful to watch. He was the center, uke was doing all the work. He was also the sempai instructor for a middle-aged first-timer who, I think, has a background in some other martial art. I think he'll be back tonight.

I joined the lineup and we dismissed.

Sensei Aiki-Staged some posed techniques with Patrick so his parents could get about 10 good pictures.


1. I'm not sure if I should do Watchi-Waza for tonight's class. I'll have to wait and see how my toe feels.
2. I'm not nearly as sore today as I was after my brush-with-death class a few months back.
3. I think I like having Jiu Jitsu components used in Aikido techniques. I'm very interested in effective, practical technique. I think it's compatible without changing the underlying philosophy.
4. I'll be taking Dramamine before class to help with the ukemi-induced nausea. After learning to deal with the dizziness perhaps I won't need Dramamine anymore.
5. Chris (7th kyu) and I spoke at length after class. We're both interested in getting together on Sunday afternoons to do informal practice. He and another 7th kyu we discussing that very thing just last week. We just need to find out if the facility is available for our use.
6. I'm glad to be back. I really missed it!

More tomorrow about tonight's class

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