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Sensei seems to have been doing a lot of reflection on his goals as a teacher, lately. Our classes have gone from being a series of 4 to 6 inter-related techniques down to 2 or maybe 3 with a lot of attention to detail, blending, technique. It doesn't feel as physically demanding (although my fitness has come a long way this year, so maybe it's more a function of that), but it's harder too.
Sometimes I feel like a stone with water pouring over it. I get wet, but nothing sinks in. I have to let go of frustration and move slowly, not out-pace my ability to feel uke's balance, to lead and stay close, keep control, move uke around my center.
Cross hand grab. Lead with the fingers, roll palm up (heaven), take uke's balance. Step in close, cut down to center. Roll the ball between the hands as hips turn back across uke's center. Uke falls.
Cross hand grab. Lead with fingers, roll palm up (heaven), take uke's balance. Step in close, cut down to center. Slide in a bit continue the circle, start uke moving THEN tenkon. Spiral uke down to pin with center.
This is what we did for most of the class. Right hand, until we got it at least once, left hand the same, switch. And it was a good class. I learned a lot: that I do know something, that there is a lot I have to master. So much of everything else will fall into place when this becomes smooth.
Maybe, then it's not so bad to be a rock under the waterfall. Maybe I can never hope to be a sponge, just a
So, today started out as walk the dog, but it was so nice out and I really did feel like stretching my legs a bit. The dog walk turned into my workout.
1 mi "interval" training: mostly walk, some: jog, high step, run.
2 sets sit-ups: 15 crunch, 15 left, 15 right, 15 reverse
2 sets 15 45-degree-angle push ups
a bit of tsai subaki and hapkunundo
1 mi walk/jog
Class last night was good. Looks like we have a new student. Practicing yoga yesterday reminded me to be patient with myself, and as I was driving to the dojo, I started thinking and praying about that old catichism question: what is the chief end of man? response: to know God and enjoy Him forever.
Reminded me that the "chief" end of Aikido (for me anyway) is not about rank or even achieving mastery. After all, there's no guarentee that I'll ever "get anywhere" - the old, "you could get hit by a bus tomorrow" thing. The chief end for me is to enjoy the integration of mind and body.
OK, that sounds really aikikai. No offense, Aikikai is an honerable style, but it's not mine. I am studying a "harder" form, and I love the physicality of it; the martial effectiveness brings it on like a force of nature.
swimming: 1K total, in sets of 100 m, free style, cruise
my cruise now is about 3min, so that's about 35 min worth of swimming.
So last night I was senior student, and "demo uke". The swimming has given me enough conditioning to end the class without becoming a mouth-breather. At sea-level. Denver is going to require a bit more, I suspect.
ok, back to the origional purpose of this blog; to keep focused. I promised myself I would post a week of workouts, just to have a benchmark. But I asked myself, can I stay honest and actually DO what I posted. So, I'll post 6 consecutive days, starting with today and use that as a snapshot for my workout records.
am -- strength training with Erica:
free leg press: (45 lbs, 15 reps) x 3
1 leg stand up: (12 each leg) x 2
Nitro incline press: (20 lbs, 12 reps) x3
push ups (knees): 10, pos., 5 negatives
nitro shoulder press: (20 lbs, 12 reps) x3
knee raises: 12 x3
back extension: 15 x2
reverse crunch: 12 x 2
Capture the center, lead low, cut down with extension, but don't give up your center.
I have a feeling this is going to become my mantra...
Ikiyo was familiar (Katatedori Ikkyo omote). Nikkyo (start with Katatedori Ikkyo then shift to nikkyo) felt really strange until I realized I could also do it resting uke's knuckles on my coller, then it was a piece of cake. I guess I had always practiced it that way in years gone by. Kokkyo (uke grabbs one hand with both hands)-- I have to say it is way easier with a jo. Empty handed, I know it's the same, but I have a harder time taking uke's balance.
And the associated pins (excepting Kokkyu, of course). Take out the slack, THEN apply torque from MY center -- DO NOT LEAN OUT OF BALANCE!
Ok, so the good thing about being the only student who shows up for class -- you get to train one-on one with sensei.
The bad thing about being the only student who shows up for class -- you get to train one-on-one with sensei.
You know the saying: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
Huh. I recall the last time I re-started in Aikido after a few years absence I managed to pull my groin muscles the first week or so. This time I thought I'd be smarter and get in some conditioning before I started. Not smart enough I guess. This time it's my left hamstring. (sound of hand smacking forehead) "doh!"
Enough knowledge to have a strong attack and take a fall decently, but not enough to know better and hold back until I'm really back into decent ukemi. It was the forward roll out of a shomenuchi kitenage (spelling?) that did me in.
Oh well. Now I have to go it slow for a couple weeks. I know, I know, ...patience. This is not my forte, so I guess this is a good opportunity to learn more and practice that particular virtue.
On the bright side, I have a new "fashion accessory" -- a brand new neoprene thigh wrap!
First time in a dojo in many years, and I have to say, it felt real good!
I'm back at home now, enjoying a beer and applying ice to both wrists... and grinning like a maniac. BTW, wine bottle chillers are great for wrists.
It's interesting; I'm having trouble with ikiyo (we were practicing katatatori ikiyo), but nikiyo seemed to come back to me much more clearly. I really need to focus on ki direction and capturing uke's center; I focus too much on the externals. Intellectually, I know better; on the mat, I forget.
Kinetic memory is odd,eh?
Forward rolls were not too lumpy, but my back rolls were pathetic. Guess I need to move the furniture in my living room and spend some time rolling around .
I can't wait to get back on the mat. I wonder if I'll have time to go Thursday after my daughter's end of the year band concert...
PS. day after analysis: clearly I need to spend more attention conditioning my getting off the mat muscle groups...
I've noticed an interesting effect of spending 45 min practicing suburi and kengi /bo gi. I feel as if my center has a direct connection to the earth, like I have a gyroscope embedded in me. It fades after an hour or two, but for a while I feel as if no-one could catch me off-center, even while I'm making toast in the kitchen.
Also, I've been doing some reading. I know enough not to study "how-to" manuels -- like i need to teach myself more bad habits. I'll learn techniques from sensei at the dojo. But I do hang out at the used bookstore, and check all my favorite spots regularly -- cooking, SF, martial arts, camping... Found a copy of Aikido for Life, by Gaku Homma and have been thourougly enjoying it. Lots to think about.