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Well, my husband and I were late to class last night. My husband worked until 6 and class starts at 6:30 which doesn't seem to be a problem, but we usually leave the house at 5:45 in order to get there and change to be on time for class. Living so far away from a dojo really is a pain in some aspects. We might actually train more then 4 days a week if it weren't for the 20 plus miles each way to the dojo. We arrived at the dojo and it was pretty hot inside. It got up to 109 degrees Fahrenheit here yesterday. Heat schmeat right? Train I say!
I was surprised when I looked around and only saw our sempai teaching and one other student (also a sempai and is a 5th kyu). That made three students for the second night in a row. I wonder if the number 3 has a significant meaning in my life right now. If it does, I haven't noticed it yet.
After warming up and stretching out, sempai had us grab a bokken and work on nikkyo from ai hanmi. I really like this technique. One person begins to draw the bokken and the other person stops them by grabbing their wrist and pushing (you are trying to prevent from being cut down with what is supposed to be a live blade after all!). The other person then steps to the side to create a small "doorway" and then does nikyo with the tsuka of the bokken. Once you got your uke down to the ground, then your push the tsuka towards uke's face in order to get them to want to roll backwards (unless they really enjoy getting hit in the face, then they may remain I suppose)
Once that was done, sempai had us do the same thing, but without the bokken. In order to keep uke's hand on yours before applying nikyo, we simply put our other hand on top of theirs to prevent them from just letting go. I worked with sempai on this one and there are a few things that I need to remember, which will be mentioned at the end of this entry.
Next on our list was ai hanmi ikkyo (both omote and ura variations). First sempai had us do the static variations for this. Once we seemed to have this down for the most part, he wanted us to be active and move around. For this, one person was in the middle and the other two would take turns attacking. You could do whatever variation you wanted, but after you had to get rid of uke and prepare for the other attack. This was interesting because you didn't have time for a complete take down and you had to be aware of your surroundings so you didn't throw uke into someone or the wall. This would be a good technique if you weren't on friendly terms with your attackers though.
We also worked on ai hanmi ikkyo with the uchi kaiten variation (not positive if that is what it was called). You got your uke into the ikkyo position and then you step backwards and pull uke down and forward to the mat. This technique was a bit of a pain for me. I just couldn't get my weight right and ended up leaving behind one thing or another. I did get it right a couple times and when I did I just felt like it was right. I guess over time those moments will get more and more frequent… or at least that is what I am hoping!
Sempai decided that once we did that, we would work on yonkyo (omote and ura)! Now I enjoy this technique, but I just can't seem to get this. In fact, it seemed like the other two guys picked up on it rather quickly (granted the one guy has been there longer and my husband used to do aikido). Me, I struggled and struggled and just kept squeezing the life out of my poor uke's wrist. HAHA. I did manage to get it once while attempting to do the ura variation. I say attempt because I was so happy that I actually got yonkyo that I didn't even finish the technique. I believe part of my problem is my tiny hands and dealing with big man wrists, but I also account my struggles with just not doing this technique enough to learn the proper placement for both hands. Again, I am hoping this will get better over time. I told my husband we would have to practice this one at home since I sincerely suck at it.
Things to fix:
1.) For nikyo, cut towards uke's center (otherwise it doesn't really work)
2.) For nikyo, don't just cut straight down. Instead, think of cutting over and around uke's wrist. This is MUCH more effective
3.) Remember to work inside the "box" and don't venture too far out from your body. Keep things subtle & close to the body
4.) For ura, remember to step to the outside of uke's body… you don't want to be inside! It seems this is some strange habit that I just can't shake.
5.) For ura with ikkyo, do not step back. Instead, sink back and once your opponent follows you, then go forward and step behind.
6.) For uchi kaiten from ikkyo, don't pull with your arms and don't step back and leave your torso behind.. Step and bring your entire body with you!
Pains & Injuries:
1.) Sore hamstrings (not sure why and it may not even be related to aikido)
2.) Nikyo and yonkyo bruises (a natural and earth friendly way to get a bracelet!)
3.) Still have that stupid mat burn on my ankle….
4.) Still VERY tired…..
Once that was over with, we started iaido class. No surprise here, but there were again three students (me, my husband and another student who only trains in iaido). We did several different kata tonight and a few of them I had never done before. We worked on Iwanami, Ukifune gaeshi, Noarashi gaeshi, Utsusemi, Matsukaze, Zangetsu hidari, Zangetsu migi, Raito gaeshi and finished things off with Batto of course. I didn't do terribly bad on the kata that I actually knew and felt comfortable with. Everything after Utsusemi were things I have either done once or haven't done at all.
Things to fix:
1.) Keep your blade active even when you are bringing it back over your head (that way you can attack at any time)
2.) Make sure to look to the left or right side before you cut in that direction
3.) Work on remaining balanced in Utsusemi when doing the first strike to the rear
4.) When doing the "paper cut" method of chiburi, make sure to keep your wrist strong and take the entire blade to the side. Do not leave the tip behind at your center