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I was fortunate to be able to make two days of the Crawford Sensei seminar hosted by my friends from Great Valley Aikido at Aikido of West Reading this past weekend. I trained one Friday night last year with them, and watched the Sunday morning class.
This year my body was cooperating, so I got to spend both Friday night and Saturday on the mat. By the end of the day Saturday, I was definately ready for a break (I haven't been training much recently). The training was good, the partners were varied and good...men, women, experienced, not experienced, big and strong, small...a good cross section of training partners.
I like her seminars, and her focus on the quality of movement. I had an opportunity to test some of the things I've been working on, while learning some new things (her waza has a different quality to it than that which I'm used to). I really like the firm, connected feeling of her students, and it was good to feel them a year after the first experience. I picked up some exercises I'm going to keep working on, especially the slow back roll to prone, then back to standing. A real workout for the core when done correctly.
If she's in town again, I highly recommend stopping by and training.
Trained twice last week, once at AKI in North Wales, once at Great Valley Aikido in Downingtown. Both times were really nice. I didn't realize just how much I missed the people at both dojo.
I've been back down to the Doshinkan a couple of times as well, should be there on Wed. this week.
Training with Eric M. was a blast! He always sharpens my focus. It was good seeing everyone and especially Utada Sensei. I need to make more of an effort to be there regularly, now that the job situation is settling down. VzB is going well, I'm getting used to the tools and the new stuff for the routers.
Hopefully things keep going well... Lee Crawford seminar at West Reading this weekend. We'll see how the bod holds up. Especially my stupid neck! so far...so good. Hope to take Friday off to make training 2 to 3 days a little easier. I may not make Sunday though, need some time to spend with M as well.
Great training Saturday starting at Sumei, ending at Eibukan. Dwayne Bolt had his anniversary, and it was really good seeing him teach. Never was in a class of his before. He has some really subtle things going on, and I like the way he encourages his students to attack, the frame work of the class, and the way he relates things. He is also not afraid to miss a waza, and just keep working until it comes out the way he wants.
He picked up something from Gleason's seminar and reviewed that; the idea of hips going one way, hands another. VERY usefull on some waza, especially ayate mochi / kosa dori. I still need to work more on the subtle balance break for iriminage after the entry. Open the heart, send in opposite directions.
Wed. at the Doshinkan. We worked a lot of basic movements with partner. Before class I worked with another yudansha pushing on me, with me grounding and trying to bring the ground to my hands. I was able to sustain with a really strong push from him, even when I asked him to go to a really hard push. This was a very straight line push, not with a lot of adjusting to find my weak lines. I used the type of stance Dan / Akuzawa / Mike showed more than a Yoshinkan stance, but then played with sourcing the ground from the front foot and weighting there as well. Moving back and forth between front weight and back weight was very interesting...I think I will try to do more of that in the future with a good push. I also got a very stong mudansha to push after class; he automatically adjusts his push to find any gaps or angles where I am weak, so it's much harder with him. He can switch the push faster than I can ground it.
[NOTE] I was doing much the same exercise at another dojo with someone who decided to switch from push to pull suddenly. Once I knew that he was going to play that, I was able to let him switch back and forth...with the result being in a throw everytime he switched, if I was sensitive to feel what has happening. Basically, if he was pushing and went to a pull, switching to the obi as the focus point and doing an "open" brought him into me and kicked his legs up in the air. Doing a pull, with my focus on the back of the obi, when he switched to a push, I d
I have been trying to continue to push the "squatting" while relaxing my lower back, trying to find this new idea of structure. It is difficult, but I can feel my body changing! Trained for 2 hours Sat. in Exton, and while the keiko was powerfull and great, I was a little tweeked afterward. So when I got home to M's I kind of crashed on the couch after eating. But then I tried working ten chi jin, the rowing exercise, some breathing, shiko. Energy level shot through the roof!
I was tired Sunday, but not sore...did about an hour at my parent's house moving stuff into the crawl space.
Monday...no issues. Working the postures while standing, sitting, moving around (trying not to let others see) is extremely fruitfull. I am coming to the conclusion that I have to just keep letting these postures increase naturally, without forcing too much. As they seem to take over and happen on their own, the power and connection steps up.
Well, the last time a friend came into town that I train with from time to time, I had just come back from meeting Dan Harden. I tried to explain what I felt from Dan, and to replicate some of the things he had taught. Not much success.
This friend and I get together about twice a year with some local guys I know...one of which I have trained with for many years. He did aikido with me for maybe 10 or 11 years, and now does mostly tai chi. He and I went to Mike Sigman's seminar together, and we've been comparing notes, and trying to work some of the exercises. I've also been working some of Akuzawa Sensei's exercises, which I may have a better handle on since going to the seminar in Seattle.
Anyhow, it used to be when I got together with these guys, I got pushed all over the place. I just couldn't relax properly, my back was stiff, I wasn't used to the format, and I was a klutz. Last night, for the first time, I kind of held my own...enough to give them a decent workout anyway, and I actually got a few good solid grounded pushes in of my own!
I've been working the standing exercises, shikko, the breathing exercises, and trying to straigten out my posture. Really focusing on relaxing the lower back. Apparently, the effort is beginning to pay off.
This will be in a series of blog posts, please forgive.
This past weekend I was fortunate to spend two days trying to get a handle on something that has been kicked around in martial art circles for many eons…and yes, you guessed it…it's that dreaded KI word! Mike Sigman, a long time proponent of statements like "no jin, no Taiji", was kind enough to brave the criticisms of some pretty experienced martial artists, some of them no nonsense military types, and actually show what I've long been reading about on the ‘Net. This is going to be a tough review to write, because I have little to no familiarity with authentic Chinese arts, and because this review will also deal with some much larger issues.
It should be made clear that Mike's workshop was targeted toward an Aikido audience. Most (if not all) people attending are in Aikido or closely related arts. I actually would be especially interested in hearing from participants who disagree with my take on the skills displayed and their usefulness in Aikido. I believe that the skills Mike displayed and trained us in are crucial to our art, and that a great deal of the issues people have with Aikido are the result of a lack of exposure of people like myself to a solid understanding of at least some of the basics of using ki / aiki / kokyu in our training.
This is not a simple area for discussion. There are many political, organizational, and ego related issues surrounding this topic, and there are also many peopl
Oi, I am so tired of the bickering on the internal stuff on the net. As a result, I will be starting my blog again.
I really appreciate Jun's hosting of this site, but at some point, I have to close off the bickering because I simply have no time for it. I have too many family and work commitments to waste time trying to convert people who aren't interested in going out and getting hands on experience with the folks who have made the nitty gritty details of this exploration what they do.
Bottom line...if you are interested in what I write, and would like to comment, please feel free. If you have hard questions, that's fine too. If you want me to prove what I'm trying to learn, in any fashion, show up on a mat, and train. Better yet, go see some of the people I will discuss, and get it from someone who is much further down the road than I am.
Utada Sensei asked me, "did you have a lot of coffee this morning?" I smiled and said, some, but the yoga is really helping a lot. And it is. My body feels better than it has in a long while, which is kind of funny, since I really stink at yoga. In spite of that, making the effort has produced great results! Less pain during and after training, greater ability to do the movements without undue stress on the body, able to go slow, medium and fast with similar results, better able to take strong ukemi...I don't think I could have found anything better to yield results from something I do formally once a week for an hour. Now I have to really try to start doing what little I have learned for about 15 minutes to half an hour every day, along with basic movements.
Shihonage is the basic techinique this month. Wednesday was great, Saturday even better.
Review of a Keiko with Patricia Guerri Sensei
6th Dan under Morihiro Saito Sensei
Holder of 5 Mokuroku of Aiki Buki
While I was in Paris for 10 days, I had the pleasure of training one night with Guerri Sensei and her students at the Asahi dojo of the Aiki Bukikai. I have only trained once before with a school affiliated with Iwama Aikido, and the experience in that case was very mixed. While the Aikido I saw then was strong, the lack of control of the instructor and his attitude toward and badmouthing of other styles and instructors left a bad taste in my mouth. I later discovered that that school's connection to Iwama was somewhat tenuous, and not something to be taken as representative. In spite of the fact that Philadelphia has a wide variety of Aikido styles, Iwama is not well represented in the area. People should keep in mind that I was very new to Aikido then, and view my judgment accordingly. So when I learned I was going to France, and I knew that Europe is a hotbed for Iwama training well connected to both Saito Sr. and his son, I decided that the opportunity was not to be missed.
In my search for a place to train, Nicolas Delalondre and Olivier Ledru on www.aikiweb.com recommended the Asahi dojo. I had read about Guerri Sensei on www.aikidojournal.com, as well. One of the posters there was wondering why she was not more well known. Guerri Sensei mentioned that she had run a public dojo for sometime, but got frustrated with always trying to soli