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Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 10:53 PM
jducusin
Offline
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One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 272 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 264,870

In Humor Welcome to Mushin Ryu Aikido Dojo Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #272 New 05-14-2012 11:25 AM
There's something odd about the instructor's voice, but he can't quite put his finger on it. The guy sounded perfectly normal on the phone.

Joe tries not to fidget on the wooden bench and looks around. At the front of the room there's a picture of an old, bald, Asian man with a long beard. The man seems to be staring past the camera and into the distance with a look of serious contemplation.

"I hope I'll age as gracefully as that," the 21-year-old muses.

He leans against the wall behind him, trying to imagine himself looking even half as dignified in his older years. As his head tilts back, he feels it hit something sharp and instinctively jerks forward.

"Ow!" mutters Joe, turning around to frown at the source of the pain. He steps back and finds himself staring up at a large, wooden picture frame. Within it is a photo of the same Asian man, only looking much older, sporting a longer, white beard. This time, however, he's dressed in a flowing grey robe. On his head is a floppy, wide-brimmed, and pointy grey hat. In his hand is a carved, white wooden staff.

Someone has Photoshopped the man into a picture of Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings.

In fact, all along the wall, Joe can see similar, badly doctored photos of the same man: dressed as Dumbledore from Harry Potter, standing among the parapets of Hogwarts; clean-shaven and sitting in a wheelchair as Professor Charles Xavier from the X-men with a huge explosion behind him.

Just as his jaw goes slack ...More Read More
Views: 1375


In General A New Direction: The Anti-Blog Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #271 New 05-14-2012 09:46 AM
I started this blog not too long after I began training in Aikikai-style Aikido in January of 2003. A lot has changed since then. Two jobs, many friends and one husband later, I am still practicing Aikido.
But I am not really blogging about it so much anymore.

When I first started, just like many beginners, I was overwhelmed with information. Much of it, as rightly concerns all beginners, was purely mechanical. Naturally, just as I progressed in my training, so too, did my writing progress from discussion of the basic form to more complex subject matter.

What I am learning these days, however, isn't something that is easy to explain. As the copious amount of posts on this forum tries desperately to refute by their very existence, and as one popular column here suggests, it's something that "has to be felt".

But I am only a humble shodan. I do not have decades of experience to commend me. I have never had the opportunity of feeling, first-hand, the uncanny strength of O Sensei, or any of his students, or any of his students' first cousins twice-removed. Nor am I at all interested in pretending that I have discovered the divine power of profound Zen enlightenment that others have (or at least would like to think they have).

So what could I possibly have to share with this community that would be worth writing about? What would be the point in even bothering?

From here on, I'm going to take a backseat to all of the debating and pontificating and just let the s ...More Read More
Views: 900


In General How to Eat a Fish Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #270 New 02-02-2012 07:17 AM
Some time ago, I sat down to dinner with my paternal grandparents (my "Lolo Camillo" and "Lola Oreng") while visiting them in California. They were having salted, pan-fried fish that night -- a fairly common Filipino meal with the usual steamed, white rice.

As I started to dig in, Lola Oreng shrieked in laughter just as the food was poised to enter my mouth.

"You mean you do not even know how to eat a fish?" she cried.

Bewildered, I looked down and stared in confusion at the chunk of meat on my fork.

"Susmarjosep," Lola cursed, sucking air sharply between her teeth. She snatched the fork from me and proceeded to deftly graze the tines of the fork under the filet, separating it easily from the bones.

"That," she declared proudly, "is the proper way to eat a fish,"

I've thought about her choice of words a great deal since then. While I'd rather chalk it up to her Grade 2 education and correspondingly poor command of the English language, it struck a chord.

You see, when I was a child, I was duly instructed by my father in the "proper" way to sweep the floor, the "proper" way to do the dishes, and so on and so forth. It irked me then, and it still irks me now. Perhaps if fried fish were a regular part of my diet, I thought, or if I had at that point in my life been more experienced in household chores, I would have naturally discovered the best way of performing these tasks on my own.

But the whole idea of a "proper" way is especially significant to me t ...More Read More
Views: 1144 | Comments: 6


In Training Wed. Jan. 11, 2012: Shihonage Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #269 New 01-13-2012 03:33 PM
Just logging these to keep track of where we are at in the cycle.

Ran through Shihonage from all of the following attacks:

Katatedori (omote & ura)
Morotedori (two versions)
Ryotedori
Katadori
Katadori Menuchi
Shomenuchi (omote & ura)
Yokomenuchi (omote & ura)
Tsuki
Ushiro Ryokatadori
Ushiro Ryotekubidori
Ushiro Ryotekubidori Kubijime

Not done yet:

Sodedori
Eridori
Views: 1106 | Comments: 2


In Testing Nothing Better to Do Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #268 New 01-03-2012 11:58 AM
So, it's been almost two years now since I got to Shodan, and there's still no proverbial "bun in the oven" to speak of...

Might as well go for Nidan!

Which is great, because it dovetails with my desire to work myself back into a periodized conditioning cycle. I found it both energizing and motivating during the run-ups to both Ikkyu and Shodan. I just have to be very careful not to let that, coupled with my hectic work schedule, stress me out to the point of becoming overtrained again. And that wasn't very fun at all.

Over the last couple of years, I've some to realize that I am an intensely goal-oriented person. What really motivates me is having a tangible challenge to overcome. One that can definitely be measured. So for me, this results in the one of two major downsides to Aikido not being competitive.

The first, of course, is that it is relatively easy for many practitioners prevent their techniques from being tested. You just have to look at some of the nonsense on YouTube to see what I mean: yudansha with such poor form that -- at "best" - wouldn't move a bigger, stronger opponent and at worst, would put the defender off-balance instead of the attacker.

But I digress. Maybe I'm just a little snarky because the majority of people I've trained with for the last nine years (happy Aikido anniversary to me!) have all been bigger and stronger than me and I've had to learn the hard way.

Anyway. The second consequence is that I have to rely upon the ...More Read More
Views: 704


In Training Shikkoing uphill, but in good company Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #267 New 09-28-2011 11:38 PM
I can say without a doubt that this art is one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life. It offers conclusive evidence that at the root of it all, I am indeed a masochist.

Whoever said that things get easier is a dirty, rotten liar. Aikido is a mystery, hidden in a puzzle, wrapped in an enigma. The delusional theory floating around that black belt is somehow this pinnacle of achievement is utterly laughable.

I used to do this art solely for myself. The first few years are always like a honeymoon period of sorts. You have this warm, fuzzy feeling about practice. It's a kind of infatuation, really.

Well, Aikido and I are long past that stage in our relationship. We've been together long enough that we can be comfortable with our differences. We can just be ourselves, belches, farts and all. (Aikido hates how I get lazy about doing the dishes. Personally, I hate how it leaves the toilet seat up all the time. Damn awkward in the middle of the night. But we're still good.) In the midst of this, it's easy to get so comfortable, in fact, that you get complacent.

One of the most convincing lies ever told - time and time again - is that love is a feeling. That it waxes and wanes; gets stale over time. Kind of like the misguided idea that marriage is a contract. That if and when things get rough, or your partner doesn't fulfill their end of the "bargain" of expectations you have for the relationship, or you think you've found a better offer from someone els ...More Read More
Views: 977 | Comments: 2


In Miscellaneous Time to Smarten Up Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #266 New 09-09-2011 01:35 PM
Take a look at the vast majority of Aikido clips on YouTube and is it really any wonder to serious Aikidoka out there that our art is the butt of martial arts jokes?

I mean, people. Seriously. Enough with being hobbyists. Train hard. Then put your best stuff out there or nothing at all.

I just get a little tired of hearing people call the discipline that I've devoted almost a decade of my life to -- the same discipline that, God-willing, I'll still be practising when I'm 60 -- no more than a pretty little dance. Yeah, well, this "pretty, little dance" can break your big, ugly neck.

Not very "aiki" of me, I know. But hey, I'm no yogic-flying, Zen-meditating guru eating locusts and honey at the pinnacle of enlightenment. I'm just a sweaty little girl wanting to achieve excellence as a martial artist. Excuse me for not being gracious -- I'm a work in progress.

Sorry, I just had to get that out. More on this later.

/rant (for now)
Views: 728


In General Back to the (bigger, badder) Basics Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #265 New 02-09-2011 02:25 PM
I'm convinced that no matter how busy your life gets, or how far from ideal your situation may be, you should make the time to look around and take stock of just how fortunate you are. Now is definitely one of those times for me.

Sure, you could say that we don't have a "permanent" dojo space of our own right now. That the student numbers are low. Meh! The fact is, between the church hall and the university, we've got a pretty good thing going. For one, I have the opportunity to practice six days a week, if you count the Sunday afternoon I teach (which is in many ways, an even more intense learning experience, as I've blogged about before). Sure, having back-to-back classes on Friday night (going straight from regular practice at the main dojo class to being demo uke and participant in the beginners' one) can be brutal. Boy, do I look forward to a nice, hot soak in the tub at the end of my week.

But participating in the two "extra classes" with the beginners at the university is definitely paying off as far as Kihon waza is concerned; we can lecture about a good foundation in the basics until the Mudansha come home but you can never spend too much time building more of it for yourself. There are still more minute details I'm learning about the basic exercises that I hadn't been taught before. Which is why I'm glad we're spending more time these days not just on good ol' Tae Sabaki, but in particular on dynamic, moving Tae Sabaki, instead of the kind that starts static ...More Read More
Views: 1070 | Comments: 1


In Humor A New Technique to add to the Wiki Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #264 New 10-28-2010 05:04 PM
Category: Immobilizations (principles)

Name: Wrongkyo

Description:

A widely practiced (though not formally recognized) technique that usually immobilizes nage instead of uke, mentally instead of physically.

Can be performed from any attack and at any given moment; Wrongkyo occurs when nage instinctively responds with a technique other than the one they were actually directed to practice/originally demonstrated by Sensei.

May be loosely classified as a kind of Oyo Waza.
Views: 1277 | Comments: 5


In Techniques Respecting Koshinage Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #263 New 10-20-2010 01:04 PM
Koshinage shows no mercy.

If Koshinage were a member of your dojo, it would be that really tough, no-nonsense sempai who tells you to suck it up and stop wimping out all the time, why weren't you at class last Tuesday and why the heck aren't you breakfalling more? Rawr!

So put Koshinage on the menu for a lackadaisical, slacker of a teenage student (who is obviously not learning Aikido because he really wants to) with a default disposition of not wanting to learn in the first place; add to this a posture and martial stature that can only be compared to that of a soggy sponge and you have a recipe for utter disaster. That, or one that essentially forces said student to focus.

Not focusing in the role of nage = getting squished like a bug. Not focusing in the role of uke = getting spiked headfirst into the mat (ie. squished like a bug, but at a greater velocity than before).

I never thought I'd say it, but I think I love Koshinage.
Views: 1287 | Comments: 3



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