View Full Version : summer! yay!

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Mary Eastland
07-10-2011, 04:38 PM
This morning I had a moment that almost hurt with joy. It was a small class. The sun was shining. All the windows and doors were open giving the illusion of being outside. The air was clear. The fans created a slight breeze. I could smell woods, blossoms and sweat.

We were practicing ryote tori shiho nage... focusing on bending uke's elbow with the second hand, keeping nage's arms on a horizontal plane and doing an L step.

I used to Hate, Hate, Hate shiho nage. A couple of years ago I decided to change my perspective. I embraced shiho nage.

At first, I was definitely acting as if. Now I am loving it. I am still not great at it. There are awkward moments. However, my self acceptance and my openness to each unique uke and moment are increasing.

I have declared this the summer of shiho nage. Each class we do shiho nage from some attack. I am focusing on three fundamental aspects. Who knows? By winter the awkward moments could be less as I relax more and more.

I let go of the beauty of the morning to be in this moment with a little reget. Summer passes so swiftly.

graham christian
07-10-2011, 05:05 PM
HI Mary.
A nice sunny post. I like the word you used...'embrace' a very powerful concept.

Shihonage, one of my favourites. For me there are many ways of doing it but the breakthrough personally came from doing it from one purpose.... to give back to, return to. From then on I had no problem with it.

I like the concept though so I shall find one of my own mmm. Maybe a yonkyo summer.


Janet Rosen
07-10-2011, 07:35 PM
It has always been one of the most natural movements for me, but being round and low to the ground helps :-)
In general though, I agree with the idea of reframing one's attitude towards the technique, training partner, whatever at the dojo is creating disharmony within me, to approach it from at least a neutral position that allows better exploration.

Mary Eastland
07-25-2011, 07:41 PM
Drifting? What the heck is that? It’s sort of like taking up slack…but it is really paying more attention to which way uke wants to go and letting them go that way. Every time I am grabbed I notice where uke is heading. By letting uke go in the direction they want to… all resistance disappears.

By paying attention from my center I am able to let my uke lead and follow simultaneously as I start the technique that will happen between us. The world gets quiet and still as uke grabs and follows as I lead the drift and connection that creates the feeling that is Aikido. The peace and relaxation that follows calms my spirit and restores harmony in me and hopefully my uke.

Janet Rosen
07-25-2011, 10:38 PM
Just tonight I caught myself NOT doing that with an uke whose energy was clearly to one side and DANG I noted it but didn't actually respond to it...a real slap-myself-upside-the-head moment.

07-26-2011, 02:36 AM
Summer? Not here, no... 15 C and grey sky outside. Well, at least there's going to be good training today!

Anita Dacanay
07-26-2011, 03:14 AM
LOL - I was thinking along the same lines as Graham. Shihonage - me like. Yonkyo - me no like!

Sounds like a lovely breakthrough for you, Mary.

07-26-2011, 07:49 AM
it's hot and steamy here. not very pleasant at all. i like winter better. in the winter, you can put more clothes on, but in heat, you can only take off so much. i have considered naked aikido; however, our dojo have mostly guys which isn't ideal for naked aikido or even thong aikido. i think we need to import some californian aikidoka of female variety. it's an east meet west kind of idea. :D

Janet Rosen
07-26-2011, 08:46 AM
Phi, this California aikidoka of female variety would be happy to visit to bring custom lightweight summer gi!

07-26-2011, 09:10 AM
Phi, this California aikidoka of female variety would be happy to visit to bring custom lightweight summer gi!

i would enjoy such visit. all of my bujin gi are at their last legs, i.e. in desperate need of replacement. i bugged Ikeda sensei at the last seminar and he kept saying "soon". and i am tired of them judo gi, since they are not as comfortable and affecting my aiki. :)

Adam Huss
07-26-2011, 11:51 AM
Shihonage Shabusan!

Janet Rosen
07-26-2011, 02:12 PM
i would enjoy such visit. all of my bujin gi are at their last legs, i.e. in desperate need of replacement. i bugged Ikeda sensei at the last seminar and he kept saying "soon". and i am tired of them judo gi, since they are not as comfortable and affecting my aiki. :)

Don't have time or $$ for traveling east, but I will be modeling my handmade keikigis including a new summer one at the Aiki Expo George Ledyard put together in Seattle next month!

Anita Dacanay
07-27-2011, 03:49 AM
@ Janet: Those summer gis sound very interesting to me. Do you have photos you could post here in the forums, or a website for selling your wares?

Mary Eastland
07-29-2011, 08:16 AM
Every so often I need to take a break from AikiWeb because I let the negativity get to me. Then I come back because I really miss the good stuff.
I really appreciate Jun's vision and work to make this place. I have learned a lot here... about Aikido and myself.

We have a seminar this week end. I get to do some stuff to get ready for it. People will come from this dojo and our other dojos. We will train together and eat some good food. We will train sweat, laugh and practice sincerely.

After class on Sunday we will have a potluck and talk about our families and old times. We will congratulate the man that is testing for 1st Dan and talk about things that we loved about the seminar.

We used to go to summer camp in Philadelphia for 4 days. Now we have a great seminar in the summer for just 2 long classes. I love as we get older we continue to train in a way that works for us. Looks like the weather is going to be in the mid 80s...great weather for training not to hot but hot enough to help us feel more flexible.
have a great summer weekend...I am keeping my hopes high and my expectations low!

Janet Rosen
07-29-2011, 12:00 PM
Have a WONDERFUL weekend, Mary! Happy keiko.

Mary Eastland
07-29-2011, 02:59 PM
Thank you!

07-29-2011, 03:20 PM
Oh, and by the way, I like both shiho nage and yonkyo...:D

Mary Eastland
08-02-2011, 02:35 PM
Shi ho nage did appear!...what a fun seminar it was. It was small, sweaty and very fun. We had 12 people over the two days. Dora and Anne each taught a segment on Saturday. We did some weapons, some double uge, some freestyle with tanto, some free movement...It makes me smile just to think about it...but why wait? Class starts in 2 hours!

Mary Eastland
08-09-2011, 05:10 PM
Dora came to class tonight…we decided to practice tomorrow even if just the three of us showed up but for tonight we would rest. Ron always feels a little sad when we don’t have class…he thinks students are all going away. I look at it like the universe gives us space to rest sometimes because we need it. He and I did a little stick work and we will do our ki exercises again before bed. August is always a quiet month because so many people go on vacation. When I first started training Ron used to close the dojo in August…he forgets that now but I remember straining at the bit for the whole month just waiting for the next class. Now we stay open and have really small classes or none at all. People will be back in September…I open my arms and my heart to embrace a plethora of old and new students.

Mary Eastland
08-12-2011, 06:14 AM
It's still the summer of shiho nage. The day has dawned cool, with no humidity...the greens are emerald and yellowish...birdsong and squirrel chatter fills the air. Summer is still here in the Berkshires yet I can feel autumn sliding in with a bit of color here and a cool breeze there. All the seasons are welcome to me..and summer is now and precious because it is now.

I felt sloppy in my shiho nage practice last night...it could be because I was sleepy but I think it was because I was not neat. I hurried...my shower and comfy bed were calling. Distracted from the now I missed the wonder of blended movement. I will be mindful in my morning practice so as not miss a moment of shigo nage in this short summer of my life.

08-12-2011, 06:52 AM
We mostly train indoors, yet weather is so much a part of our practice. I can't imagine what it would be like to train in 70F "summer" and "winter". Last winter was cold and very snowy, and some people would get to the dojo early so they could put their gis on the heaters so they wouldn't be ice cold when they put them on. This summer has been unusually hot for New England. Some people drift off to more hospitable climates, both summer and winter. For those of us who stay -- for me, at least -- the climate challenge is a reminder of the lesson of any adversity: the goal is not to train because of it, not to train despite it, but to train with it. There are many things stronger than you, and climate is just one of them. So we train, soak our sweat towels, apologize when we drip on each other. We linger in the dojo garden in the relative cool of the long summer evenings. A wise New Englander soaks up the light when the light is there. Another challenge will be here soon enough, and we'll train with that when it comes.

Mary Eastland
09-07-2011, 03:12 PM
Fall comes early in the Berkshires. “Summer of shiho nage” is coming to a close. The rains of Tropical Depression Lee have subsided for the moment leaving the woods washed and shiny. Poison ivy and red berries are contrasting green and red, foreshadowing holidays to come. The end of summer light is slanted and forgiving. Mushrooms parade on rotten logs, their subtle tans and browns muted by the green of again, poison ivy.

The “summer of shiho nage” has really deepened my understanding of the technique as uke and nage. I am relaxing more as uke and extending ki with my whole self not just my hands as I enter as nage.

As the “fall of the earnest uke” begins I will again commit to an idea and train through that idea. I noticed this summer when students were reminded to attack in a more committed way, they did so. So my idea “fall of the earnest uke was born.”

Some people are naturally good ukes. They understand the give and take nature of aikido training. Others are good nages and need encouragement to really understand the nature of attack and then follow like you don’t know what is going to happen. I delight in this challenge and look forward to what we will learn this fall. I anticipate days filled with color and soft autumn light. There is no place like the Berkshires in the fall.

Mary Eastland
10-25-2011, 06:34 AM
We used to have a gentleman that trained with us that was so much fun to train with. He had a self deprecating air. He could see himself and chuckle. I miss him. I see he is still training at another dojo in another state. We have exchanged pleasantries on the internet but that was it.
I notice myself feeling sad about that sometimes. We have had a dojo for a long time; Ron for 30 years and me for 19. We have seen a lot of students come and go. Some I am glad to see go and others stay with me after they leave.
This gentleman sometimes slipped into baseball mode. He would act like he was playing second base and start hopping around and getting syked. After being gently reminded that this was another way to be he would notice himself and change.
Ah, nostalgia… back to the present. The seasons are changing…the leaves are in full color. The light is slanting and magnificent.
We have class tonight. Classes have been small and really fun. Technique is changing and expanding in and out of self- defense and ki development. I accept what is and move on. Maybe the time of teaching beginners has ended and this is a new phase. I accept.