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Worked on Shoman Uchi Ikkyo through yonkyo, irimi nage, and shiho nage. The class was wonderful, worked with a variety of people. The amazing moment was when sensei worked with us on the ukemi. Again telling people that the key to being able to do more realistic aikido is to make sure that you attack continuously, and that your goal is always to attack Nage. When we were working on this, something that I have been working on for quite some time, being a pliable, and receptive uke, but also going for the nage as much as possible. If not taking the openings I see at least seeing them and cataloging them to check against my technique.
So I am working with a member of the dojo that has been away for two years. His enthusiasm for the practice is still there, and he really likes to come in hot. We would occasionally end up in a strange place where things kind of locked up. Sensei came by and showed me that I was reaching up for the elbow way to soon, and that if I waited, and the uke was dedicated to attacking me, I could slip in behind the uke and then grab the elbow. It was pointless to grab it earlier because it gave the uke my elbow exactly like I had their elbow. In addition there was nothing that they could do with their elbow while I was in front of them in the correct ma ai (sp?). Once I was around behind the elbow was there to use as a lever to get their shoulder rolled to the ground. This was very much apparent when sensei was the uke. It also made apparent how sensei moves so fast to get around the uke in the ura movements, he is only doing ˝ of the movement, he is waiting for uke to actually attack again after the shoman misses. I tried it out with Rick and it was amazing how fast I seemed, when I was actually going a lot slower, but at the right time in the correct direction. Amazing…..
Only did one evening class tonight as both M and I have colds. The "basics" class was a focus on Shiho Nage. In depth and at a very advanced level. Focus first on keeping your posture perfect during the technique. This was something that I have been working on for quite a bit, but when sensei pointed out what we were all doing on the mat, I realized that I had not gone far enough in my trying to make it upright. Sensei also worked on where the Uke's hand ultimately has to go, this was really great too. You know where the uke's hand is supposed to go for them to fall over, take it from the front of them, and put it where it goes to have them fall over in one nice fluid move. This was great, and kind of new to me in a way that I would not have thought it would have been. Again from the moment that uke strikes through the point that they are on the mat they never regain their balance. The secrets of Aikido were all here tonight, all very apparent:
1> Perfect posture
2> Blend completely with the Uke
3> Take balance
I found that I got it on one side of my body, but completely missed it on the other. Posture posture posture, sensei came over and kept me from moving at all by applying what seems like a couple of ounces of force to my hand during my turn because I was not based grounded and completely upright. It was amazing what was even cooler is that I normally fail these little figure out why this is happening, and fix it tests, but I got this one after three times. It was wonderful.
We worked after class Melissa and I, she is definitely getting Sankyo, and her Ukemi is getting better bit by bit, although I don't think she sees it. She also seems to think that her ukemi should be getting better faster than it is. We are going to go Sundays after the first of the year and work on her ukemi and the techniques on her next test which she should have the days in rank to take well before the next test round.
It felt good working with her, and knowing that she is getting it, feeling that she can take my balance, and that the techniques are working their way into her body. It gives me more security in feeling that she can take care of herself if the situation calls for it. It also makes me feel good that she is going to be capable of being my training partner as we go cruising next time. I can see both of us as yudansha training on the beaches and in the dojos in other countries. This feels really good.
On another note I was speaking with a friend about life between classes, it was a deep conversation, one that he asked to have specifically to try and get some insight into an ongoing crisis that is central in his life. I tried my best to bring NVC and some patient wisdom into the conversation, well aware of my failing throughout the conversation, places that I should have listened more, talked less. And places that I should not have offered opinions and advice, instead having listened more and with more empathy. Apparently I didn't fail completely, because at the end of the conversation he exclaimed that it was great to be able to talk with me this way, great to have someone to talk to, and thanked me for my guidance. I don't think that I did that well, but at least I will probably get another chance to practice and do better. The part of the conversation that really shocked me in a way was that I was explaining to him that I used to have a really really bad temper, rage was a common emotion for me, and that I did not used to be the most easy person to get along with. He said that wasn't true, and that there was no way that I had been like that….. He pointed out several incidents where I had been the opposite, and that I had been amazing patient, amazingly calm, and that I was always level headed…. It felt really good to hear this, although I know how far I still have to go, it felt really interesting to hear someone else's viewpoint on how far I have come. It isn't going to make my head gain a hat size for sure, but it still felt like a small win, kind of like a milepost on a very long path.