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Yesterday's class was interesting. We had a new guy join. We took the class slow and we only ended up doing a few techniques as we were breaking everything down by doing step A, then step A and B, then A,B and C. It was actually quite beneficial for me too because I got to work on the finer points of some things that I seem to miss when I just do the entire technique. The three techniques we worked on were ai hanmi katatedori iriminage and kotegaeshi. We also did shomenuchi iriminage as well. For katatedori iriminage, we worked on two variations. The first one we did was a direct entry, which I seemed to have a tiny bit of trouble with. I just wasn't getting my initial step in towards uke in the correct position. It will come with time though. The other version we did involved a full tenkan and then threw uke. This one I felt a bit more comfortable with. For this technique I worked with the new guy. As soon as we reid to each other he said "This is my first day. Take it easy on me. Okay?" I assured him that I would be careful with him. He didn't do too bad. Sensei came over and offered him some advice or threw me to demonstrate either nage pointers. I didn't do the technique to him too many times. I figured I would give him the chance to throw me. The few times I did it to him, I just took him to the point where I was stretching him and he was off balance. Then I let him back up. Sensei came back over and threw me again trying to tell him how to take proper ukemi for the technique. Explaining that it is safer to turn your face towards nage instead of away (because you can get hit in the face/nose or get put into a choke easier) and had him watch how I lifted my feet up towards the ceiling when I landed on the mat. He explained that this was to help disperse the energy for when I was thrown hard (which sensei then demonstrated). When it was my turn to throw him again (after he threw me about 6 more times) I asked him if he wanted to take ukemi and go to the mat. He said he would like to try. I got him to the point where he would fall, explained which leg to step back with and then let him fall on his own volition. I still kept a hold of him to prevent him from crashing to the mat since he was a bit stiff, but overall, I thought he did fairly well.
For shomenuchi iriminage, I had a difficult time trying to figure out my timing to enter. Once sensei told me to enter as soon as nage lifted his arm to attack, most of my problems seemed to disappear. Amazing how changing one little thing can affect the entire technique. After we worked on that we did katatedori kotegaeshi. For this sensei chose me to be his uke. At first both me and the guy next to me both reid to him and then we both began to rise to be uke… then we both got confused and weren't sure who sensei meant to be uke. Finally, I figured out it was me, said I was sorry and I ran out to be his uke. I thought I did a fair job over all, but I could have blended a bit better then I did. That is something I continue to work on. Once class was over, sensei left and the rest of us were sitting in the circle. We all thanked each other. One of my sempai's (3rd dan maybe) then looked at me and told me that I took too long to get up to be sensei's uke. He told me I should be like a spring and rush right up there. He said it was a privilege that I was asked and that other sensei's wouldn't be as nice as mine was to me with my mistake. I wanted to tell him that I wasn't sure he meant me and neither did the student next to me and that as soon as I realized my error, I rushed right up there. Instead, I reid to him and said the only thing I could… "Hai sempai."
I walked out of the dojo feeling guilt stricken. I thought about all the other times I had been sensei's uke and how I rushed up there as soon as he looked at me. I knew that this sempai had seen me be sensei's uke before and he must know that it isn't my nature to keep sensei waiting….. As we walked to the changing room, my husband snapped me out of my thinking by saying "You know, I couldn't tell if he was looking at you or the other person either." As I changed for tai chi, I debated on whether this warranted an apology to sensei (I decided it didn't, as I said sorry to him already) as I continued to think about the situation. I came to the conclusion that I did make a mistake and that I would try to prevent this from happening again. As I began to walk back up to the dojo, sempai then confronted me again and told me that it is a great opportunity to be his uke and said not too many people get to grab a hold of "the big guy" (sensei is 6th dan). I acknowledged him with a slight bow and said thank you. I remember trying to smile, but I do not recall if it actually made it to my face or not…..
After tai chi class, I began to walk up to sensei to talk to him about a personal matter. As soon as I reached him he asked "Are you going to see sensei?" This was at least our third conversation about the seminar in Eugene and I had already mentioned that my husband and I didn't have the money at this time. I know he already knew my answer, but I think he is sincerely trying to plant the seed in my head that I need to go. Sensei….. I get the hint; you want me to go. I again told him that we just didn't have the money at the moment. He then told me to talk to his wife and that she may be able to come up with a scholarship for us to go. I told him that I would talk with her next time I saw her. He then asked me if my wrist was alright (I had it taped up). I told him that it was more for support then injury. After the rest of our chat, I told him that I would see him tomorrow. Once I got back to my husband we began to walk to the car. I told him that sensei asked again if we were going to the seminar and told him that they said they might be able to give up a scholarship. I explained that I have no idea how much of a scholarship it would be, so we would still have to see if it would allow us to go or not. I then thought to myself "I wonder if any of the hotels are dog friendly?" Then I thought to myself "What would happen if she barked and whined the entire time we were away!?!" I guess sensei really wants us to go to this seminar. So, I almost feel like I need to look into things and at least make an effort to go.