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Keiko yesterday was awesome. I showed up a little late, but still got quite a bit of time in on bokuto waza. I tended to sit down too deeply and arch my lumbar too much. I'm trying to press outward with my knees slightly, but seem to do it to the point of sitting down too much. The lumbar arch has been something of a condition of mine for a long time. I remember one time several years ago when I stopped by for a training, sensei had us sit upright and he walked around pushing on our backs. I wasn't trying to arch my lumbar at all but he said it was too arched. I think this has a lot to do with why I tend to lean too far forward all the time...at least, I get the feeling that it tends to put me farther forward in my structure than is ideal. This corresponds to an idea I heard Dan express (assuming I'm remembering correctly), that in using the "back-bow" it's usually easier for people to press forward and more difficult for them to push backward. I'm guessing this is because most of us are so forward-oriented in our awareness. One of the things the instructor in the beginner's class likes to emphasize is the idea of putting ki/awareness into our backs when practicing movements. It's hard, but I do notice that when I am conscious of balancing my left and right sides, along with my front and back sides, while creating/activating vertical musubi, my movements have a much more interesting dynamic. I feel more responsive and "free," which seems to give me a little more sense of being able to create drive in some given direction...not that I can do it well, but it feels better. So yesterday I focused a lot on not over-arching my back, and not sitting down too much. Somewhere in the middle of my range of motion is a more potent structural orientation for applying pressure, so in thinking about proper kamae, I'm trying to bounce back and forth like a pendulum, gradually resting it somewhere nearer to center than where I started.
After going inside to work on taijutsu, I got a lot of time taking ukemi from sensei. I've always really enjoyed these times because I always get the feeling of my body getting "squared up." The areas with more tension tend to get stretched out or otherwise loosened up; and it's an exercise in constantly trying to adjust; to find stability. He also demands a lot of attention to how I approach, forcing me to...well...pay more attention. Also, and I've said it before, but despite being a soccer player since age 8, in certain ways this kind of workout is some of the toughest stuff I've experienced. I got tossed around until I could barely get up, but I did my best to keep pressing forward. At one point after sensei was done tossing me about, I had to take a break to get a drink of water.
I came back, apologized to my training partner for making him wait, and then we worked on a kokyu nage sequence which began from a seigan position. As best as I can tell, from ai hanmi with tegatana in seigan (e.g. right hand forward), using irimi tenkan, the rearward hand (left hand) enters and cuts down into aite's elbow (through to aite's center, ideally); as it cuts the tenkan unfolds and the side that was forward enters rearward into aite's back, more or less. Using the tegatana connection to extend forward around me, and entering with the other side of the back to add to this, we draw aite around before rotating back the other way into aite, entering with the "tegatana" elbow with a rising quality, before then cutting/displacing the head off its base and back down and entering with that typical kokyunage finishing extension, tegatana on aite's head (more or less) and hip.
After a few rounds of this, Sensei came back over and tossed me around a few more times, much shorter in duration since I was pretty gassed-out at this point. I love how being tired like this forces greater economy of motion in certain regards. It's harder to muscle your way through something when your muscles don't want to fire so readily. I remember at one point looking down and seeing a splatter of sweat on the mat and realizing it was mine. The drops were pretty big as I was pretty well dripping. My wife and I were talking and are planning to do more running together to help get my cardio up. I'm hoping it will help acclimate my body so I'm less of a sweat-hog on warmer days.
Well, that's it for now. Off to yet another birthday party for one of my son's friends.