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Jeff Hepner's Blog Blog Tools Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 11-11-2004 07:05 AM
Jeff Hepner
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 32 (Private: 1)
Comments: 2
Views: 62,843

In General Testing, but not testing - Shut-upsi-waza Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #11 New 09-03-2004 02:46 PM
Aiki-Log -- Class #9
Wednesday, September 1, 2004 -- 7:30pm

The orange belt I ordered finally came in. It should've had a white stripe (for 7th kyu), but didn't. Norbert Sensei used medical tape to "fix" it up. I was finally able to line up with the rest of the 7th kyu folks. Started to feel like old times.

We'll be testing on October 6th. I spoke with Sensei and asked how he wanted to handle my situation. I said I didn't think I was ready yet as I have quite a bit of catching up to do, but I that I'd test if he felt I was ready. He decided to have me help those preparing for the 9th, 8th and 7th kyu tests. That way I can get a refresher, help them prepare and get evaluated by sensei all at the same time. I might participate as uke during the tests as well. Cool! Works for me!

Since we're ramping up for tests, the first 30 minutes of class was (and will continue to be) dedicated to test prep. I'm the "floater". I help where needed. I was with the 9th kyu prep group this time. Since everyone else was pretty much self-directed, Sensei stayed with us. It was great to get the details I crave! It's been so long since I've been taught the basics that I've forgotten a lot of the little stuff. Sensei explained the details of bowing (standing and kneeling), seiza (down and up), my kamae was fine, he corrected some of my wrist warm-up positions and complimented me on my recovery from my back break falls without hitt ...More Read More
Views: 1111

In General Footsi-Waza Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #10 New 08-30-2004 01:03 PM
Aiki-Log -- Class #8
Thursday, August 26, 2004 -- 7:30pm

Today's class focused on getting our feet in the right place so we could use our hands correctly.

After warm-ups (my get-upsi-waza is still too slow) we did some basic bokken strikes with 45-degree pivots. Then to tie it together we did empty-handed 45-degree pivots. Lots and lots of fast and furious pivots. On both the right and left side:

Shuffle step forward, pivot, no block, pivot back, shuffle back

Cross-step forward, pivot, no block, pivot back, cross-step back

Shuffle step forward, pivot, leading hand block, pivot back, shuffle step back

Cross-step forward, pivot, leading hand block, pivot back, cross-step back

Shuffle step forward, pivot, trailing hand block, pivot back, shuffle back

Cross-step forward, pivot, trailing hand block, pivot back, shuffle back

Sensei had us do 10 of each, very, very quickly, and then had us do 1 of each in rapid succession. His stated goal was to get us so confused that we couldn't think about where our hands and feet were. He just wanted our bodies to do the thinking for us. It worked!

Then Sensei started us on a series of techniques that required leading or trailing hand blocks with 45-degree pivots. Once again, "don't think, just do" was the goal. I was so pleased with the results that I mentioned it to Sensei after class. He said that he had actually structured the class specifically with me in mind! He very seriously said that ...More Read More
Views: 917

In General BRokken Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #9 New 08-30-2004 12:02 PM
Aiki-Log -- Class #7
Wednesday, August 25, 2004 -- 7:30pm

I'm still not able to keep up with the back break falls during warm-ups. I need to ramp up my ab workouts during my non-Aikido days.

We did forward rolls (finally didn't waste my Dramamine) and Sensei was kind enough to have me do half as many as everyone else. "We don't want you doing too many." He knows my limits too, and is willing to work with me to slowly extend them. My forward rolls are still very clunky. I need to practice, but I don't want to start / continue bad habits. I'd prefer to have guidance until I'm sure my practice won't reinforce poor technique. My backward rolls are still ok, but will get better with practice. I think I've got the technique down, I just need to smooth it out.

BUKI-WAZA (weapon technique)
We did quite a bit of bokken work. One of the focuses was hasshu giri (eight different cuts) consisting of tsuki (thrust), kessa giri (diagonal body cut -- up, down, left and right), do giri (horizontal body cut -- left and right), kirioroshi (cut down). Sensei added one piece at a time. I got pretty messed up as things got more complicated.

I noticed a crack in my bokken! It's right at the middle of the tip and runs about 2 inches along the blade. Norbert Sensei said some wood glue and c-clamps will fix it. I'm quite sure it didn't happen in class. We haven't been blocking much yet. I think 14 years in the closet has some ...More Read More
Views: 1228

In General Sleepy-Waza Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #8 New 08-23-2004 12:16 PM
Aiki-Log -- Class #6
Thursday, August 19, 2004 -- 7:30pm

I'm not sure what happened, but I woke up completely exhausted. Not physically, but mentally. I couldn't get out of bed, I fought to stay awake behind the wheel on the way to work, I couldn't concentrate. I haven't felt that weird since I had mono about 25 years go.

During the day I did notice that my calves were very sore. I mentioned how much better I liked moving on a wooden floor than on mats. But one outcome of being better able to move on the balls of my feet is that my calves got a huge workout. Something to think about.

I reluctantly decided to skip class and get some sleep. I crashed out when I got home and woke up 4 hours later, watched some of the Olympics and went back to bed an hour and a half later. After a full night's sleep I felt much better.

I practiced on Sunday to review what I learned, but I'm looking forward to Wednesday. Looks like I should pick up some more Dramamine. I might actually be able to see if it works.

Views: 1095

In General Window-Waza Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #7 New 08-23-2004 12:03 PM
Aiki-Log -- Class #5
Wednesday, August 18, 2004 -- 7:30pm

Rick Brady sensei was our guest instructor on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. He studies Toyama Ryu Iaido and our classes were focused on basic Samurai sword technique. More info can be found at http://www.seishinkan.com/seishin/sskprogs/iaido.htm

I wasn't sure what to expect for class, but when I asked if we were going to use the mats, Rick Sensei said "Only if we put them in the parking lot." I wasn't sure what he meant until noticed something wrong on the window wall that overlooks the parking lot. One of the windows (10 feet tall by 4 feet wide) was completely covered in a spider web crack. Evidently, one of Monday's students helped sensei demonstrate a technique. Said student was put severely off balance and didn't regain it again until after he had traversed the dojo and come abruptly to rest against the window. Did I mention our dojo is on the 2nd floor?

Rick Sensei was kind enough before class to bring me and a few other first-timers up to speed with what we missed on Monday. During our orientation, it became obvious that I was going to wish I had a tsuba (hand guard) on my bokken.

Class started rather informally, since the orientation sort of started to become the class. My regular Sensei (John Parks) decided to make it official and we all lined up. I decided right away that I like moving around on a smooth wooden floor much better than on a mat. I was bummed that we weren't ...More Read More
Views: 1050

In General Watchi-Waza Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #6 New 08-16-2004 01:12 PM
Aiki-Log -- Class #4
Thursday, August 6, 2004 -- 7:30pm

My Aiki-Toe continues to improve, as do my mat burns.

The muscles on the sides of my neck (used to keep my head off the mat during back break falls) and on the front of my groin area (used to lift my legs out in front during back break falls) were VERY SORE!

My right knee was bothering me all day. I could walk fine, stairs were odd (weak, not too painful), but crossing my legs (right ankle across left knee) hurt. So did climbing out of my car.

If you've read my earlier entries, you know that I have loose joints. I'd rather miss one class right now than several in a row if I push it. I decided to practice Whimpi-Waza and get a knee brace from CVS ( 18) then do Watchi-Waza for class. I'm glad I did.

Warm-ups included pukemi! I missed out, but since I wasn't planning on participating I didn't waste any Dramamine this time.

There's going to be a guest sensei (week of the 16th) doing sword technique from a different martial art (I'll get the name). Our sensei decided to focus on basic bokken to get us ready. He covered drawing the bokken, chudan (basic sword stance), jodan (chudan with weapon raised high), front and side strikes (with and without 45-degree pivot, with and without cross step, right and left foot leading), chibuti (chibudi? -- sword cleaning flick -- I'll confirm this), sheathing the bokken.

We also covered a technique beginning with uke going to ch ...More Read More
Views: 1163

In General Weekly Wounding Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #5 New 08-16-2004 12:18 PM
Aiki-Log -- Class #3
Wednesday, August 5, 2004 -- 7:30pm

Sorry for the delay in writing. I've been busy and procrastinating.

My Aiki-Toe looks and feels better. It's still a little sore when I try to "grab the mat with my toes", but it looks normal again.

My mat burns on my right foot are healing nicely.

I took Dramamine about 2 hours before class in preparation for pukemi, but we didn't do any. That sucks! Dramamine is EXPENSIVE. I survived the warm-ups, but still didn't manage to do all the back break falls (getting better).

Class was fun, right up to the first technique. I was paired with a brown belt.

Starting in ai hanmi kamae (same stance) uke grabs toward shite's chest. Shite does a 95-degree pivot block with the leading hand, wrist on top. Shuffle step somewhat behind uke, swinging uke's blocked arm down toward shite's right thigh while uke does tenkan (body change). Shite reaches behind uke with their trailing hand and grabs uke's far shoulder. Shite does another 95-degree pivot, continuing in the same direction as before while placing their other arm across uke's throat. Uke does a back break fall.

I was doing Ok, but I kept forcing it too much. I needed to do the moves and trust that uke would end up in the right spot. I even started out by grabbing uke's far shoulder instead of just laying my arm across their throat!

Then I tweaked my right knee. My pivot stopped too e ...More Read More
Views: 965

In General Sensei Chat Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #4 New 08-06-2004 03:52 PM
I had a few questions / concerns after class last night's class so I called Sensei and we had about a 20 minute chat.

When he starts counting more and more quickly while we are doing one-count full techniques, what is his intent?

Go more quickly (duh).

He doesn't want students to have time to think, just do. When he says "Get up!", stop and quickly prepare for another pass at the technique, even if I'm not done yet. Later, when he says "Hajime, at your own pace!", that's the time to think and work out some of the details.

How should I handle any issues I might have with a certain student (Sensei knew who I meant) that doesn't appear to recognize, understand or respect their partner's physical limitations?

Notify Sensei immediately, but discretely.

The student in question has a known background of being "hard" while performing techniques. Sensei had just spoken with him about that prior to last night's class. The student is a nice person off the mat, but might need some form of reminder(s) about backing off when necessary.

Will I be required to participate in randori (as a recipient of technique) as soon as my orange belt arrives?


When we're both sure I can handle the throws and rolls, then I can participate.

What was up with the low kicks I saw during randori?

Those are higher-level black belt level defenses.

Ex ...More Read More
Views: 1330

In General Aiki-Toe Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #3 New 08-06-2004 10:08 AM
Aiki-Log -- Class #2
Wednesday, August 5, 2004 -- 6:30pm


I decided to sit out last night's class due to my toe. I was planning on just doing Watchi-Waza for the youth and adult classes so I got there about 15 minutes before the youth class started.

I found Norbert right away. He teaches the youth class so he was waiting for the women's aerobics class to finish with up (they always run behind schedule) before he could go in the room and lay out the mats. The dojo meets in an air-conditioned room on the 2nd floor of an upscale health club. I had him check out my weapons and he assured me they were safe.

However, once he heard that I was going to Watchi-Waza he whipped out his traveling first-aid kit, taped me up and told me to get on the mat. He said to take it easy and simply don't do anything that would cause discomfort to my toe. Evidently, in addition to being 2nd Dan in Aikido and an expert woodworker, he's also a homeopathic healer. I've been told (by Sensei) that he can do some Mr. Miagi-like (Karate Kid) healing techniques. He's a great guy that is immediately easy to like and trust. I look forward to getting to know him better.

I spent the remainder of the youth class getting dressed and stretching. I lined up with everyone else when the adult class started at 7:30pm.


Class started with Washi-Waza, which I found out is actually called sogi. After the mat was clean we lined up. Seiza looked weird for me. I had to ...More Read More
Views: 1087

In General Aiki-Doodle-Dandy Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #2 New 08-05-2004 12:04 PM
Aiki-Log -- Class #1
Wednesday, August 4, 2004 -- 7:30pm

"I'm an Aiki-Doodle-Dandy, an Aiki-Doodle do or die…."

If you don't hear Yankee-Doodle music when you read that, you probably won't get the regional humor. This might help, but I doubt it: http://www.contemplator.com/america/ydoodle.html


I've forgotten how much fun it is to dislocate a toe on my left foot, get mat burns on the top of my right foot (both before class), and then have to bow out of class to run to the bathroom in hopes of not puking in front of everyone (ukemi and motion sickness don't mix).


I got there early and started stretching. Patrick showed up and started laying out the mats. He's got a brown belt -- is getting married on Friday -- and his parents were there to take pictures (probably to use at the reception). I helped with the mats and got my first workout.

I was winded! I'm sooo out of shape!

Sensei showed up just as we were finishing with the mats. He helped me remember how to do ukemi -- "Let's remind your body of what it already knows."

My backward break falls were OK… but:
I wasn't getting my hips up off the mat well enough.
I was slapping too early.

My forward rolls were OK… but:
I was slapping the mat too late (I was leading with both hands, forgetting to put my trailing hand behind me)
My left-side roll kept going on an angle (I needed to pick my line and stick to it)
On my right-side roll I wasn't p ...More Read More
Views: 1338

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