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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 10:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 659,734

In General Can't Leave Home Without It Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #18 New 08-31-2003 06:04 PM
Last Wednesday, we concentrated on a lot of Yokomenuchi Shihonage --- a pain to some of the guys, but not so much to me, perhaps because I am shorter or perhaps because I remember doing so much Shihonage with my first Sensei.

Our trip to Minneapolis has been extended due to my husband's work (we're down here until this Wednesday, though we had intended just to be here for the long weekend). Which means that we can only come in to train twice a week for two weeks in a row. I joked to Dave that Sensei will be so displeased about it that I'd may as well draw the "" faces next to our names on the attendence roster myself.

Though I didn't bring my dogi with me on the trip so I could visit other dojos (maybe next time!), I did bring along someone's copy of Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings" from the dojo and I'm about 3/4 through it as we speak. So I've at least been keeping my mind active (even if my body hasn't been).

I'm finding that a lot of the strategies Musashi describes are ones that Sensei asks us to apply not only in bokken practice but in Aikido as well. Happily, I'm also reading a great deal about the martial spirit --- something which I feel strongly about and which I believe holds great importance in combat. And (this will come as no surprise to anyone) I am reading that for the most part, the skills of combat strategy (such as timing and intuition) can only be gained through practice and experience.
Views: 449

In General Back to Basics Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #17 New 08-25-2003 09:06 PM
No Bokken tonight (*sniffle*), just Tae Sebaki. Which is fine, as I need all the help I can get It was mostly opening moves to begin to counter Yokomenuchi this time (which eventually leads into Shihonage, etc.)

Getting back to basics really forces me to take stock of how effective my technique can or can't be. I suppose in this way I kind of do like working on fundamentals...even though it's frustrating at times, especially being a petite woman having to contstantly adapt my technique in ways that the other guys don't have to worry about. But I like to think that in the end, the extra challenge will make me even more skilled and quick to adapt to attackers. I like being kept on my toes like this. After all, the last thing I want to be is complacent.

And yes, I made darn sure to have some really good meals before training today.
Views: 610

In General This Week's No Pain, No Gain Tally Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #16 New 08-22-2003 07:52 PM

- one sprained big toe from Thursday night's "tug of war" rooting exercise


- a bit of fun taking Sempai Tim's balance a few times during Thursday night's "tug of war" rooting exercise (fun because he's more than twice my size)

- some (greatly appreciated) extended time training one-on-one with Sensei during Monday night's Tae Sebaki; not something he does with students often, but when he does, it's a very enlightening experience for the student!

- a greater appreciation of a good meal in relation to training: I never want to skip meals again --- I need my fuel!

...okay, I'm done --- the sushi's here! Woohoo! (Wonderful husband) Have a good weekend, folks!
Views: 540

In General Catharsis Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #15 New 08-22-2003 07:36 PM
I had such a bad night, I feel the need to redeem myself --- at the very least by considering it in retrospect then using that insight to make sure it never happens again.

I know my mistake: not eating properly today. I was in a hurry and had a very meagre breakfast, followed working and running errands entirely through lunch. The next thing I knew, it was the end of the day, I'd be heading out to Aikido soon and I had very little to eat. Never again!

Not surprisingly, I was running on empty. It was so bad, our usual ukemi drills wore me down. So my ukemi sucked even worse than usual. Which is pretty bad.

I mentioned my folly to Dave and Sempai Garry, but they say they didn't notice; that I looked like I was doing well. Hah. Well, I certainly didn't feel it. Though I'm sure Sensei noticed.

Other than feeling like I had a ton of bricks in my stomach, it was a good night. We did some Kaishi Waza (reversals) from Shomenuchi Ikkyu, and I enjoyed seeing such a nice variety of options. Another downside of this whole thing is that for the life of me, I can't recall many details at all --- I've been hungry to the point of distraction!
Which is not good.

Lesson learned.

Views: 655

In General This Week's No Pain, No Gain Tally Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #14 New 08-16-2003 12:58 AM
- large shin bruise
- sore/tight around back of neck, shoulders

- very good ukemi advice
- Huzza! Finally picked up some Arnica Cream "for sore muscles and injury treatment", so this should hopefully cut down my Pains list.

I love the name of this cream --- it's called "The Rub", so I'm looking forward to one day seeing it lying around somewhere and proclaiming, "Aye, there's the rub." Teehee! (Apologies for the Hamlet joke, but any opportunity to quote Shakespeare is a good one.)

Have a great weekend, everybody!
Views: 608

In General My Bad Ukemi ;-) Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #13 New 08-16-2003 12:47 AM
...perhaps isn't all *that* bad, but certainly could get better if I continue to remember the following things (as I've been told).

Ushiro ukemi:
- aim a few feet ahead when doing initial turn out and backwards with rear leg (gives more momentum to roll)
- keep chin tucked in and focus on centre/obi knot (for better roundness)
- arch back more! I seem to be relaxed while rolling (good in itself, but so much so that I apparently have a tendency to crumple in/flatten out a little)
- inner elbow should stay close to inner knee (to help keep knee off mat)
- use hands (knife-edge) more to push up and off mat
- fling outer leg back, keeping it straight and landing with this foot flatly in position for hanmi (instead of on toes as I have a bad habit of doing)

Tobu ukemi:
- bring grasping hand into centre (not side of hip); should help body land straighter (instead of over-rotated, which puts you in a position to bang your knees severely on the mat --- as I have found out the hard way :-P)
- tip over (not straight down but) leaning ahead slightly, as if to project forward
- "mat slapping"-hand should be out and back well before body hits the mat, and should be right next to body (not outwards at an obtuse angle from it ie. 45 degrees, as I am in the habit of doing)

The time Sensei took to go over the basic elements of rolling (and critique us individually) was widely appreciated --- there were a lot of unexplained details that many of us found were never brought to ...More Read More
Views: 810

In General Throwing My Weight Around (and then some) Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #12 New 08-06-2003 11:30 PM
Spent the night practicing Katatedori Koshinage with Sempai Jim, as in the past I have had very little opportunity to do so. Koshinage is also something that has been a bit of a bane to me, being a slight 105 lbs and generally unaccustomed to having to carry the weight of someone my own size, what's more someone considerably larger than I am --- like Jim, who is apparently the heaviest person in the dojo. What little I had practiced of it in the past would typically end in disaster: mostly with uke's weight throwing me completely off balance and us both toppling in a big, ungainly heap.

After tonight's Koshinage Fest, however, things are looking up. I'm still far from the "easy-as-pie 1-2-3: Koshinage Magic!" that everyone else seems to have, but am happy to report that it may very well be that some of that magical Koshinage mojo is finally rubbing off on me too (possibly through osmosis, but more plausibly because I've been told to pay attention to the following details). Now, if only I can remember:

- to enter so that my stance is perpendicular to uke's, deep enough that my inner foot is between uke's feet
- when "loading" uke, because of my height, I do not need to crouch very low at all to get under him (also, I need to break my habit of bending my inner knee and tilting my hips towards uke in an attempt to get under him; my hips should be straight and my legs both evenly bent to avoid such strain)
- I need to keep my lead (grasped) arm pointing up and ex ...More Read More
Views: 569

In General No Pain, No Gain Tally (for the Week of July 21-25 Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #11 New 07-26-2003 12:28 AM
- Mostly aching in the: shoulders, mid-back, thighs, and inner arms

- Added flexibility! I'm sure the guys in my dojo would love to smack me silly over this, since I'm pretty darn flexible already, but: as of a few weeks ago, I noticed that I can now stretch forward and down towards each leg from a seated position and touch my forehead to my knee --- and hold it there. Yay! I haven't been able to do that since I was 10.
- Finding myself remembering more details about the techniques we practice, and being able to write them down (hopefully in a somewhat coherent fashion) while going over what we did in my mind --- very useful!

And last but not least:
- Water has never tasted so good before.
Views: 630

In General Notes to Self Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #10 New 07-26-2003 12:13 AM
So we're back into the swing of things again(as the aching in my body tells me). Ah pain, my old friend...how I have missed you.

Friday night's techniques included --- new stuff (at least for me)! Yay! We did a lot of Ushiro stuff tonight...

Shomenuchi Iriminage (Suwari Waza) -

Remember to:

- control the head at all times: transition from control by one hand to the other should be continuous
- settle: with arms both outstretched and extended

Ushiro Ryotedori Kokyunage (both static and dynamic):

Static, where both wrists are pinned back together tightly...

- "pin" inside wrist to hip during initial turn towards back leg in order to gain control
- slide forward to take uke's centre prior to attempting to raise arm
- extend lower arm parallel, up to shoulder height, instead of leaving dangling at waist
- make sure high arm and uke's arm are not only above but in front of you as well to ensure that you have taken his balance even prior to attemping the throw (I noticed that this is very similar to shihonage, where the arm is once again ahead of you and you turn swiftly, making sure your hips are back in order to keep it in front of your forehead)


- immediately bring high hand down to centre once grabbed to maintain control
- before throwing, step forward with rear leg and continue stepping forward in a circular path to both lead uke and regain balance
- during throw, settle down into a kneeling position on the spot instead of le ...More Read More
Views: 672

In General My Sensei's Back Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #9 New 07-24-2003 01:17 PM
...and there's gonna be trouble. (Hey la! Hey la! My Sensei's back!) --- Everybody sing along!

Actually, there wasn't *that* much trouble. He was merciful, and we had a relaxed class and practiced some lower impact rolls.

While our sempais worked on their 4th kyu stuff, Dave and I practiced Ryotedori Tenchinage for the very first time. Up until now, I had only ever watched it be performed by my sempais for their 5th kyu test. I think having seen it so many times before definitely helped me catch on to it easier (perhaps subconsciously).

Notes to self on Ryotedori Tenchinage - remember to:

re: First movement
-swing lower hand out more to the side than straight forward to "stay at the edge of uke's power"; roll hand outwards at wrist (as always) to facilitate this
-go deeper on first step out the side in order to account for taller ukes (such as Dave)
re: Second movement
-roll wrist of upper hand out and around slightly as I bring it down over uke
-time stepping in: wait until uke is more off balance by the upper hand movement first
re: Ending
-settle solidly with arms (instead of that tired flopping thing I was doing with them out of exhaustion

Now, if only I can make this a habit!
Views: 885

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