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Journey of 1k steps Blog Tools Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-29-2008 12:36 PM
Diane Stevenson
Just a returning student determined to stay in it for the long-haul, insha'allah. A blog to stay focused, stay motivated and gain insight.
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 21
Comments: 8
Views: 81,671

In Spiritual Get out of the way Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #21 New 01-18-2009 01:54 PM
Get out of the way

The last bit of any technique which ends with uke falling: get out of the way. Take shomenuchi kotegaishe for example. Get off line, steppin to about 90 of uke's line. Blend brushing nearest hand down uke's arm to his wrist, draw him down into slightly over extended forward. Keep his center in front of yours, tenkon: he is depending on you for balance. Maintain your own extension to keep his wrist, elbow, shoulder locked. Cut across and down uke's center , just when he starts to move, get out of the way by stepping forward foot back and turning hips.

If you do everything right, but you don't get out of the way, well, it's not a throw. Gravity can't act on uke because you're blocking the way.

There's an interesting analogy there.

Seems like the whole idea, or at least a primal concept of aikido is to take uke's balance such that gravity has its way. Thus, uke really throws himself, I only facilitate the process. In fact, when we add dynamic movement to technique -- which we are now doing more of towards the end of class -- uke's own momentum and off-balanced-ness (not sure how else to phrase that) puts most, if not all, the intensity on the joint lock or the projection.

So often in life I need to get out of the way. Sometimes it's an issue of letting someone else do it. This is more like training with a friend at the dojo. My son needs to clean the kitchen himself, his own way; if I stay in the way and do it, he will never le ...More Read More
Views: 1983

In Training animal or mineral? Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #20 New 12-09-2008 11:23 PM
Sensei seems to have been doing a lot of reflection on his goals as a teacher, lately. Our classes have gone from being a series of 4 to 6 inter-related techniques down to 2 or maybe 3 with a lot of attention to detail, blending, technique. It doesn't feel as physically demanding (although my fitness has come a long way this year, so maybe it's more a function of that), but it's harder too.
Sometimes I feel like a stone with water pouring over it. I get wet, but nothing sinks in. I have to let go of frustration and move slowly, not out-pace my ability to feel uke's balance, to lead and stay close, keep control, move uke around my center.

Cross hand grab. Lead with the fingers, roll palm up (heaven), take uke's balance. Step in close, cut down to center. Roll the ball between the hands as hips turn back across uke's center. Uke falls.

Cross hand grab. Lead with fingers, roll palm up (heaven), take uke's balance. Step in close, cut down to center. Slide in a bit continue the circle, start uke moving THEN tenkon. Spiral uke down to pin with center.

This is what we did for most of the class. Right hand, until we got it at least once, left hand the same, switch. And it was a good class. I learned a lot: that I do know something, that there is a lot I have to master. So much of everything else will fall into place when this becomes smooth.

Maybe, then it's not so bad to be a rock under the waterfall. Maybe I can never hope to be a sponge, just a ...More Read More
Views: 1974 | Comments: 2

In General evasion and blending Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #19 New 11-20-2008 11:36 PM

Learning a martial art means not only shaping physical behaviors, but also changing mental and emotional reactions. Apart from any kind of training, my first, most natural reaction to sudden conflict is fear; sometimes causing me to freeze, sometimes to lash out, sometimes to run away. The success of any of these reactions is mostly dependant on luck, so any martial art must also address mental and emotional condition in the first moments before contact is even made between combatants. In my experience of Aikido, two particular concepts are taught that address our need for successful resolution of conflict; evasion and blending. Evading an attack is an obvious goal to any seeking training; not getting hit is a good goal. Blending seems much riskier, even counter-intuitive. Technique-wise, it certainly takes long years of diligent training to master. So before going too far down that path, it seems a good question to consider: what is the difference between evading and blending, and is blending a superior approach?

Learning to evade an attack is not necessarily an easy thing. Being able to react without fear, flinching or panic to a weapon swinging with speed and force at your body, particularly your face, is not natural. It takes time to learn timing, to be able to judge the direction and speed of a strike. You can't move the same way to evade a round-house and a straight in punch. As for the panic factor, well, it takes more than a couple of ...More Read More
Views: 1988

In Spiritual The weakest part of the body Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #18 New 11-07-2008 02:20 PM
*warning: christian content *

Katatatori Nikkyo: offer target, palm down. Trap hand and adjust center slightly offline, along uke's forward shoulder. Reconnect center with Uke's center, Polishing the mirror clockwise, at a 15 degree ascension off horizontal, brushing uke's forearms with fingertips. LEAD WITH FINGERTIPS Roll Uke's forearm to center. Look for sweet bend in wrist, forearm parallel to floor. If projecting or moving to tekon, put Nikkyo on just enough to kink out hip. Otherwise continue to roll to center, moving out of the way so Uke has room to fall.

So last night the entire key for me was to lead from my fingertips instead of pushing with my wrist. The latter leads to total failure of Nikkyo. A few times I managed to lead with my fingertips, and a huge difference was felt by both myself and Uke. Why is it so difficult to do that? I often feel like I'm trying to dial in a radio station, but the tuning knob moves too fast and I keep whizzing past the station. Kokyuho is the same thing. In swariwaza, sweep the mat with your fingertips, and uke cannot resist. Try to force uke's hands to the mat and we'll be there all night trying to make THAT work (ugh).
For some reason I am compelled to reflect on Pauls comments about the Body of Christ. In 2 Cor 12 he writes:
"18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but o
...More Read More
Views: 3780

In General speedbumps... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #17 New 11-01-2008 02:15 PM
Well, I suppose I am in a training "trough" as opposed to a "peak" this month.

It seems like my rolls are lumpy, I keep forgetting to tuck my chin on back fall, and I thump my knees when practicing shikko.

It all started in September, when the yudansha started leaning on me when I took too long to complete shionage. It's kind of humiliating to be used as a leaning post Perhaps I lost my center when I started to get frustrated about that, because everything just started to go south after that.

Part of me gets that this is the end of the beginning and the percursor to REALLY beginning. I have a lot of the vocabulary, I know how things "should" go, I can see and feel more about how things go. But I can't reliably pull things off on a consistant basis. Yet.

We just spent two classes this week on iikyo. Part of me feels like a kid with a broken toy. It isn't working. I know it's time to quit at the end of class, but I can't help wishing I could spend just 30 more min, but then knowing that it's more a matter of letting what we practiced in class "sink in" doing what I can at home to "walk thru" the technique, and then coming to the next class with a fresh body and a mind clear of frustrations/expectations.

On the upside, I'm acting as sempai for class a few times a month when Brian isn't there. Thursday we were projecting a throw from iikyo, almost a kitieinage throw. I swear, it's the first time I wish I had taken a breakfall -- Sense ...More Read More
Views: 1682

In Training Training snapshot: day 4 Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #16 New 10-24-2008 05:11 PM
So, today started out as walk the dog, but it was so nice out and I really did feel like stretching my legs a bit. The dog walk turned into my workout.

1 mi "interval" training: mostly walk, some: jog, high step, run.
2 sets sit-ups: 15 crunch, 15 left, 15 right, 15 reverse
2 sets 15 45-degree-angle push ups
a bit of tsai subaki and hapkunundo
1 mi walk/jog

Class last night was good. Looks like we have a new student. Practicing yoga yesterday reminded me to be patient with myself, and as I was driving to the dojo, I started thinking and praying about that old catichism question: what is the chief end of man? response: to know God and enjoy Him forever.

Reminded me that the "chief" end of Aikido (for me anyway) is not about rank or even achieving mastery. After all, there's no guarentee that I'll ever "get anywhere" - the old, "you could get hit by a bus tomorrow" thing. The chief end for me is to enjoy the integration of mind and body.

OK, that sounds really aikikai. No offense, Aikikai is an honerable style, but it's not mine. I am studying a "harder" form, and I love the physicality of it; the martial effectiveness brings it on like a force of nature.
Views: 1521

In Training Training snapshot: day 3 Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #15 New 10-23-2008 04:43 PM
Ok, well it looks like day 3 is a "down" day. Between working hard with Erica Tesday and being "demo" uke that night in class, I am still sore.

Training today consists of about 45 min midday stretching and trying some yoga: Sun salute, gate, boat, bharadvaja's pose 1, locust, camel, plow.

Class tonight, too.

I suppose I shouldn't be too dissappointed, after all I'm doing ALOT more than I was this time last year. At 45, I'm just not going to change my body as quickly as I could at 25.
Views: 1504

In Training Training snapshot: day 2 Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #14 New 10-22-2008 02:01 PM
today is cardio:

swimming: 1K total, in sets of 100 m, free style, cruise

my cruise now is about 3min, so that's about 35 min worth of swimming.

So last night I was senior student, and "demo uke". The swimming has given me enough conditioning to end the class without becoming a mouth-breather. At sea-level. Denver is going to require a bit more, I suspect.
Views: 1574

In Training Training snapshot: day 1 Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #13 New 10-21-2008 11:30 AM
ok, back to the origional purpose of this blog; to keep focused. I promised myself I would post a week of workouts, just to have a benchmark. But I asked myself, can I stay honest and actually DO what I posted. So, I'll post 6 consecutive days, starting with today and use that as a snapshot for my workout records.

So today:
am -- strength training with Erica:
free leg press: (45 lbs, 15 reps) x 3
1 leg stand up: (12 each leg) x 2
Nitro incline press: (20 lbs, 12 reps) x3
push ups (knees): 10, pos., 5 negatives
nitro shoulder press: (20 lbs, 12 reps) x3
knee raises: 12 x3
back extension: 15 x2
reverse crunch: 12 x 2

pm: Aikido class
Views: 1659

In Spiritual By Grace Alone Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #12 New 09-11-2008 04:57 PM
Med -- I couldn't help myself. I liked your poem so much I had to try my hand at it. This is not meant to be in competiton with, or a rebuttle to yours -- just an exploration of my aikido.

Harmony with Love
Submit my will, my desires,
to the Lover of my soul.
Grace, all sufficient, balances everything.

Creator's Breath, Starwind
Co-mingled with my breath.
Inhale: I am made brighter than any star.
Exhale: Your grace offered to the world.

Revelation in Mercy
Each step faithfully guided.
My blindness diminished by Light.
My legs strengthened by Grace.

The Wind lifts my wings to flight
Following the path older than stars.
All obstacles naught but refining fire:
Love restores my harmony. I am home.
Views: 1697

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