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Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > AikiWeb AikiBlogs > Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai

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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 817,418

In General It's good to be back Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #147 New 09-16-2004 03:25 AM
After over two weeks of pushing my physical and mental limits with the big conference for work, I'm happy to come back to the mats with a newfound sense of confidence in myself and what I can do. Suffice it to say, I was able to accomplish what I needed to despite a great deal of sleep deprivation and stress, and am proud to say that I did so with seemingly-abundant energy (!) and a positive attitude that I'm sure can be attributed to Aikido in some way, shape, or form. In true Aiki-fashion, I am now considering getting into Conflict Resolution (and/or possibly International Development) studies in the interim prior to --- or even instead of --- going into grad school (now that I know that I can "think on my feet" and can handle a lot of pressure). To me it's just "practical Philosophy", completely in line with everything else in my life (be it academic, volunteer, career, or martial-arts-wise).

But onto the good stuff...

In between a lot of Randori practice (lots of tanto stuff, thankfully), and test technique practice, things have been going well over the last few days since I've been back --- earnin' my water, that's for sure; just a couple of notes this time around, for Katatedori Iriminage and Kosadori Iriminage (Ai Hanmi)...

Katatedori Iriminage:
- the breakaway is not on a flat plane (like with Morotaedori) but sweeps upwards in a "U"

Kosadori Iriminage (Ai Hanmi):
- the breakaway starts with an upward motion (like the start of a shomunuchi bo ...More Read More
Views: 897

In General The Many Flavours of Nikkyo, Revisited Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #146 New 08-19-2004 11:04 PM
[Quote of the Day...
Sensei (instructing Steve on how he needs to break out of my grip before putting a particular kind of Nikkyo on me): "Her hand comes off,"
Me: "God, I hope not!"]

We haven't done much test stuff lately --- mostly basic techniques that the whole class can practice simultaneously --- so this will have to be a quick, "hit-and-run" journal entry so that I can jot some notes down and dash off again...we concentrated primarily on various types of Nikkyo tonight after Jo practice.

Shomenuchi Nikkyo

Omote: yet another reminder to myself that with considerably taller ukes, I can't push the arm back all the way --- the entry needs to be abbreviated somewhat, such that I have to absorb the strike downwards to my head slightly then dump the arm off and down to the side; turning with the hips more would help too. :-P

Ura: again, with taller ukes, I need to bring uke's hand down to my hip very quickly, keeping his arm in my centre and my own arms straight as I spiral-pivot downwards, dropping my weight and going down on one knee

One of the paired Nikkyo exercises (version number who knows what): just as with everything, having a weaker grip means that my grabbing uke's hand closer to the wrist is not as controlled as when I grab higher up on the hand (say mid-way or so, towards the base of the fingers).

Yes, I know...big yawn. I'm falling asleep just writing about it. :-P
Views: 1184

In General Bruised, Battered and Loving it (what else is new? Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #145 New 08-12-2004 09:14 AM
I got up this morning sore in four different places. That's a good sign. Pain reminds you that you're alive. It's helpful when you feel so overwhelmed by other parts of your life that your kneejerk reaction is to go emotionally numb. I'm looking forward to Jo practice tonight --- one of the things I really love about the weapons work we do is the spiritual release of having to kiai every time you strike. Often, I feel that it represents for me a roar from the bottom of my soul. Yup, I really get into it. I mean, how often do you get to really yell like that in your daily life? It's a good feeling, getting it out.

The test technique Garry and I worked on last night was Yokomenuchi Kokyunage, of which there are two varieties (we've worked on both in the past, but for the life of us couldn't recall how to do them, so yes --- I will be making some of those banal "instructional" notes here to remind me in future):

Version One - (generally if uke blocks with non-striking hand), Step back, grab uke's arm at wrist and upper arm and throw forward.

Version Two - (if uke does not block), Step forward, cut uke's striking arm down at the elbow, and with the other hand, atemi at his face/neck and throw downwards.

Reminder: We were going to work on the other Kokyunage on the test (from Ushiro Ryotekubitori) but didn't have enough time last night to let me have a go at it.

Sempai Jeff was out last night --- it had been some time, and it was so good to see him again - ...More Read More
Views: 878

In General Trying to Find My Aikido Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #144 New 08-03-2004 10:17 PM
It is with a substantial amount of relief that I can still say how, thankfully, work may have been keeping me from writing in my journal lately, but not so much from actual training. Just a little over a month remains until I will cross myself off the dojo attendance chart for the "hell week" that will be my work's conference...we'll have to see in the coming weeks whether or not I can still hold out going to class as often as I am.

Tonight, we worked mostly on Tsuki Ikkyo - tech notes (as usual):
- for omote, need to move forward before turning at the hips
- for ura, need to keep forward pressure through turn (as in irimi tenkan)
- for both, need to make sure uke's fist is in front of centre during opening move, and not too far away

Lately, we've been incorporating at the end of almost every class 10-15 minutes or so of slow Randori in pairs: we take turns as uke attacking randomly ten times. It's been a nice way to apply (well, in theory, hehe...) what we've learned, though I'm still of course at the point where there is a very limited repertoire I'm able to draw from; it's a bit of a rut, remembering only a few techniques in response to certain attacks. I do know, however, that this is simply because these are techniques we've done so often and that this repertoire will increase with time and experience.

As I go along, I find myself conflicted --- well, perhaps "conflicted" isn't the right word --- more like struggling to "find my Aikido". I know that how ...More Read More
Views: 753

In General On Wanting Your Uke Hard-Boiled, Not Over-Easy Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #143 New 07-14-2004 09:36 PM
The Rant du Jour: Ukes who let you have it WAY too easy
The Test-Technique du Jour: Tsuki Kaitenage

First, the Rant:

You know those ukes whose centres are a real challenge to take --- either
1. unintentionally (as in the case of those new to ukemi, or someone whose physique simply is not conducive to moving and responding to technique as smoothly or quickly as someone lighter, more flexible or more agile), or
2. intentionally (they are either the kind that is being helpful in trying to resist technique to show you that you still need to do something more to take their centre, or the kind that resists technique because they are arrogant jerks)
--- well, whichever type they are, I just so happen to like that kind of uke!

Unfortunately, it does occasionally come to pass that you get an experienced uke who simply lets you take their balance regardless of whether or not you really earned it. Man, do I ever hate that! I happen to enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out what extra adaptation I need to make in order to suit this kind of physical response and resistance to my technique, whether intentional or not. Even if I look silly in the process, or like I don't know what the heck I'm doing (which isn't really that far from the truth), I greatly prefer being given this opportunity in order to better hone my skills. If I never get the experience working with someone trying to resist technique, in a real-life situation, how am I supposed to be able to ...More Read More
Views: 752

In General The Infamous "No Pain, No Gain Tally" for July 4th Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #142 New 07-11-2004 10:11 PM

- The usual aches of my "nikkyo wrist" and big toe (from that old sprain) --- thankfully, I've been on the cancellation list with a nearby physiotherapist and was recently informed that they have a space for me this coming week

- Getting clocked in the middle of the forehead quite sharply as Sensei's training partner during Jo practice (which he attributed to having switched over to a different length of Jo than he was used to); so I've got this bump just above the eyebrow that still hurts to touch it or raise my eyebrows --- ha!

- Not having the time, or the inclination to write in my journal daily this week...is it apathy? Is it frustration? Is it simply that I recognize that I don't have anything valuable to say, and instead of wasting bandwidth, I've decided to spare you all the grief of reading yet another useless journal entry? Perhaps it's a little bit from Column A, a little bit from Column B...it's all a woven tapestry.


- I honestly wish I could cite something tangible, but I can't. Suffice it to say, I think I'm in a bit of a rut. I'm sure that in the long run, I'll see some big difference in my technique and performance, just like everyone else says, but for the time being, I fail to observe anything noticeable or significant enough to mention. It feels rather depressing, to be quite honest. But I manage to plug along, and train just as much as usual (4 days a week) despite being so busy at work that I realize t ...More Read More
Views: 680

In General More of Those Bloody Details Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #141 New 07-03-2004 07:13 PM
When Sensei asked on Wednesday if we'd prefer to work on test techniques, I had to raise an enthusiastic two hands; I have no idea how much time I'll have in the next two months with how work is really picking up...in the meantime, I'm holding out as much as I can and most of all, training as hard as I can.

More temporary dryness...

Wednesday night's test technique for me was Ushiro Ryotekubidori Shihonage. So many piddly little details, as always:
- needing to keep my hands in front of my centre constantly, especially while the intial leading
- for Omote, side-stepping across uke
- the turn over my head needs to take uke's centre
- then need to finish the throw while consistently leaning forward, not with hips back

Thursday night, we had a small class and decided to forego the Jo practice in favour of going over more test techniques. This time, it was Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi, of which we worked more on the "blending" version again:
- prior to the throw, there's a step back from which you generate more power in the turning with your hips to face 180
- as usual, I really need to work on my Kotegaeshi, particularly torquing uke's wrist more (tough to keep a good grip with my small hands, coupled with uke's sweaty hand...); then there's keeping my palm on uke's knuckle...gah!

Sometimes it seems like it's the same old, same old trouble areas for me, and so thankfully my ukes and I tend to slow it down to get the form right. As I've said before (in exaspera ...More Read More
Views: 638

In General Finding Power When You Least Expect It Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #140 New 06-29-2004 10:02 PM
Not much to note from Monday night's Tae Sabaki other than an interesting experience while working with Sempai Jim. We were doing the defense from tsuki where you stop uke's punch by driving into the crook of his elbow, then follow up with a strike to the collarbone or chest. I always have had a greater difficulty with doing this one on bigger, taller ukes due to it being such a direct entry, so just as with many other techniques, I have to enter in quite quickly to compensate.

Well, Jim, who is pretty much one of the heaviest of the tall students in the class, suggested to me that I might try moving in a little faster in order to take his centre better. So I thought, "okay!" and proceeded to crouch down a little more at the knees so as to spring forward ( la performing a tsuki with a bokken). I guess the timing must have been ideal and I must have sprung forward fast enough, because as Jim was beginning to come at me with his tsuki, I essentially plowed right into his elbow and knocked him completely down --- it happened so quickly, and without even having to do the follow-up strike. "Wow", is all I can say. The most surprising (and to me, impressive) thing about this, however, was that although it felt like I was impacting him strongly, it did not feel awkward or painful at all. It was as though I just popped into the space he had initially occupied. Ha. Of course, this only happened once, but...wow.
Views: 734

In General Getting into Gokkyo Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #139 New 06-23-2004 09:54 PM
[Quote of the Day: "It's the "Z" of pain," is how I described the Gokkyo pin to Sempai Jim.]

As you may or may not have noticed, I've been intentionally leaving out of my journal days during which I trained, but did not get the opportunity to practice any test techniques --- more out of a sense of brevity, a kind of economy of words and effort that I can't help but exercise these days due to being so very busy at work. (Which is probably why I'm now being extremely verbose --- I think I'm in Aikido-journal-writing withdrawal!) Actually, Sensei and I had a discussion about this just now after class. Out of a concern that I might be spreading myself too thin, he asked if I had set boundaries for myself with work. To this I replied yes, so long as they don't infringe on my Aikido! Working before it, coming in late after it, working extra on the weekends: that's all fine. But try to make me miss class, and I'll bite yer head off! Needless to say, Sensei was quite pleased.

We started out tonight with a slightly different warm-up than usual: we did some paired exercises --- mostly stretches, but also a very interesting shiatsu pressure-point manipulation up and down our partner's back (pairing this with focusing your ki through your hand, and breathing), as well as doing "travelling" ukemi all around the edge of the mat instead of lined up in a row like usual. All in all, it made for a nice, fresh change to the everyday routine.

The test technique I picked out for myself tonight (finally starting to get used to this --- heh) was Shomenuchi Gokkyo. [/quote] ...More Read More
Views: 1724

In General Nasty, Brutish and Short Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #138 New 06-20-2004 12:00 PM
...besides life, apparently refers to me. It can also refer to Kotegaeshi, as I've experienced it at the hands of some Sempai of mine --- my "Nikkyo Wrist", which I've had for over a month now, was actually caused by an overzealous Kotegaeshi coupled with my own inept ukemi for it

[Quote of the Day: "You're such a brute." Sensei teasing me after I do a round of Katatedori Kotegaeshi on him (hey, he asked me to really "give 'er!", so I did)]

It was one of those really small classes again on Friday night --- just me, Sensei, and the new guy; so we did the old standard of an informal, independent warmup followed by working on just the one technique throughout the evening, cycling through practice as a group of three.

Kotegaeshi has always been hit or miss for me. In this way, it's pretty much become symbolic of my own Aikido as a whole right now. There will be times when it feels just brilliant --- smooth, flowing, and makes my ukes yelp --- and other times when it feels sluggish and about as effective as doing Kotegaeshi on a dead horse, or my ability to come up with a decent analogy.

Thankfully, for the likes of me, there are enough newbies coming through the dojo on a regular basis that we are often forced to turn our attention time and time again to the basics. Goodness knows, I need it. Things I still need to pay a great deal of attention to re: Kotegaeshi include:
- Using the momentum of the initial tenkan to bring uke down low
- Taking care not to get crowded with my elbow over uke's arm during this
- Planting my back leg during the final turn into Kotegaeshi so as not to end up with my legs crossed, a [/quote] ...More Read More
Views: 796

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