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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: 817,568

In General Minor Disappointment and More Silly Details Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #60 New 11-08-2003 01:28 AM
Now let's see...tonight (Friday):

[Side Note: I really hate having to do separate journal entries back-to-back like this --- I mean, it does feel like a bit of a cop-out --- but then again, I don't want to let each of these entries get *too* terribly long, especially if they're regarding two separate training nights. But I suppose this can't be helped --- I'm so busy these days. Please bear with me. At any rate, I do hope that my ramblings aren't too much of a "waste of bandwidth"! ]

*Ahem* --- we had a small class today: just me, Tim, and Sensei. I think Sensei might have been a little disappointed that more students didn't come out tonight, especially since we had someone (read: potential new student) come in to watch the class. At any rate, I know I was somewhat disappointed. You know the saying, "there's strength in numbers"...I personally would have liked to see most of my classmates there to "show our strength" as a club, in other words, how well we work together and get along so well as a group. I really would have liked the guy to have seen more of this warm, cooperative, and supportive environment among the larger representation we have of students from diverse backgrounds and ages...but oh well --- it can't be helped.

Anyhoo. We started things off with Shomenuchi Yonkyo (Suwari Waza). I think I'm starting to get a hang of the timing of the initial entry, but I still need to keep my arms extended, especially while applying Yonkyo into the pin. That is, bend uke's arm (instead of my own) so that his elbow is down and lower than his wrist while I'm doing it. In essence, I should be paying more attention to whether or not I've maintained control of uke's elbow throughout as opposed to paying so much attention to the Yonkyo itself. I guess this latter aspect has been rather tough for me because I've always felt that I haven't been doing Yonkyo very well at all; I'm guessing it's due to having sm ...More Read More
Views: 726

In General "Interactive" Kata, and The Beginner's Blues Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #59 New 11-08-2003 12:35 AM
Last night's (Thursday) class was pretty typical in format, but certainly by no means boring or common in the least!

We started of with Jo practice as per "S.O.P." (Standard Operating Procedure, as my husband would say), and ran through the 13-step kata...then we ran through the kata (drum-roll please) in pairs. (!) Now, I had never done this before, so it was a heck of a lot of fun to see it all come together. Well, as much as it could come together --- there was a heck of a lot to remember too But I really loved adding this new dimension to the kata --- one in which things were suddenly more dynamic, and you had to be aware of the actions of another and your relation to him (both in position and energy), as opposed to simply following something that you had memorized. I do hope we can practice this more often!

The rest of the class was devoted to practice our centering and leading, and I'm glad we set aside time to do this.

[Side Note: One thing I wish we did more in class (even briefly) is practicing breathing --- if only to stop in the middle of a class to let all of my tense fellow-aikidoka get into the habit of relaxing. Luckily, I'm feel fairly relaxed most of the time (it probably shows), but sometimes I think I can also be too relaxed (ie. "wet noodle").]

But I digress. Heh --- I could say that I'm feeling some progress in this area (Ki development, centering, etc.), but that would be quite untrue . I'm certainly not letting it get me down, though; I'm just letting things come as they may and continuing to do my best.

I recognize that this is not uncommon --- that many other beginners such as myself also have trouble in these areas initially and pay more attention to technique. So I am working to keep myself "balanced" in a manner of speaking, by discussing my own tech ...More Read More
Views: 882

In General Settling In Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #58 New 11-06-2003 04:20 AM
--- from chaos to order, possibly in more ways than one...

Things have been rather hectic for me lately, what with organizing things at work for the move to the second floor and in addition, having recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of Women's Health Clinic as volunteer rep. So I've had to do a bit of shuffling around of my schedule to accommodate the board meeting on the first Tuesday of the month --- which is when I'd normally be at the dojo for Randori/Jiyu waza night, so I decided to miss ESL volunteer teaching this week (luckily, it's casual volunteering) to come out on a Wednesday night for once. I'm glad I did.

Wednesday nights at the dojo are generally pretty quiet with the class small, and last night was no exception --- just me, Sensei and Sempai Tim. On nights like this, Sensei usually lets us concentrate for some time on just one or two techniques, which I really appreciate. Last night we practiced in rotation as a group of three, starting with Shomenuchi Sankyo (Suwari Waza). Happily, doing this in Ura is starting to feel less awkward, and I think I'm getting a little more adept at making the hand change into Sankyo prior to the pin. Yay for me. Baby steps, I know, but it's encouraging nonetheless.

After this, we continued to work in rotation, but interchangeably on different techniques: Tim with Ushiro Ryotekubidori Shihonage, Sensei with Morotaetori Ikkyo, and me with Shomenuchi Nikkyo. Aside from the usual fine-tuning of timin ...More Read More
Views: 744

In General Getting tired of the details... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #57 New 11-04-2003 01:08 AM
...but for now, it can't be helped, and here is yet another dry entry on the mechanics of technique.

We started things out with Bokken practice as usual, and spent a fair amount of time on the Eight Directions kata in particular. This was especially helpful to me, as I still haven't quite got the hang of a couple of parts of it. Sensei went into a great deal of detail, particularly of the footwork aspect of it, which always had me muddled (not to mention tripping over my own feet during the wider turns). What really drew my attention was how learning that one's footwork (that is, in how one turns their feet into the next strike) made a rather big difference. So no more tripping over my own feet --- yay! Or at least a reduced number of incidents of it...

Later, we worked on Shomenuchi Ikkyo (Suwari Waza) to start off the "regular" portion of the class. I'm still working on getting the timing of the opening down pat, essentially becoming a "mirror" of uke, as well as synchronizing this initial block with my first, deep stride and extending myself fully and at a 45 degree angle to uke to really take his balance.

We went on to practice some Katatedori Kokyuho, where, after some initial confusion on my part, I finally got it into my thick skull not to tenkan. After this, I got to realizing how much the power of this particular technique really comes from the hips in lieu of there not being a tenkan.

While my Sempais practiced Tsuki Kaitenage and the ...More Read More
Views: 658

In General Pain, sweet pain... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #56 New 11-01-2003 01:16 AM
...how I have missed you.

I wish our Internet connection were more reliable lately (we had made some drastic changes and a lot of bugs still need to be worked out) as I've been missing chances to post entries for a few training days, such as yesterday's class. Now for the life of me, I've forgotten what we did...Ah well, in keeping with "Randori philosophy", I'll just forget it and move on.

We did the ever-popular "kicking" defenses class tonight, hence the very explicit title. Folks don't generally look forward to this class --- they say the ukemi is awkward (which it is), and that being uke is painful (which it most certainly is). But either I'm unbelievably naive (or unbelievably masochistic --- maybe it's a bit of both), but I actually don't mind doing them...if only because we don't do them often and we really need the practice.

(Just as an aside, since the first kicking class I did a while back, I had been making a point of practicing my kicks along with my other atemi in the mornings --- I had only practiced kicking sporadically as an offshoot of being in Sikaran as a kid, and had never even done the "crescent kick" before; so compared to how I did this miserably during my first kicking class, I've noticed a marked improvement, especially on my "weaker" left side. Yay for me.)

After all, the likelihood of getting kicked in an actual combat scenario is a big thing to consider and for the sake of readiness, I'd rather be...well, ready. Besides, we ...More Read More
Views: 1045

In General Randori Therapy ;-) Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #55 New 10-30-2003 12:49 AM
Tuesday night was Randori/Jiyu Waza night as usual, and to prep for this, we worked on a nice variety of techniques for Tsuki and Shomenuchi attacks --- particularly: Shomenuchi Iriminage, Shomenuchi Kotegaeshi, Tsuki Iriminage, and Tsuki Kotegaeshi.

I'm finding more and more that there really isn't anything quite like Randori to clear one's mind. You can get so immersed in it, so caught up in the very moment of just being and doing that there is simply no time to be frustrated! So you mess up and move on. No time to dwell on it or give it great thought, because here comes another attack.

The other thing I also wonder, as I mused to Sensei afterwards, is how much of it is also a greater willingness to not take as much responsibility for your technique as when you do techniques more slowly. Perhaps one feels like they have greater leeway in doing Randori to say, "Oh well, so I messed up a few times --- it's alright because we were going fast and I didn't have time to think", so it's as though we disown our technique --- we figure there's no need to dwell on it, and brush it off right away. On the other hand, perhaps it's when you're practicing techniques slowly and deliberately and then mess up, that you're a lot harder on yourself because you actually had the time to put some thought into your technique but screwed up anyway.

Looking forward to that one fine day when I can happily "own" every technique I do, especially in Randori.
Views: 762

In General Yuki Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #54 New 10-28-2003 05:07 PM
I figured that it might be nicer to name this entry "Snow", after having the first snowfall of the year just yesterday...well, nicer than naming it "Heavy and Weighed Down", or the equally unpoetic "I Hate Ikkyo" title I likewise had in mind. I'll just have to save those for another day, as I'm sure they will be relevant for me again and again.

I suppose for the sake of accuracy, I should say, "I hate feeling clumsy." which is really how I feel. After all, it's not Ikkyo's fault I feel this way. I mean, Ikkyo's just fine...for everyone else...it's me that's all messed up. For whatever reason, more than likely because I hadn't kept myself well-hydrated yesterday, neglecting to drink much water before heading off to class, I spent last night not only feeling parched, but like I was dragging this enormous weight around inside. And I don't mean the good, magical kind that keeps you centered and with weight underside. Or at least this is how I felt whenever I was nage.

It got to the point where I really relished my turns being uke, particularly the not-having-to-think-only-react part of it. It was like having a little rest break between rounds of unending frustraton. I almost got way too comfortable on the mat; getting pinned was actually quite relaxing to me...lying there, unmoving, the mat nice and cool against my hot, sweaty cheek. I probably could have fallen asleep there, watching the falling snow.

But I didn't. I didn't want to let my frustrations ...More Read More
Views: 745

In General Figuring Things Out :) Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #53 New 10-25-2003 12:16 AM
We had just a small group of us tonight (me, Dave, Sempai Jim & Sensei) but as always made the most of it. It's always nice to get the opportunity to focus on just a couple of wazas for an entire class, and tonight just so happened to be one of those nights. We began with some Shomenuchi Sankyo (Suwari Waza) and finished up with Katatedori Kaitenage.

Shomenuchi Sankyo (Suwari Waza) is starting to feel a lot less...daunting...than it used to be, though it still has its awkward moments when my timing is off. I still need to remember:
- there are just three "stepping" movements
--- the initial "step" in (deeply, in my case) for Omote, at the same time as the upward block, a second "step" with the rear leg after the Sankyo hand-change forward and into the mat, and a third which arranges uke into the Osae
- with Ura, after the initial "tenkan"/pivot and hand-change, bring uke's arm outside/around me (not between us) and down to the mat
- with the Osae, wrap fingers around uke's hand instead of clamping down flat

I've been finding it relatively easier (read: less strenuous, not less difficult/challenging --- hehehe ) to do the Ura versions of wazas --- I'm guessing because I'm entering indirectly and thus going with the flow of Uke's energy instead of entering directly (as in Omote) and almost blocking it directly. In any case, doing Ura just feels like a smoother set of movements for me, possibly because I'm not taking the full force of the atemi head-on.

K ...More Read More
Views: 678

In General Contact Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #52 New 10-23-2003 10:33 PM
It was a fairly typical Thursday night, starting off with some Jo practice --- mostly running through the katas, etc. (I really need more practice on the 31-step...we don't run through it all that often, so I don't yet know it from memory --- this aside, I think I kept up pretty decently, considering ).

Afterwards, we did a variety of waza from Ushiro grabs, such as Kokyuho and Shihonage to name just a couple. I got to thinking more about the role of one's awareness of contact in terms of honing that "sixth sense" that one needs for such techniques; I think I might have touched upon this in an entry on "Feeling Uke", but of course, here it is again.

I suppose one of the more obvious things that makes Aikido unique from other martial arts is that one intentionally maintains a kind of continuous contact with one's attacker --- notwithstanding grappling and wrestling arts such as Jiujutsu and Sumo, the other "punching and kicking" martial arts are based upon quickly subduing one's opponent from more of a distance and thus with as little contact with them as possible (ie. strike and recoil; jab and chamber, in the case of punching).

Now, the way I see this is that the less contact, the less risk to oneself. Aikido then, in contrast, puts one at greater risk by prolonging contact with one's opponent. In doing so, it likewise requires a greater confidence and/or faith in that one can successfully control another person in close quarters, and blend with their en ...More Read More
Views: 950

In General [Poem] I Will Not Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #51 New 10-23-2003 12:00 PM
Originally written on 05.20.03, but once again, I find that I need to revisit it:

I will not
be bound
by your words, and

I will not
to your terms.

You think
that I should
give a damn?

But you
can't tell me
who and what I am!
Views: 663

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