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My knees suck so bad ("How bad are they?" ) They are so bad, I dunno what the hell I'm gonna do on my test when it comes time to koshi.
Last nights class was practice for testing. Me up first: Koshi's are where I need the help and squating to get under uke is the hardest for me. Thankfully, Lan showed me a couple techniques where I more or less thorw the uke over my hip without nessecarily squating down to do it. Ryokatatedori Koshi (from a Tenchi type set up) and Shomenuchi Koshi (off of an iriminage set up.)
Right now, and as I think about it, I'll be working on some leg strengthening exercises, but I test in a week. Everything else I feel I can do. I'll get tired, but I'll manage somehow. But the knees... that's gonna suck.
Madrid is coming along on his 5th kyu test. He's still questioning himself, but I think we're breaking him of the habit... slowly but surely.
Lan is a good teacher on the mat. He really is in his element up there. It is obvious to see from his understanding of the technique that he has been involved in the martial arts for years and years. Fenching, SCA, Aikido... he's a fighter's teacher. He has a strong affinity for the art and that makes you enjoy it all the more. Good stuff!
Brandon! My gosh! That boy is getting good! He's got a love for aikido and a real desire to do as much as he can! His ukemi is very good, works on high falls every chance he gets, wore a hakama last night and didn't want to take it off or end
Another point I wanted to mention from Kato Shihan's seminar this past weekend was his use of atemi.
Atemi, Atemi everywhere! He didn't need to use it, actual phyically contacting atemi, but he showed where it was and could be. He used both Kiai and Physical Atemi often and used it to keep his uke off guard.
Speed is important. But just as important was his tai sabaki and atemi. The punches he threw were accurate, well timed and caused the uke to lose balance. Whether it was a punch to the face, upper body, groin (Yikes, but it was there) or kick to the gut (yes, the man can kick... and fast!) the atemi always caused the uke to react in such a manner as to be off balance.
Once off balance, Sensei could walk through the technique. Uke had no choice, being doubled over and arms flailing about like a drowning branch, he would just take the arm/hand closest to him and continue in a very nonchalant way of finishing the technique.
His kiai, and I mention this because there are a couple threads going about this subject right now, was loud and direct. It sounded low and gutteral, meaning from the gut and deep from within.
Another point about kiai that I think is often overlooked is the FACT that when you exhale, it causes you to relax. When you relax, you can do aikido. When you tense up and use muscle, you're not doing aikido. I really hope I learn how to use this to my advantage before my next test, otherwise I'm going to be exhausted really, really fast on my next
Oh my gosh... you have no idea unless you've seen the man in person. Awsome! He locked down on one uke so hard, it made ME tap out! LITERALLY! :lol:
Anyhow, Friday we left for a ten hour drive to Houston. Ugh! Long drive, but well worth it.
Things I picked up on:
1) Keeping everything in front of you. Sensei moves his hips so well, you barely notice what he's doing. You have to really pay attention to pick up his footwork, hips, getting off line... all of it. Everything stays right in front of him, so if he tenkans, he's chunking you and you better be ready to take the ukemi on it!
2) Posture. He is so relaxed, has such good posture. With the good posture comes the ability to tenkan very well and maintain your own balance. If you have good posture and extend your arms, then you will not muscle anything and you will let your hips do all the work, that is of course if you move them.
3) Relax! I did kokyu dosa with one of shihan's students (he brought two students from Japan with him, a guy and girl) and she allowed no connection until I finally relaxed. Once I did, she moved with the gratest of ease. I'm still trying to figue out this one. Though my knees are sore, I'm REALLY looking forward to doing kokyu dosa again so I can work on this.
4) Up, up, UP! Everything comes up! On our jo work, he corrected Couch on raising the jo high. He explained that back in the day, in kendo practice, if you struck shomen, you would hit the uke... sure. But if you RAISED yo
Lan taught last night. Last class before I go see Kato in Houston. REALLY looking forward to that!
Ikkyo from Shomenuchi. Worked with Fino on this one. My extension is so much better compared to just a year ago. Still working on Kato's footwork, however. For whatever reason, I keep thinking it is different from what I was learning four years ago, even though it isn't really. I need to work on the cut. I still grab too early when I need to cut the uke over completely then grab in preparation for the take-down.
Next, we worked on tenchinage. This is one I was really rust on a week ago. Last night was better, but with my height, I really need to concentrate more on the "earth" lower hand than I do the other. Lower my center down and extend back into the void. I guess that's what O'Sensei is talking about when he says to "blend" or "become one" with the void. If you take the uke to their weakest point, then that is what you are doing ... joining the void. Humph. Have to ponder that one.
Ryorandori? Ugh! Talk about work up a sweat! My feet are still to heavy. I have a nasty habit of planting my feet, dunno why. When I think "up" then it works so much better. Otherwise, I might as well be throwing buses or something.
Jason just joined us. He heard about Aikido of Midland through an on-line aquintence of mine and came last week to watch a class. Well, he came back last night and got a crash course in rolling 101. Crash being the opportune word as we all crash when learning to roll.
Anyhow, we worked alot last night with Madrid on his upcoming test techniuqes. He's really coming along nicely, but he's probably the first student I've ever seen who looks to Sensei BEFORE finishing the technique... for comment or something. He's not even done... yet he'll drop what he's doing, not finish the technique and then turn to Sensei like," What did I do wrong? or Was that okay?"
FOLLOW THROUGH! If aikido is ever going to work, forget about what anyone else thinks and finish the damn technique! LOL Silly goose.
Madrid has a lot of potential. His rolls are awsome, he takes great ukemi. When he follows through on technique, he nails me and I'm almost three times his size. LOL
Anyhow, did a little work on high falls, some shihonage, but mostly worked with Madrid.
I was just commenting on another blog when it occured to me: Aikido teaches itself! If you get the basics down from someone else, and have a partner to train with, you can pretty much count on aikido teaching itself to you.
Move from the hips.
Get off line
Re-direct uke's energy
These are the things you need to know. REALLY know. Then, through practicing techniques and focusing on these things... if you aren't doing one of them, the technique won't follow. Once you get it IN... then it works and you learn.
Just a thought...
Anyhow, last night's class was a good one. Did some more Iriminage off of a ten shin movement. My "mat rust" has really taken it's toll on me. I can't even remember basic footwork patterns, but shadow-boxing during the break brought to light some good things. Moving with hips... while moving the arms simultaniously...like a mobile (wind chime thingy?) is what I needed to do. Once I did that, I found a familiar arm position that can be found in: katame waza (ikkyo, nikyo, etc.) found in tenchinage, iriminage (obviously) and so much more.
SO... when you find yourself doing things similar to other techniques, if you think you're on to something, you probably are! LOL This may not make a lot of sense... I'm seriously tired right now, but I really feel like getting my thoughts out there.
One other thing: Had I not taken time off of the mat, I'd probably be 1st kyu by now. Sensei asked me last night when I w
Worked on ukemi a lot last night. Lan Sensei was heading up the class for Riggs Sensei. 4th kyu, non-kyu and me (2nd kyu) were there.
Concentrated a lot on setting up our body position for high falls. It just seems very intimdating to me to go over on a high fall for some reason. Being tall, taking falls isn't exactlly my most favorite thing to do. As disorienting as it is, getting up right away just isn't coming for me either.
We started out last night working on iriminage. We didn't just do the technique, we broke it into peices and did it in stages.
Tai sabake: We worked on arm position, deflection of the attack, and coming around to get behind the uke. I'm starting to get better about controling the head, bringing it into my shoulder. I used to have a lot of "back-off" on that, but I'm getting better. My hands are so big, however, that I have to be careful to really capture the shoulder and not just grab and end up choking the uke! LOL
Then we worked on the hips. Once you have the uke captured, using the hips to move the uke is very key and we focused a lot on that last night. Bending the knees, turning the hips, opening foot to open the hips... and RAISING the arm! I still slip back into dropping the arm a bit, but it's getting better now. Taking time to think and analyze while off the mat has helped a great deal to figure out why I'm doing things a certain way and why I shouldn't do other things. Keeping it all in front of me... very important.
My hip action is really coming into play. When I was throwing in iriminage last night, I kept feeling my hip bumping the uke. That is something Kato Shihan does all the time. Being a skinny little guy, it can hurt! But me, being big and fat (not really, but I'm not skinny either) I've got a little more padding to make it easier on the uke. But boy... do I nail them! Madrid was telling me it actually gives him a little boost to help him roll
I was talking with someone on the forums (James) who said something that really clicked for me. "If I grab someone... they become the sword."
SO.. tsuki kotegeishi - uke attacks with a punch to the chest. You turn tenkan, deflect the punch and catch the hand/wrist. Now your standing in mirror image of the uke, so... their hand becomes the handle of your "sword." You raise up the sword, pivot, step and cut! Makes total sense to me now.
We used to do a version where you brought the uke's arm almost straightt back, which if you are doing a cross cut (horizontal cut) that will work to. But in doing this, you have to be fast because if you're going slow, the uke has an opening and can punch you. If you raise up, their arm is in front of them the whole time and the uke would have to reach around him/her self in order to hit you. GREAT protection for the nage as well as continual taking of uke's balance.
I still have a long way to go, but last nights class was really good. We've been studying Kato Shihan's style and trying to get down the footwork, etc. for a while. For some reason, it was difficult to do before, but last night, it started coming easier to me.
Katatedori Ikkyo - Omote
On this one, we turn about 90 degrees and take a small step back with the outside foot. This whole time, Nage needs to keep good kokyu ho and bring the hands up, keeping them in front of their center the whole time.
Once Nage has their hands nearing chest level, deep step back with the inside leg and turn the hips to load it. Keep your knees bent and be ready to move! The hands... while maintaining kokyu ho, turn while staying in front of your center. As the hips turn, the arms will meet up with the arm of the uke. Nage does NOT reach over to capture the hand; instead, you just keep the kokyu ho hand position and catch the hand/wrist with that. Slide the inside hand up toward the elbow and REALLY EXTEND HERE!!! Extension is key here, because now...
Remember the loaded up leg? Got the hip turned over so that the leg is becoming a spring, arm is captured... now you pop! Launch! Turn the hips back into the uke, lifting at the elbow and cutting down and across with the captured wrist. Follow by stepping through with that loaded leg and cut the uke down to the ground here. Then do the pin.
On the Ura, similar set-up. The difference is that instead of stepping forward on the step through,