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Tuesday night's class was my introduction to the wonderful world of pressure points (aside from wrist locks) in Aikido. I think Aikido is the only activity I've ever done where I can experience sharp pain and hilarity at the same time.
One technique that I got to demo with sensei involved me doing tsuki and sensei doing irimi and going down to one knee and basically pushing me down onto my stomach. From there he applied his yonkyo point to a pressure point in my calf. Ouch! Wow - that was a surprisingly intense pain which caused me to slap the mat with both hands. It was also really funny. Sensei kept applying the pressure over and over causing me to slap the mat like a fish out of water. It was more fun when I got to apply it to my uke a few minutes later.
Yesterday's class was the first class in a long time where I needed to do front ukemi and I think I did relatively well. It didn't hurt that my wife, now my sempai at gokkyu, was my nage. I can't remember the name of the technique, but it's the one where you hold uke's hand and put your other arm under their arm, lift up and throw down. Wheeee! At least I didn't get hurt and I think a few of my rolls were decent. I think after a few thousand more times I'll begin to get the hang of it.
Last night after practice, I did a bunch of front ukemi practice. Those rolls are the main thing keeping me from being confident about going to aikido class. I'm always worried that sensei is going to have us practice a technique with front ukemi. I think, though, finally, that I'm beginning to get the hang of it. The first roll I did last night was my old style barrel roll and I ended up landing pretty hard on my side. That hurts! I weigh too much to be doing that. I compensated and tried again. And again, and again and again. I didn't land on my side like that again, and according to Lindsay (now 5th kyu) I was doing pretty good. At least greatly improved.
As with all things in Aikido, I think if I can just do front ukemi another thousand ten thousand times, I'll be awesome!
Ok, so I haven't been keeping this up so well. Oh well. Anyways, this weekend I attended my first Aikido Seminar at my dojo. Our guest instructor was Peter Bernath, 6th Dan from the Florida Aikikai dojo. Woo boy! 6+ hours of Aikido instruction and it was pretty darned intense.
I've never worked on the mats with 30 to 40 people before. It was insane. No one got bad hurt and I didn't see any really bad collisions, though my wife got kicked in the head (not too bad, though). It was very interesting to see a very familiar and yet totally different style from Bernath Sensei. It was also a lot of fun working with some of my sensei's old classmates and other people I've never seen before. The crew from Prescott came down on Saturday giving the class a much needed influx of women. Without them the only women were my wife and another woman from the Chicago area.
Overall it was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to my next seminar. Hopefully I'll be ranked by then.