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Last night, I taught class again. I've been trying so hard to stay away from teaching, but when the time comes, I step up and teach. Funny thing is that I learn so much more from teaching.
It's so hard to explain in words what I realized last night. Let's just say that it's hard to explain the stuff that you can't explain. I think that about sums it up.
The techniques that I am focusing on are designed to use the force and the energy of the person attacking to throw, pin or subdue him/her. The only way to learn how to do this is to actually have someone attack you. That in itself is a great feat, and the first very important step to learning the techniques.
If you think carefully about it, by trying to throw or pin your partner, you are actually attacking them.
So then, what do we focus on? Harmony, Peace, Love,…… Easy to say, easy to read, but how do we do it?
One important point: the person that is doing the technique is the one that needs for focus on these things, not the one attacking, he/she needs to focus on attacking.
Sounds kind of hard to be able to flip your mindset so fast while you are training. You attack four times, left…right…left…right, then you have to change your mindset to Harmony, Peace, Love, and get attacked four times, then back to attack mode.
I guess that is an important part of learning the technique…..flexibility of mind.
Last night, was by far the toughest class I've had to deal with these days.
I started off with 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 back extensions, 50 squats.
I was sore from the previous days work out, and felt like I had no strength left in me for class.
Every single technique throughout the class was impossible. No one could I throw, No technique could I perform.
Totally stuck, with everyone, with every attack.
I felt worthless by the end of the class, exhausted and spent.......
I have to admit, though, I was the only one that made the whole class with out having to take a rest......must be back in shape.
I had the most interesting conversation with Mike W. while he and Panda Conqueror were trying to catch their breaths after training with me.......
Can't remember the exact words, but Mike kind of asked me (because I couldn't perform a single technique on him) Is it OK for me to keep getting you.....
For my personal training and my personal Aikido, it's not how many times you get the technique, but how many times you fail.
If I get attacked 10,000 times and can truly perform the technique once, then for me that's great......why......truly because uke is attacking me.
It doesn't matter how long you've done Aikido, the only thing that truly matters is the moment. A beginner can perform the technique better than someone that has been doing aikido for 50 years, if he is there at the moment. Some people call it luck, some people call it "the zone",
Last night I had a wonderful time teaching the class. Don couldn't make it to teach, I was a bit disappointed because I wasn't going to get to train, but...........
Towards the end of class I was showing the technique of Yokomen-uchi shihonage. Anguel was my uke. He is a tough guy! Always gives me a hard time and very strong attacks.
He went to strike........I slowly performed the technique of shihonage.
Slowly I picked him up off his feet........took him around and..........threw him to the ground. The whole time, his feet were about two feet off the ground. I wish I could have had a video recorder going.
I got home last night and was having a nice conversation with my wife.
For the first time, she told me she is amazed at my movements and the power of my techniques. She said that my movements are not the same anymore.
She asked me when I started understanding Aikido......She actually got me thinking about it.........
Wasn't until last night........funny thing is that if feels that way each time I reach a new level...wasn't till I got there that I understood it, and when I look back beyond that point always feels like I thought I had it but must not have.......
Erik Sasha Calderon
I was thinking about this incident a few days ago, and wanted to include it in my blog.
While I was in Japan, I was training very hard in Aikido. I would wake up at 4:00 am to make it to the dojo by 6:00 am everyday. After training I would go to Sophia University campus and go to class or read books in the library.
In the afternoon, I'd head back to honbu dojo for some more training, or I would go to the Sophia Aikikai club at the Yotusya campus to train some more.
In all, I believe I would put in 4 to 5 hours per day of training.
Well, I'd get home most days after 11:00 PM, so most days I was sleepy, even though I kept pushing myself as hard as I could.
One day, on my way to honbu dojo with Junichi, he just happened to save my life.
I was in a daze, just walking and talking with him. We were getting close to the street, to cross.
I saw green, and to this day I swear I saw green, but the light was actually red. I stepped into the street about to cross. Junichi reached out grabbed me has hard as he could and pulled me down to the ground before I took that step. That step that would have put me infront of a yellow taxi cab speeding around the curve. He would have never seen me, and I would be dead, if Junichi had not been there walking by my side.
I owe him my life. He was a wonderful person and very sincere Aikidoist. I'll never forget that day.
Erik Sasha Calderon
Last week I left for New Mexico. We took the Mercedes and left at 8:45 PM.
We stopped about 1 hour from San Antonio to rest for the night.
My plan was to go to Albuquerque on business and train in dojo's in El Paso, and Albuquerque.
After about 2 hours from San Antonio in the middle of no where, a town called Balmorehea; population 600, The Mercedes, a 1999 500 SEL, started to over heat. Maybe because we were driving at very high speeds for a very long time, or maybe because that car just about had it.
We didn't notice until we pulled in the gas station to put some gas in the car.
The radiator started spitting out all of the coolant. It was the over flow valve that just allowed everything to dump out.
Nothing was broken, no hoses loose, everything looked OK, but the engine was at over 120 degrees C.
Luckily there was a guy there at the station that claimed to be a mechanic. He said it was the thermostat, that it was old and it was sticking. He said for $50.00 he'll take it out for us and everything will be OK.
Amazing how people begin to loosen up and talk as they work.
After dropping one of the bolts into the engine, not knowing where the thermostat is located and four hours later, I learned that him and his friend that was helping out, where both on 10 years parol, and that they had both just gotten out of jail. He even told us why they both went to jail (rather not post the reason here).
Finally after calling the Mercedes dealer we di
Can't help it, but that's the song that just kept on repeating itself in my head during the lunch class......
I didn't get to train with Nabil Wednesday night, so today for the first 15 minutes, he was the only student in the lunch class.
So for 15 minute we did suwari waza kokyu ho and shomenuch ikkyo suwari waza, then Vadim came to class.
Well, after the 20 minute marker, Nabil had to rest, and then rest, again rest, and then rest again.
Nabil just started training at the dojo about a month or two ago. He comes everyday, but today was his day to train with two black belts, myself and Vadim. Vadim is nicked named, the pit-bull. He is built like a fire hydrant, short stocky and extremely strong. He has been training at the dojo for close to 8 years. I don't think I ever been able to successfully perform a technique on him. And today, Nabil got the best of him and of me. Twice as good as a private lesson.
The best classes have been the ones when only one or two students show up. Always extremely intense, never boring and always exhausting!
Can't wait to train tonight……….
Erik Sasha Calderon
Panda Warrior is a nick name that some of the members of the dojo gave to Marc. They gave it to him for a reason. He is sincere in his attacks, has an incredible amount of energy, is extremely strong, and at the same time he is very kind hearted, very soft and very cute.
I had the wonderful opportunity to work with him the first two techniques of class....suwari waza kokyuho and tachi waza shomenuchi ikkyo (oh, inbetween was katate dori tenkan, which was long and intense with Chris).
Marc really tests me, he truly out weighs me and having to perform a technique against an attack by him makes me feel like how in the world am I going to redirect all this energy without hurting myself and crashing into him.
I feel the same way with anyone that is much bigger and stronger than me. I just do not have the opportunity to use strength against them, and I definitely don't want to use "the powers of psychology" over them. I think that defeats the whole purpose of becoming better.
Anyhow, last night was, again, an incredible class. Don Ramirez, Mike Nguyen, and Vinny Nguyen give incredible classes. It is an honor to be able to train in their classes and to train with each and every student in the dojo. Well, I missed training with Nabil last night, but I told him that we need to train together at least once next time.
And on a special note, my wife actually came to the dojo last night and trained. I trained two techniques with her and had the most incredible ti
On Wednesday night, Yulia made sure to bring up my statistic to 100%. I could not perform a single technique on her. It is amazing and at the same time extremely interesting to discover and experience different people with different levels of strength.
The training on Wednesday night was intense and the techniques hard to perform. I've always felt like Aikido is a cycle, some days I can perform the techniques without a single problem, then there are the days I can't, I'm using too much strength and no technique. I have notice though, that although the cycle never goes away, the interval gets smaller and my mistakes go unnoticed and unfelt by uke.
It has nothing to do with anything on the outside of me, and everything to do with what is in me, what is going on in my mind, in my heart, and I wonder how to even begin to work on that.
Erik Sasha Calderon