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Last night's class went well, but I'm still struggling with kote gaeshi. I think I really just need to work on fogetting what I think I know and concentrate on what I need to be doing. I also need to ask my instructor for more help.
We worked on tanto dori last night, something that is always fun. We also had a good turnout, which makes for a good class atmosphere.
... they don't go together well. For some reason (and I suspect the French onion dip from lunch), I had an upset stomach this past Tuesday. I tried to do the ukemi, but it just didn't work out. I ended up not taking much ukemi at all that class. I took the ukemi (gave the attack) to the point where my balance was fully taken and I was just about to be thrown, and then my partner would let up and we'd stop the technique.
Overall, the class felt pretty good (except for my tummy ache). After class, I worked with one of our (relatively) new white belts. He's about 10 years older than me, but in fantastic shape. He's also got a black belt in TKD. He biggest strugle has been adapting to the way we do things. We go out of our way to state that he's not doing things wrongly, just that he's not doing things the way we do them.
So I took him aside after class on Tueday and demonstrated how our empty hand attacks and weapons attacks are very closely related. He made one of those intuitve connections that comes after actually feeling something. I felt good helping him see and feel it.
Last Saturday, Richard and I taught the class becuase our instructor was at a hakamakai meeting (for black belts in our region). I focused on ikkyo in from standing, and suwari, waza. After that, Richard showed some paired jo exercises that were pretty interesting.
My shoulder continues to hurt and I really need to do my PT exercises.
Saturday's class went very well, and it felt good to be back. I'm looking forward to Tuesday's class.
For me, right now, the biggest challenge is to get my injured right shoulder back into shape. The PT from earlier this year really helped, but I've backslid a bit by spending too much time on the computer and not enough time doing my shoulder exercises.
This week was, and next week looks, particularly hellish. I have a midterm and a lot of homework in my stats class, and a take-home essay midterm in my planning theory class. All this while working full time and trying to at least see my wife for a few minutes each day (a slight exageration).
Oh well, I can do some work solo -- especially weapons strikes. I can also take the time off from training to really focus on my shoulder exercises now that my shoulder injury is acting up again.
So, one does what one has to do. I'll be back in the dojo in eight days.
This past Tuesday featured absolutely horrible weather, mostly driving rain. As a result, it took me almost twice as long to get to the dojo as it normally does. I missed the warm-ups, so I warmed up on my own while our instructor demonstrated the first technique.
Because of the weather, only two other students, Richard (2nd kyu, like me) and Robert (4th kyu, but ready for 3rd kyu), showed up. It was nice to have a class with just senior students. I tried to describe it to my wife, but had a hard time. Basically, the atmosphere was relaxed. It's not that we didn't work hard, because we did. We attacked hard, made some mistakes, and executed vigorous techniques and ukemi. Yet for all of that, there was a relaxed feeling to the practice. I think all three of us were very comfortable with one another's abilities, so we were able to simply attack or throw without so much attention to protecting ourselves from unexpected mistakes (too much muscle, improper body position, etc).
Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, when we make a mistake as nage at this level of training and with skilled ukes, the technique stops almost immediately -- by mutual concent. A couple of times we each switched to another technique; maybe just to show ourselves that we could adapt and recover from mistakes. But most of the time, we stopped and worked out what was going wrong.
I guess that's the key to why things felt so relaxed: we all knew what is expected of nage and uke, and we all met those
I missed class on Saturday and Tuesday of last week due to the flooding over the weekend and my grad school work. However, I made it this past Saturday (9/24/04) and ended up leading the class for its first half. Richard took the second half.
Things went well. I started everyone out on a tai sabaki against yokomen uchi with a tenkan movement. After that, we worked on four techniques that all used the same attack and basic tai sabaki. I made sure to work in with everyone and take some ukemi.
Richard then took over and showed bokken dori techniques that were nearly identical to the open hand work we had just done. It was almost as though we planned it that way.
Toward the end of class, one of the new students asked why he could stop one of the bokken dori techniques just by locking down. This led to a good discussion and demonstration about how (1) locking down is no longer attacking, and (2) we are stretching time in order to give nage plenty practice applying technique and uke plenty of practice attacking.
Then Richard and I had an "aiki moment." In our dojo, that's a term for when uke and nage both reach a certain state of sensitivity to one another's movements and something unplanned, but totally appropriate happens. I told the new student who asked about locking down that I was going to attack Richard with the bokken and then follow through with a second attack. Richard moved well and then did something with the sword just as I was starting to raise it agai
I'm now in my third week of grad school, and things are finally starting to settle down. I'm still making it to class, but I'm down to twice a week instead of three times a week. It's funny how I've come to view my aikido training as necessary to maintaining balance in my life. The physical activity and ritual really help counteract all the sitting and computer work I'm doing for school. In many ways, it's easier to get motivated to train now that I have another activity to keep me occupied; the time spent training is all the more precious now that I have to work harder to do it.
Classes have been going well. We have a good group of beginners and class sizes are holding stead at about 6-8 students. The kids' class seems to be growing now too. It's good to see the dojo healthy and the students happy.
I missed four classes in a row due to illness and two events I couldn't miss. Yesterday's class was my first one back after the break.
For whatever reason, I'm always a bit nervous about going back to the dojo after a break. This time, I'm also nervous about starting grad school in a week or so. But, thankfully, as soon as we knelt to bow in, I quickly shed my nervousness and had a great class.
It's strange, this reaction I have. In many ways, it's physiological, manifesting itself as an upset stomach. Often I have the physical symptoms before I realize that I'm nervous or stressed. Logically, I know that I don't have anything to be worried about -- that I've been training for a number of years now, and I know what to expect. But emotionally, I still get nervous. Some of it is a holdover, I'm sure, from the insecurity I've felt in the past about not being able to keep up with the rest of the class. Now, though, I find it much easier to keep up and I do pretty well physically -- this is due to my weight loss and the experience I've accumulated during my training. I'm both lighter and more efficient.
In any event, it was very gratifying to be able to drop right back into place and have a good class; even after a week and a half off.