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It's hard to keep up with this. The days float by. I'm going to every class we have at the dojo which isn't all that much, but I hope it will be enough. I should do more work outside of class, but I already feel like the time commitment is pretty high and I'm also just shy about asking people. It's also hard because it's hard for me to really understand what I need to work on.
Charlie helped by pounding one piece of advice into my head: 5 techniques from each attack. That's very concrete and seems like it shouldn't be too much trouble. He also suggested writing them down, except that we don't really use named techniques all that much in the dojo.
Munetski: kotegayesh; zemponage; straight in strike; kaitenage; koshi (tenkan with hand underneath, leading uke around).
Lots of people came and Eric didn't show up, so I taught two classes. I'm really focused recently on the idea of getting off line and entering. In the first class we tried doing that with katate dori. In the second class we did the same thing, but from munetski. The problem that I noticed everyone had, including me, was when someone is coming very strong, it's hard not to bang into them with the approach. I think the key to this is timing. Good timing puts you in the right place (right in the hole) so that they have to respect your atame. Bad timing against a strong attack allows them to subtly shift the attack so you are really no longer off line any more.
I think I hurt Xavier's hand in class today. He was struggling with my shihonage, and I cranked it a little hard. It's very scary to hear a crack. He says he is fine, but I'm quite worried.
Charlie taught both classes. In the first class we did a variant of the ikkyo/nikkyo/sankyo/yonkyo progression. The attack was shomenuchi, and the idea was to really focus in on the way that kokyu can deflect the attacker and move him off of your line. This is something that I need more work on. It's hard not to simply pass my arm sideways, hitting ukes hand. Instead, it's important to catch uke and then to use the turn of my body to turn my arm, so that uke rolls along it. This is easy to say, and I've sort of known how to say it for a while. I need to practice it before or after class in order to make it more of a part of my movement, especially when I'm feeling intimidated.
The second class focused on ushiro waza. I think the key here (like so many places) is moving from hamni to hamni. When things are moving so circularly (like they are in ushiro) it's hard to really keep a strong hamni.
Only Alan showed up for morning class. We worked on what it means to stay on center, both as uke and nage. I wonder how this connects to what I need to be working on. One thing is the basic way that flexibility and good hamni make it possible to hold a strong center line without getting rigid.
A big part of dealing with ski is finding a way to let it slide by me. This means soft hands. However, hands that are soft can lead to a weak defence. This means: good placement and, even more important, connecting the hands to the hips. You need floppy hands and strong hips.
Trouble waking up Saturday morning. Missed most of Brian's class. However:
Noticed that the idea of getting offline BEFORE trying to tenkan worked really well. This way of re-establishing the connection before any large or obvious movement is made gets at the heart of taking the initiative which is what I'm trying to learn. Couldn't quite get it to work with Brian, though. This has to do with feeling intimidated. I thought about this later during the day and thought about the idea of 'seeing the holes' which I think is really central to making Aikido work. When someone attacks, it's important to see it (from before the attack begins) in terms of the holes and open spaces towards which I can comfortably go. Instead of waiting for Brian to attack, I need to see and go to those holes.
Chuck taught bokken kata #10 and I really noticed the way that the defence of the neck needs to be a block before I flick the sword away from me to the other side. Also, if you make the flick go all the way over to the other side (good because it locks the peron's arms up) you can follow smoothly into the shomen that comes next.
Monday morning with Tom Hickey, back from Colorodo Camp, teaching, again, a new way to look at the unbalancing at 'touching time.' The basic idea is to try to settle uke back into his tail-bone but also to twist so the upper body curls up and back, away from the tail bone.
Another interesting idea was a way of leading a kosa dori around so that uke bas