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Lately, I have been trying to see with my eyes. It sounds so obvious and simple "see with your eyes", but what I have come to realize is that it isn't a simple task. Countless people walk around every day seeing, without really seeing anything. They don't take in their surroundings, as they are only focused on the path directly in front of them. The details of their surroundings melt away, carelessly dismissed. Or perhaps they see, but they deem it useless information and don't really give it time to process. What a waste of such a beautiful gift. Sight, one of the best assets we have, yet we never really take the time to acknowledge exactly how valuable a tool it is.
I have become conscious of the fact that I myself am quite guilty of not seeing as well as I should. Through my years of martial arts training, I have been taught to be aware of my surroundings and to take in the little details. You know… those little details that could vary well save your life one day. The other day in class, sensei was demonstrating a technique (we were working on irimi and irimi-tenkan against tanto). I carefully watched his every movement. Saw what he did with his hands, saw that he entered. I thought I saw everything to this simple technique. It turns out that I did not see everything. I tossed aside some valuable information. Previously we were both starting in gyaku hanmi. This time we were supposed to start in ai hanmi. When I went to do the technique, I was baffled at the fact that
Back in November four of us tested for 5th kyu. I remember being so nervous and worried that I would fail. FAIL…. Uck that is something I am not good at. It has never been something I have been able to swallow. It is something that I have gotten more gracious at, but it still puts a bitter taste in my mouth. I have always approached it as either you are a winner or a loser. If you get second place, that means you are the first place loser. So on that fateful night, I desperately wanted to pass. Or should I say win? After what seemed like forever (about 30 minutes really), I found out that I passed. I won my first battle. I did not get any feedback from sensei, but I was told by a yudansha that it was a good test. Was it truly a good test? I don't know. He did pull me aside away from all the other testers to tell me so. Did he do it because he thought I could use the boost of confidence or was it truly warranted? Was my test actually good or did it only appear that way because of the abilities of my peers? All I know is that I felt awkward and clumsy during the entire test and I was nervous as hell. At one point while doing gyaku hanmi katatedori uchi kaitenage, my uke rolled away from me prematurely. Surprisingly, I did not panic and just made sure to control my uke better next time. It was my fault after all.
After the test, we went out for pizza and beer. It was a blast and I hope we can do it again after the next test. On the way out, sensei made it a point to say tha
The other day I was in class. At the beginning, we do warm up exercises along with stretches. Well, I was deep in thought while stretching my hamstrings when I looked at my feet that were oh so close to my face. "UCK!" I thought to myself. "I have such ugly aikido feet!" My feet are dry from sliding on the mat (I was taking my second class of the evening), my left pinky toenail is still purple red from stubbing it on the ladder outside the dojo one night in the dark (3 months ago!), my feet are not the soft lovely feet I once had (despite my desperate efforts to keep them moisturized). At this point, sensei has us lay on our backs and raise our legs up into the air in an attempt to touch the mat with our feet behind our head. My feet touch the mat and I continue to think about my ugly aikido feet.
"Ugly aikido feet can't be that bad of a thing.... I mean a lot of work has been put into the current condition of my feet. They have endured almost a year of training that includes approximately 225 hours of aikido and somewhere around 120 hours of iaido and tai chi. That is a lot of time for my feet to be sliding around the rough mats." My thoughts are briefly interrupted as we stand up and start stretching our hands. "I guess like my body, my feet have slowly evolved. They are tougher then they once were, but are still fairly soft and gentle to the touch. They have marks from mat burn that have yet to fade on the tops of my feet that are constant reminders of my awkward and c
Training has been going well as of lately. It seems like sensei is busy getting several people ready for testing. I'm sure someone will be testing for 5th kyu soon, there are about four of us who may be testing for 4th kyu soon and he is busy getting someone else ready for 1st kyu. For a while we were doing nothing but advanced techniques. Tons of stuff that was way over my head and haven't done. I was working on hanmi handachi and kata-shomen attacks. It was fun to work on these things because I felt absolutely no pressure. However, for the past week, things have been dropped back from fourth gear to first gear. What a joy it has been. Sometimes it is so nice to slow down and be able to work on something more familiar.
Last week was a lovely week of the return to the familiar or at least techniques that are more in my range. Sensei has put a strong emphasis on nikyo and sankyo lately. We worked on them from suwariwaza with attacks from: katadori, shomenuchi, yokomenuchi and kata-shomen. We also worked on them from hanmi handachi as well. Then we finally worked on the two techniques standing. It was a nice blend of training based for us about to test for 4th kyu but also helped the guy about to test for 1st kyu. Obviously, hanmi handachi and kata-shomen attacks aren't on a 4th kyu test.
There was also an entire class based on kokyuho. We worked on it from katadori (ai and gyaku), shomenuchi, yokomenuchi, ryotedori and morotedori. It was nice to work
Well this isn't really an aikido blog so much as it is a getting tipsy blog. Tonight I tried sake for the first time! I tried a flight of three sake's and decided to get a 13 oz. bottle of one of the ones I really liked. Well, I was out with a bunch of people (about 7) and I offered them a chance to try my sake. All turned me down. Well, I ended up drinking the whole bottle myself. Though it was good, I am left feeling tipsy for sure. I was told by a few people they were impressed with my abilities to hold alcohol considering my size. Not sure how to take that.... anyway, tomorrow I have day two of my crime scene training course. I am hoping that I don't wake up with a hangover. In the mean time, I am laying on my bed feeling a bit strange and drinking lots of water. I must not be too bad since I walked back from the restaurant and showered right?
Oh sake, how I love to drink you, but do we have a good relationship? Only a few hours of sleep will truly tell.... I sure do feel relaxed though!
This week went pretty well. I don't really recall too much of what we worked on this week. I really need to stop being lazy and do this journal thing more often or at least write down what I did and then use them to type later. Tuesday we had a female yudansha visit. She has her own dojo a few hours north of us. She had trained with my sensei under Chiba sensei for a while and I think she also trained in Japan as well. I have heard a lot about her, so I really enjoyed getting to meet with her and train with her. When I worked with her, we were working on iriminage. She was very helpful and told me that I was bouncy (in a good way) when I was uke.
Wednesday's class was based around kokyuho. I actually had one of those rare classes where I could feel myself sinking into my hips and turning. We started off practicing tai no henko and then progressed into variations of kokyuho. Usually, I struggle with sinking into my hips and rotating, but it was coming effortless to me this evening. I don't know what caused me to be able to do this, but I have an feeling that it won't be there next time I try to do them! It comes and goes. My only wish is that it slowly becomes more and more frequent. One of my favorite variations we did was from gyaku hanmi katatedori. You tenkaned around like you were doing tai no henko and then your rotate 180 (you end up facing the same way you did when you started) and all the while you are taking uke around with you. Once you finish
Thursday's class was a really good class. It was a very active, intense, keep moving type of class. A lot of the throws we did involved rolls, which is always fun (unless you are exhausted like I seem to be all the time). It wasn't long before I was sweating and the dojo windows were fogging up. Though I was tired to begin with, I kept on pushing myself to get through the class. Towards the end of the class, the yudansha who was teaching had five of us stand up. One person was in the middle and the other four took turns attacking. We had to do a particular technique that we had learned that night from a double shoulder grab. You simply enter, turn 180 and throw the person into a roll. Well, at one point I was one of the attackers. Things were going quite well… until they weren't. During my roll, all the sudden there was this loud bang and my knee hurt. Turns out the yudansha threw me into the shomen. Our dojo used to be an old church, so the entire lifted wooden platform at the front is our shomen. The room got suddenly quiet and I could hear the yudansha who was teaching asking me if I was alright. I got up and said I was fine (which was a lie because it hurt like hell). He then told me to be in the middle. It wasn't a consolation prize I was looking for, but it did help me think of other things besides the pain for a bit. After class, the yudansha who threw me into the shomen came over and asked if I was alright. Again, I was modest and told him I was fi
Well, yesterday was my first class back at the dojo after two weeks of living a sedentary lifestyle that included: eating LOTS of food, drinking copious amounts of wine and champagne (Okay, so it was only like 6 glasses over 3 days, but that is a lot for me when I'm lucky if I have a glass a week), playing wii, watching movies, reading and grooming my shih tzu. Monday night I went to bed with a headache only to wake up Tuesday morning feeling absolutely rotten. I decided to go to work anyway. I don't really take sick days (or vacation much for that matter) and I figured that if I made it through the day, then I could use that as ammo to convince my husband that I would be alright going to class. Luckily for me, my headache did lessen through out the day. I got home from work and my husband asked if I was going to class. I told him that I would give it a shot and would sit out if it got too bad.
We arrived at the dojo, changed and then lined up to wait for sensei. My first class back went rather well. I was convinced that I would have lost everything I had learned over the past 10 months, but that wasn't quite the case. I had lost a bit of the connectivity from lack of practice, but I did alright. At one point, sensei came over and asked if I was alright. I told him that I had a really bad headache earlier, but was managing things alright. As long as I kept my headache (and the potential of a migraine coming back) in my conscious thoughts and remembered to ta
Well, it has been quite some time since I have posted. Between life getting in the way and both of my laptops getting a virus I haven't really been able to do much online. I know; excuses, excuses. I had a really interesting class on Saturday the 18th. I will have to post about that another time though because I need to list all the techniques we did. I came to several realizations in that class. So stay tuned for information about that class!
Last Wednesday was the last class we had before the dojo closed until the New Year. Wednesday's class was a hectic class. We had a guy come for a visit who used to go to our dojo. He was a fantastic guy! He was very nice, amazingly smooth rolls and just an all round great person to work with. He was a very sympathetic uke and he gave a lot of feedback. If I wasn't sure about something, but was actually doing it correctly, he would say, "That's it. Keep going." I have no idea what rank he is or left at, but I would love to work with the guy again. Sensei used him as uke for a bit too, which speaks for him. Sensei doesn't just use anyone for uke. We worked a lot on techniques that required a fish like movement. You know, you stick your hand out in front of you parallel to the floor with your thumb up towards the ceiling and move your hand like a fish swimming. Amazingly enough, this analogy really helped me grasp the motion better. Before, I was doing more like a palm heel strike movement. Somehow, this extra gr
This week has been a bit of a blur. Tuesday seems like the distant past; almost like a foggy hint of a dream…. Anyway, despite the fact that I don't really recall much of anything, I do know that I left the class feeling alright with myself. Having all the new people there has slowed the class down a bit, which is just what I needed that night. Going slow allows me the chance to really analyze and/or feel what I am doing. I appreciate the opportunity of working with beginners. First off, it shows me that I have gotten better over the past 9 months or so and working with them helps me realize my own mistakes. They don't know how to move, so you really have to do the technique right to get them moving. If I don't lift their elbow, it isn't going. They aren't able to move yet and they can't anticipate what you are doing, so they can't be nice to you. Working with the beginners is a sobering experience that can be both challenging and rewarding.
At the end of the class sensei had me and a yudansha demonstrate suwariwaza ryotedori kokyuho. Well, I didn't really demonstrate so much as take the ukemi for it. The dojo was so hot and muggy that I lost grip of his wrist. Sensei scolded me for it and I made sure it didn't happen again after I wiped my hands on my pants. Since the class was an odd number, sensei reid to me and offered to work on the technique from standing (he isn't able to do suwariwaza right now). I wasn't really expecting him to take me all the way