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Tonight was a rough one. The whole class tonight was a giant ukemi workshop. My back is sore from flipping instead of rolling, and my shoulders feel extremely tight as if I was in a straight jacket for a year. As sore as I am and as sore as I'm going to be tomorrow I'm really glad I was there tonight. When I decided to start training again one of the things I wanted to really understand and become good at was ukemi. We all know it's a huge part of Akido but sometimes I think practicing and honing it takes a back seat to the throws and techniques. Between Mondays class which involved a boatload of suwari waza techniques and today's ukemi butt whoopin I might have to break out the Icy Hot.
Last night at the dojo sensei Tom did a lot of push hand, connection type exercises. All the exercises were (as with all Aikido) executed better while being relaxed. It was so awesome to be able to feel that connection and energy from your partner and being able to perform a technique with said energy. I often times feel like we perform our locks and throws so quickly that we don't have time to feel the energy being passed to us. I think these techniques really help you slow down and feel your way through them. For a lower ranking Aikidoka like myself it really helped with my blending.
The last couple classes we've had a visitor, and last night was his last class. If it is at all possible for a straight happily married man to have an Aikido crush on another man it would be Pat. Just like the little league players idolize they're favorite big league players I have a similar admiration for our visitor Pat. I wouldn't go as far as saying I idolize him, rather a huge respect and hoping that one day I will have the same Aikido "swaggar" as him. (I'm not really sure if there is such a thing). He has so much power and at the same time so much control. I look forward to the day I can posses the same power.
If I could sum up practice today it would be brain fart. Now this may be odd but I think what happend to me today had more to do with thinking too much as opposed to not thinking at all.
Today we broke into two groups and performed each technique around the group twice. So of course me being the lowest rank I went last. So I observed everyone doing the technique and I focused really hard. In some cases I tried the technique on my imaginary uke while waiting to attack. So my turn to be nage came, uke would attack and I would sit there with this look on my face as if someone asked me to explain the theory of relativity. Now that I'm home sitting on my couch typing away it dawned on me that I was thinking too much, I wasn't reacting, and I wasn't using my center to throw. I had all these things going through my mind that I wanted to improve on that I wasn't relaxed, and I was trying so hard that when it came time for me to do what I was supposed to be doing I came up blank. I'm planning on leaving my brain at home on Monday and just bringing my center to class. If I'm lucky maybe some extra stamina will come along too.
Tonight I really enjoyed class. I mean I always enjoy it but tonight there were more people there so I had the oppurtunity to throw a variety of uke. I again felt more comfortable with the movement even though it may not look like it. I would like to develop my footwork alot more. I notice how my sesei and higher ranking aikidoka slide into position and move tenkan etc. with such ease. I also envy the strength of their grip, it's unbelieveably strong and rigid while the same time it's very relaxed. I used to think I was a pretty strong guy but I was wrong I really need to get one of those grip exerciser things to build up my strength so I can at least hang on when I'm uke. I'm really hoping I can make it to class on Friday I would like to get into some kind of routine, but I know with a newborn at home that is asking alot. Anyway I hope everyone enjoyed their class as much as me today. And if anyone can tell me how to make this painfull stiffness in my neck and shoulder area go away that I contracted from moving the wrong way, I would greatly appreciate it. OK Sierra Nevada Torpedos are calling my name.
Last evening we had a great practice at the club. By good I mean that my partners didn't have to keep stopping to show me the technique too much. Although my flexibility has never been all that great last night is was a little easier to stretch over my beer belly. We did alot of shio nage and towards the end of class and I felt a little of the Aikido cordination I did have coming back to me. I really can't wait to get used to the heat in the dojo. I have never sweated so much during practice.
Here he is! No. 2. Jackson Shane Bournival. Me and my wife are so excited to have our new addition to our family. She is such a trooper, she feels so good that she's "letting" me out for a couple hours tomorrow to go to the dojo. Can't wait for both boys to be old enough to bring them to the childerens class.
I recently posted a thread asking the difference between Kokikai vs Aikikai. I didn't expect anyone to tell me one was better than the other but I was hoping for someone to post about difference in power between the two styles. Well I have found out for myself. I am lucky I have the energy to sit up and type, my body is drained like I have never felt before. I'm not gonna be the one to say it, well, maybe I will. Aikikai is way more "physical" than the Kokikai dojo I was at . It's practiced like a martial art rather than a dance with no music. To me Kokikai seems as if they're trying to learn to throw with magic as opposed to technique. I am very happy that I made the switch. Don't get me wrong my Kokikai dojo was great but I think to be a great Aikidoka you need a balance of Ki and good technique and I felt I was praticing Ki exercises more times than actually learning Aikido techniques. Before anyone starts to leave the comments about Tohei Sensei and the other great Ki society senseis I am fully aware of their greatness, I'm just a guy writing a blog voicing my opinion.
So I had a little trouble sleeping last night. I've been anxious to get back to training tomorrow. I don't want to say that I'm trying to impress but I do want my Sensei and fellow Aikidoka to know that I am serious about my Aikido practice.
First thing this morning I did a little ukemi pratice on the living room carpet. I also attached a belt to the wall on a swivel to emulate uke's arm while practicing moving under for shio-nage. I did vairous ki exercises as well. My son really enjoys Funakogi Undo.
My wife wrote a list of things that need to get done in preparation for our new bundle of joy on wed. I hope he sleeps like my first son did but I'm aware it won't happen. I'm not working nights anymore so getting to the dojo will be alot easier on me since I can go to the evening classes. I'm so excited to have Aikido in my life again. I hope one day everyone can find out how awesome it really is.