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Probably I should be excited about a really good nikajo class today, including some adjustments that have me almost doing the ukemi properly.
But what I am really excited about is doing 1050+ sit-ups. Yes, 1050+ sit-ups.
In first keiko, which is our conditioning class, Carter-sensei asked us to get into sit-up position. This is how we usually start our conditioning routine. Each person counts to 10, and we do 1 or 2 rounds of an exercise. There are 3 kenshusei, plus sensei, plus sewanin Nick, so usually five people, or 50-100 repetitions of an exercise.
Today, after 2 rounds, sensei just said "Chris..." and I started counting again. We just kept going and going, each counting out 10 sit-ups... ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, shichi, hachi, kyu, jyu... over and over, 105 times.
They were very bad form, with the knees bent about 90 degrees, the heels in the floor, and the arms wherever they were most comfortable. But we did them continuously without stopping for almost 50 minutes.
The first 200 were the hardest. After 200, we got into a rhythm, and the cadence helped with several hundred. Then around 600 they were difficult again because of getting tired, but by 800 you could see the end in sight so they got easy again. I was the first person in the circle and Carter-sensei the last. When we reached 1000, I asked if we could do just one more round, to beat last year's kenshusei class. So we did 1050, plus there were some extra repetitions in there from
Not much interesting to report here. We practiced katate mochi nikajo osae ni. My knees were about as bad today as ever, and I have a sore throat on top of it. Basically, I can't do the kihon ukemi for this technique. I'm not sure what I can do about this.
I took a bad fall today doing the ukemi and landed on the outside edge of my left patella. I felt a strong pinching sensation, and then there was swelling. Luckily it was close to the end of class, so I didn't have to practice on it too much longer. It was bad enough that after class Nick told me to ice my knee instead of doing dojo soji. This seems very Yoshinkan--if you have a visible injury and keep going, kudos. Of course, an invisible injury might be much more serious, but no kudos.
While yesterday was a lovely day, unfortunately I forgot to hang out the zokin rags to dry at the end of keiko. Normally, I rinse them in the bathroom sink, then take them to the stairwell and put them on drying racks there. However, there is a door inside the stairwell that gets locked when everyone leaves, and as it was already locked when I was told to meet Crampton and company at the cafe, I forgot the zokin weren't out.
For the first keiko session today, we spent an hour cleaning the dojo mats with zoukin over and over. You start at one end of the dojo, get down on hands and toes, hold the zoukin flat to the mats with the palms of your hands, and push it to the other end of the dojo (running if possible). Normally, we do this each day after class, but it takes only a couple minutes. It is a little tiring after an hour.
I would love to say I will never forget the zokin again, but...
In second keiko, we worked on performing nikajo. I have felt nikkyo performed by other aikidoka and practitioners of other martial arts in the past, and I was under the impression it is supposed to hurt. Au contrare! Actually, pain in the wrist means a lousy lock that isn't connected with the body. However, it is very difficult to make a connection to the hips through the arms. I think I did it maybe once today.
In third keiko, we worked on the entire technique of katate mochi nikajo osae ichi, including some hajime geiko.
I wish I had more to say about nikajo. It is
Identify the hilarious comedy sketch from which this line comes...
"And which of these buttons calls your parents to pick you up?"
...answer at end of post.
I had a pretty decent, outstanding day today, starting off with a passable performance leading taiso warm-ups in Japanese.
The first keiko session included 200 koho ukemi (working up to 1000 or one hour, whichever I don't know...), "mae mawari ukemi Tabatas" (ukemi as fast as possible for 20 sec with 10 sec rest intervals), and bear-walking on the backs of the hands (yes, it hurts).
Keiko sessions 2 and 3 were all practice of the four waza we have covered so far:
katate mochi shihonage ichi
katate mochi shihonage ni
shomen uchi ikkajo osae ichi
shomen uchi ikkajo osae ni
Crampton-sensei gave us a jo exercise in which both partners hold onto the jo and shite performs something like the motions of shihonage ichi, while uke receives the technique through the jo. It was extremely instructive in showing where we are trying to use strength instead of form.
Crampton-sensei also stepped in to train with us and pointed out some errors you probably couldn't see but could feel--most importantly that when uke pushes in katate mochi, I tend to push back. When I stopped doing that, my whole body and technique became relaxed, uke became relaxed, and the technique improved considerably.
Finally, as I am the shinkoku toban this week, I was charged with leading shinkoku and received th
Taiso is our warm-up exercises. Starting tomorrow morning, I have to lead warm-ups for a week. Probably I will be doing well just to remember all the pieces in order, but I was hoping to learn them in Japanese, too. Here is what we've got. It starts after the opening rei. Sensei asks you to do warm-ups with some phrase like "taiso onegaishimasu."
In general, the count is 1-8 repeated twice. The leader says 1, 2 and 5, 6, while everyone counts together on 3, 4 and 7, 8. It makes for a sort of rhythmic chanting that gets everyone into a cadence:
"ichi, ni, SAN, SHI, go, roku, SHICHI, HACHI, ichi, ni, SAN, SHI, go roku, SHICHI, HACHI."
There are two places where you count 1-10 instead of 1-8, and the followers reply with "ehh!":
"ichi, EH, ni, EH, san, EH..."
Taiso Japanese , English , count
hirogate kudosai , please circle-up
choyaku , jumping (on toes) , 8x2
hisa kussin , bending the knees, 8x2
hisa mawashite , circle the knees , 8x2
shin kyaku , stretch legs , 8x2
fukaku , go lower , 8x2
zenkyo kutsu , back and forth , 8x2
taisoku , "deep sigh" to the side , 8x2
koshikara mawashite , "rotate the seat" rotating from the hip , 8x2
mune no undo , "chest exercise" opening the chest , 8x2
ude mawashite , rotate the arms , 8x2
kubi no undo , "neck exercise" head up and down , 8x2
sayu , "symmetrical pair" head to the side , 8x2
mawashite , rotate , 8x2
suwate kudosai , please sit down
ashi kubi mawashite , rotate the foot-neck (a
Note to readers: this is another complaint post. Please skip if you are getting tired of them...
I am having trouble finding work, so have to take it wherever I can find it. One place is a small English school outside Osaka. They give me a few hours work on some Saturdays. It takes me two hours to commute there from my apartment.
Today, I arrived 30 minutes early, and my student's mother was 15 minutes late. So I got paid 2 hours for taking 7 hours out of my day. Plus, my travel expense remuneration didn't cover my travel expenses, so I made about $2 per hour today. That's less than 1/10 what I was making at home. Ouch.
But wait, it gets better...
I parked my bike in a place on Karasuma-dori where there are always a lot of bikes parked, although technically you are not supposed to park there. So today, my bike was disappeared in a government round-up. I made $15 today, but I have to pay $25 to get my bike out of lock-up or $65 for a new bike at the used-bike shop. The advantage of buying a new bike is that I don't have to present my passport to the police and be recorded as a bicycle-parking-violator.
My walk home from the Imadegawa subway station was lightened only by stops on the way at Shiramine-jinja and Liquor Mountain. I noticed today that Shiramine has a lot of sports equipment that has been dedicated to the kami. Rather interesting to see.
I also took a close-up look at the wood floor of the demonstration area where our embu will be hel
My knees were feeling so good on Friday morning at ken class. I thought, "wow, no conditioning class this morning, so my knees are going into waza training fresh and strong. I'm going to have a great day!" Then we started keiko session 2 with koho ukemi practice. Dang.
Today's waza instruction was entirely by Payet-sensei. It is interesting to have classes taught alternately by Crampton-sensei and Payet-sensei as they have very different teaching styles and focus on very different aspects of the technique.
Crampton-sensei tends to focus on mechanics, as in "don't do X, or it will do Y to your muscles, and then you won't be able to do Z." Payet-sensei tends to focus on form and large principles, as in "X is not correct, so you will be off balance this way... [demonstrates]." They are both valuable instructions, but sometimes when you have 10 things on your plate already, having a new chef add another 5 can be daunting.
I found hajime geiko today to be quite helpful as it really warmed up my knees. Also, when you start getting thrown into the mat in ikkajo osae ni, you think "surely I am going to get scraped, scuffed, bruised, or battered having my face thrown into the mat over and over." But after you've done it at high speed enough times, you start to lose fear of it. I suppose this good for training, but--I would think--dangerous for beginners as well...
Keiko 1 - Friday morning ken class: work on extending and blending with sword and jo
I was so tired when I wrote the last post that I didn't notice that the title said "karate mochi" instead of "katate mochi". In my defense, this is an auto-correct problem. I'm using Nick's laptop, which autocorrects to British English, and also auto-corrects "katate mochi" to "karate mocha," which I have to manually-re-correct. Very annoying. Damn Safari browser!
Also, I was so tired that I failed to note that I was writing katate mochi ikkajo osae, when the technique we were doing was "shomen uchi ikkajo osae". Oops!!
If you don't know, "katate mochi" is "wrist grab", while "shomen uchi" is "front strike". Two very different attacks!
Today was very difficult. I was so tired this morning, that I failed to see anything funny when Nick's shoe fell into the bucket of water we use for the zokin cleaning rags.
In first keiko, the class didn't do jiyu waza, we reverted back to the remedial stage of chase-the-wrist game. Then we practiced the ukemi for shihonage. I don't know what this is like in other styles, but in Yoshinkan, you have to balance on the inner side of your foot, bend at the knees, and get your shoulders down to the mat while making a backstroke-like motion, like this.
The practice for this ukemi is to get as low as you can and hold the position. This means all the force is going through the inside of your legs towards your knees. It is excruciating for me. As the week has gone on, my knees have just gone from bad to worse. Today there were a couple times when I didn't think I would be able to get up from the floor.
It's coming on fast now. Today we started hajime geiko. I don't know they have this in other styles of aikido, so I'll describe it here:
Shite and uke stand in kamae with a pre-determined waza. When sensei calls "hajime," shite starts performing the waza over and over as fast as possible. As soon as one shite-uke partners are back in kamae, sensei calls "hajime" to do the technique again. Over and over until sensei calls "yame." If you are one of the slower shite-uke partnerships, you start to get behind.
As you can imagine, it is very tiring for both shite and uke. I don't know how long sessions of hajime geiko normally go on, but they seemed to go on for minutes today, doing shihonage over and over. At first, I was trying to do the waza correclty with good form. But as Takenaga-san and I began to fall behind, I had to pick up the pace and to hell with the technique.
This was actually quite frightening. Takenaga-san is very short and petite, so I have a lot of trouble performing shihonage on her. When I take her balance, if my form is off at all, she gets thrown around like a rag doll. I watched her go down the floor today with a grimace on her face over and over, but she never gave up. And thankfully I didn't injure her, either.
I have been doing shihonage since January, but yesterday and today are the first times I have ever felt that it might be injurious. I can now see why there are Aikiweb members who won't teach it except to advanced students