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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 10:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 272 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 542,891

In General And so the Old becomes New again Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #118 New 04-05-2004 10:18 PM
As there were (surprisingly) no newbies on the mats tonight, and just five students, we got to do a fair amount of bokken work that we probably wouldn't under normal circumstances. To begin with, we spent a fair amount of time on the 13-step kata, especially practicing it at a quicker pace than usual.

For something new (to almost all of us tonight, it seemed) we also took turns learning and practicing a series of exchanges that utilized the kata while being attacked by two ukes. This was quite interesting, as we all cycled out, having to learn the roles of two ukes as well as that of being nage. In the end, it got quite enjoyable once we all got the hang of things --- a nice break from the ordinary, at least to me.

The latter part of class was spent on Tae Sabaki, as usual. Wanting to get the most as I can out of the experience, I've decided to try to write about what I'm learning in this area as generally as possible in order to attempt to get to some fundamental understanding of these movements. Writing down every minute detail of such exercises seems rather pointless in comparison to doing so for regular techniques. So without further ado:

- Keeping one's elbows down and tucked in for the most part not only protects the ribs, but forces you to use your hips more than just your arms
- Movements are most effective here when they are short (yet still circular) as opposed to large, sweeping gestures
- Likewise, quick deflections (movements at sharp angles to ...More Read More
Views: 440

In General Adapting to a New Teaching Style Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #117 New 04-03-2004 09:17 AM
...all I can say is, thank goodness this won't be all the time.

On Last Night's Menu:

Appetizer - Katadori Nikkyo (Suwari Waza)
Main Course - Katatedori Iriminage
Dessert - Katatedori Kokyunage

Each technique was broken down into about 3 to four parts from start to finish, and each of these parts were in turn broken down so that we (in pairs) could, perform them to a count of two or three.

- It's easier for newbies to get the order of the footwork and other movements down, especially with a technique that is new to them.
- I'm guessing that it also makes it easier for Sensei to make (and for students to understand) corrections, especially as things happen.

- Since everything was broken down into segments, it was far too easy to get into the habit of moving in a broken-down, segmented fashion, even after we had brought it all together and tried to do the techniques with continuity.
- Folks like me who love the feeling of flow and blending with dynamic energy hate all the starting and stopping. Things just feel stunted.

Minimal. I didn't really feel like I earned my drink afterwards. I'd rate it one and a half cups of water out of five.
Views: 407

In General Oh Sweet Familiarity Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #116 New 04-02-2004 01:28 PM
How nice. At least to help ya git yer Aiki-mojo back.

After Jo practice (13-step kata, and paired work), we started off my good old friend, Shomenuchi Sankyo (Suwari Waza) as our appetizer last night. Some fun to be had as uke for Dave and Ken...whet my appetite for the rest of the night, that's for sure.

For the main course, we had some Katatedori Nikkyo and Kousadori Nikkyo, which was quite enjoyable (at least the adapting-to-newbie-uke's-energy part), in between shaking out your over-stretched wrists to relax them. Mmm...Nikkyo...

Then for dessert, we had the usual Kokyu Dosa, which again is always fun when you've got a new, "differently-energied" training partner.

So the theme for tonight (I suppose so as not to confuse us further with more complex techniques) was the good old standbys --- but for me, there was also that wonderfully challenging twist that comes with having more new bodies on the mats. And Nikkyo's always fun in and of itself. Okay, at least for me, it is. I think my ukes would have something rather different to say about it.
Views: 426

In General An "Off" Day Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #115 New 03-31-2004 09:18 PM
...well, sort of. But I suppose everyone must have them, so it's about time I did too.

Things started out fine. It was even a big class (for a Wednesday). We began with Katatedori Shihonage (Hanmi Handachi Waza), and went on to something new: Ushiro Ryotekubidori Kotegaeshi (started static). Fine, and fine. Got the jist of it, and they felt alright. But then when we went on to (or tried, rather) another new technique: Ushiro Ryotekubidori Shihonage (starting dynamic), things just fell apart for me. All of a sudden, I wasn't sure which way to enter, and then my body positioning didn't feel right for the hand change. Top this all off with my newbie training partner confusing the heck out of me even more by grabbing my wrists incorrectly at times, and having the dynamic energy of a brick wall, and you can see how my night ended: even more muddled.

With a more "pliable" uke and my own deduction, I can generally "feel" my way through a new technique such as this even if I don't get it spot-on --- with some flexibility and realistic attacking energy, one can usually rely on feel, logic and past experience/knowledge of similar techniques to "wing it" and head in somewhat the right direction, so to speak. But no such luck this time. Naturally, I laughed it off (as I do with just about everything), and uke at the very least found some amusement in my confusion.

But enough negativity. Putting myself down is just the easy route. The tough part for me is think ...More Read More
Views: 472

In General Ryotedori: More "New" Techniques Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #114 New 03-26-2004 03:34 PM
The mats were pretty packed last night, especially during Jo practice. We worked on a couple of interesting exchanges in pairs, one which had some rather counter-intuitive footwork. I got so hung up on paying attention to footwork, that I inadvertently hit Sempai Tim on the hand --- luckily it wasn't very hard --- but I felt so bad...I sure as heck am going to make sure that never happens again. I'm usually so aware of these things, you can imagine my frustration at making such a stupid mistake! I simply hate the thought of actually hurting anyone like that. It threw me for a loop, and took me a couple of minutes to get my focus back after that. Poor Sempai Tim, it just wasn't his night --- I ended up not being the only one causing him accidents --- after that, he got hit on the hand (hard) by Sensei, got smacked in the face, had his hair pulled...

We later split into two groups, with Dave and the newbies practicing Kousadori Ikkyo, Omote and Ura, and the rest of us folks doing Ryotedori Kaitenage and Ryotedori Nikkyo; then everyone ending things with a Katatedori Kokyunage.

I was having some interesting difficulties with hand-changes and body positioning during both Ryotedori techniques. For Kaitenage, it was mistakenly turning on the outside instead of the inside, as well as hand positioning during the cut downwards --- it wasn't until later that I found out that after starting with your hand on the inside of uke's wrist to raise his arm up, you then turn the ...More Read More
Views: 585

In General Putting Everything Back into Place Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #113 New 03-24-2004 09:59 PM
[Quote of the Day:
"Just a sec --- I just need to put everything back into place," --- Sempai Jeremy, as he groaned loudly and vigorously hopped up and down in place after taking a particularly jarring ukemi as Sensei's uke]

Last night, we worked on a variety of Kokyunage (about three different types, if I remember correctly) for the most part. We'd practice a technique in pairs for a bit, and then we'd move on to applying it in a very Randori/Jiyu Waza-esque exercise: we'd all form a circle and take turns being nage in the centre; nage would turn to each person and be attacked by them one at a time in quick succession for two rounds each. We ended up doing this about three times, once for each different technique. It was a nice, dynamic variation on our usual training style, albeit a rather tiring one for most. By the end of the class, almost everyone had some aches and pains of some sort. I knew that for sure, it would be a long soak in the tub that night for me.

My own aches were caused fairly early on in the evening, when taking ukemi for one kind of Kokyunage I don't recall having done before --- I don't know if it had to do with the fact that the throw was of the kind that had more torque or twist on it than usual, perhaps coupled with the fact that I'm so extremely light, but my knee would always hit the mat dead-on as I landed from the tobu ukemi. Usually, I would just land on my side (which is more comfortable, being less jarring). In any case, suggestions that came my way on how to avoid this included:
- thinking "forward"
- trying to get myself stretched out a little more
- relaxing more during the middle of the fall
Most of these, I thought I was making a point of [/quote] ...More Read More
Views: 1203 | Comments: 4

In General It's like Table Tennis, only your body's the ball. Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #112 New 03-19-2004 11:21 AM
Yesterday after Jo practice (mostly on the paired kata), we worked on some Kaeshi Waza/reversals, which I always thoroughly enjoy. I guess I love the feel of the redirection of energy...at least I think that's what it is. Which explains why I actually like doing ukemi --- okay, so my mind's totally sold on the idea (but I'm still trying to convince my body).

Alright, so let me correct that --- I like the feel of redirected energy in moderation. Or so I found out very quickly last night.

The reversals were mainly from Yokomenuchi Shihonage (Omote) and eventually became Shihonage (oh, the irony of it) and Kotegaeshi for uke. I was shown the true meaning of Kaeshi by Sensei, who provided quite a bit of amusement for everyone else by whipping me around and around in circles on the mat several times as I desperately tried in vain to circularly redirect his shihonage into a shihonage of my own. After the dizzying ride was finally over, I could only laugh and say, "Point taken!" Needless to say, the lesson was learned, and I now know to get in really close (pretty much hip-to-hip) to uke while coming around into shihonage with his arm to prevent my own centre being taken (for a ride around the room).
Views: 523

In General The Wednesday Club Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #111 New 03-18-2004 11:59 AM
Back again --- this time from just a small break due to a cold, which I'm just about over now. I figured that I ought to finally smarten up considering what happened the last time I had a cold and tried to "play the hero" by not only coming to class to train but actually trying to practice at a seminar (June 2003). The emphasis is on "try", and for a reason. I learned my lesson --- was so completely bagged and miserable that I had to sit out for the afternoon of the last day and on the drive back, as Garry would later put it, the only indicator that I was still alive in the back seat was hearing the occasional cough from me. I also figured that Sensei would appreciate my not spreading my germs around again (the last time, he avoided me like the plague --- pun intended --- for ages).

So I was back again for Wednesday night, which was a small class as usual, and of the usual suspects (just me, Sempai Tim and Sensei); I'm guessing this is due to most folks taking their own mid-week Aikido rest break that day. This happens so often that I'm now calling Tim and I "The Wednesday Club".

Techniques we worked on:
- Shomenuchi Sankyo (Suwari Waza)
- Ushiro Ryotekubidori Kaitennage [NEW! NEW! --- At least to me ]
- Ushiro Ryotekubidori Nikkyo [ALSO NEW! Yay!]

Back to these technical notes again, since they ARE new techniques to me...good enough excuse

- On Kaitennage, I seem to be fairly successful thus far at stepping not straight back but more to the side to give more room between me and uke. I ...More Read More
Views: 522

In General No Pain, No Gain Tally/Week's Summary for 03.08.04 Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #110 New 03-13-2004 07:59 AM
I'm rehashing this old ritual of mine because:
1. Pain, my old friend, is back again
2. I've been just too darn busy and tired with work, volunteering and everything else in my hectic life to write after every single class. I would take notes and post a bunch of consecutive entries in a row for the past week, but I just realized that this in theory could unfairly bump off the "Most Recent Entries" list other peoples' entries that are just as, or even more, recent.
3. I figure, now that I'm officially in the triple-digits with my journal entries, I'm sure that Jun would appreciate a little more brevity on my part --- I've no idea how many entries they expected to support with the Journals section...

So here we go ---

- Let's put it this way...I can barely move without *something* aching (especially in the neck and shoulders area)

- Four days of good practice (including a bokken and jo class)
- Definitely more good ukemi than bad; at least, folks told me it looked really good. With very few exeptions to this of the "oops --- I should have held on with the other hand, but oh heck, I'm in the middle of the fall" kind, it felt great while doing it. Mind you, I had no idea that I'd feel like this afterwards, so maybe it wasn't really as good as I thought )
- I now know to always hold on with the lower hand (regardless of the technique).

Other thoughts/things of note:

It's becoming readily apparent that (particularly doing weapons ...More Read More
Views: 1132 | Comments: 5

In General Tanto Revisited Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #109 New 03-06-2004 08:46 AM
Last night's techniques:

[Empty hand]
- Katatedori Shihonage (Hanmi Handachi) to practice ukemi

[With tanto]
- Yokomenuchi Shihonage (Ura)
- Yokomenuchi Kokyuho (or was it Iriminage)?
- Tsuki Kotegaeshi

[Empty hand]
- Katatedori Kokyunage


I'm finding myself slowly becoming more and more aware of the position of the blade of the tanto in practice (particularly in keeping it away from myself). I know this needs a lot of work on my part in the area of extension --- I've been so hung up on wanting to do techniques properly down to the last minute detail that I'm forgetting to extend (a generally bad idea when it comes to tanto waza --- an opponent would just have to resist and I'd pretty well be one sliced and diced Jamie). I suppose my one consolation is in fact that I am still very much learning the form of technique --- I mean, I don't want to get ahead of myself --- but I still need to make a conscious effort to ensure that extension is there (along with all of the other fundamentals) as the foundation of all of my movements.
Views: 592

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