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Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > AikiWeb AikiBlogs > Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai

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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 272 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 500,483

In General Ushirorama Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #108 New 03-04-2004 01:42 AM
Tonight (aside from my re-skinning my knee yet again doing the shikko portion of the warmup), we worked mostly on Ushiro techniques, specifically:
Ushiro Ryotekubidori Iriminage (?)
Ushiro Ryotekubidori Sankyo
Ushiro Kubishime Iriminage (?)
Ushiro Ryokatadori Iriminage (?)
Ushiro Ryotekubidori Kokyunage

I don't know why, but I always seem to find doing Ushiro techniques rather fun. I'm not sure if it's because timing is a little more of a challenge or maybe it's because a lot more leading and more blending tends to be needed when you can't completely see all of your attacker, or that you have to rely heavily upon feel instead of sight to maintain both...whatever it is, they're quite enjoyable to me.
Views: 498

In General Back on the (soft) Mats Again :-) Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #107 New 03-02-2004 01:01 AM
Monday night we worked on Bokken kata (I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of the second last part of the eight directions kata --- albeit...slowly...); we also worked on our paired bokken exchanges more slowly in order to pay more attention to the accuracy and technical proficiency of our movements. As a result, things felt a lot more "solid" --- it makes you wonder what I was in such a hurry about to begin with.

We also did some shikko as part of the warmup (which very nicely aggravated my freshly-scabbed knees from the past weekend's seminar and left a trail of blood spots behind me as I went all around the mats) followed by Tae Sabaki for the rest of the night --- mostly against punches to the head (hooks, to be specific).

Apparently, an alternate meaning to "Tae Sabaki" has something to do with strategy, which is very interesting indeed. When you say strategy, one typically thinks of that which has been planned or thought out a great deal --- something contrived or connived, if you will --- in anticipation of or in preparation for a particular, expected result.

When we practice Tae Sabaki, however, I suppose because of its immediately practical applications (as opposed to its additional, extended applications as openings to lengthier Aikido techniques), I sometimes feel that it is not so much planned or thought out strategy, as its focus is meant to illicit a natural, defensive response in one's body. But it is when I think of it in the sense ...More Read More
Views: 547

One of your Favorites! In General Gokkyu (A Retrospective), aka WOOHOO! Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #106 New 03-01-2004 03:47 PM
[I've been keeping track and writing this thing for about a year now, and I guess now's finally the time to finish it. ]

From the very beginning, I've been trying to pay very close attention to detail. Every nuance of Sensei's moves is deliberate, and I need to continue catching the patterns in his movements. Slowly, I feel as though I am piecing together a very intricate puzzle bit by bit...

So what have I learned so far?

- To listen to my body. That if a technique feels awkward or I feel even slightly off balance, I'm doing something incorrectly and need to make an adjustment.

- To have faith in myself. I can get carried away by feelings of self-doubt, and I keep forgetting that inherently, my body knows how to move (as alluded to above) and what to do if I just listen to it.

- To breathe. I mean, really breathe --- to pay attention to my breathing, which is not only relaxing, but gets me completely centred and focused in the moment.

- That it's not about perfection --- it's about who and where I am right now. And that in itself is pretty darn awesome. I always keep looking back, thinking, "it could have been so much better" --- and really, it always could be. But you know what? It's a long haul, but it *will* only get better. (Thanks Carolynne!)

Stats/Little Milestones as of 02/28/04:

Training w/current dojo since - January 8, 2003

Number of classes - 205?

Number of days extra training on the weekend - 5

Number of seminars attended - 2

Number of other dojos visited while travelling - 2

Number of classes at other dojos as visitor - 3

To ...More Read More
Views: 1857 | Comments: 2

In General Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #104 New 02-25-2004 10:46 PM
As I write this, I'm peeling off my much needed Salonpas patches (having first had a nice long soak in the tub --- they feel more effective afterwards) and am getting settled for the night. I've been getting sleepy earlier these days (perhaps I'm still not quite over the jet lag), so journal entries have been rather short; I'll try not to make this one an exception (*yawn*).

It was a small class tonight, just me, Dave, Sempai Jeff and Sensei; but Wednesdays are generally quiet nights anyway. It was also my last class before the seminar, as Dave and I have got this fundraising shindig to go to tomorrow night for the Women's Health Clinic, and we leave for Saskatoon on Friday at noon.

I wanted to do a bit of an experiment and see (or not) how things would go if I didn't wear my contact lenses on the mats. Result: Contacts it is! At least for the seminar and the test...after the first couple of techniques in the run-through, getting thrown by Sempai Jeff's footwork, and getting bonked on the head a couple of times as a result (I think more of it might have had to do with my getting thrown by having Sempai Jeff as uke for the first time (at least for test stuff; though I know, it shouldn't make a difference) Sensei told me to get my glasses, and after that it was alright again.

Eventually, I want to get to the point where I'm proficient enough that I won't need to wear contacts or glasses --- there are times when I'll do a class without them, and despite missi ...More Read More
Views: 635

In General Just Like Old Times Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #103 New 02-24-2004 10:49 PM
It's really good to see Sempai Jeff and Sempai Garry back on the mats again (even off and on) --- looks like they're recovering nicely. We might even be seeing Sempai John E. out again in at least another 8 months or so. The other day, it was the first time I'd been back at the "end of the line" again --- where all my sempais were folks from back when I first started. It was a nice feeling, perhaps more than a little sentimental of me to say so, but it was like the old gang was back together again. Silly, huh?

Over the past couple of days, I did a lot of practicing of Katatedori Koshinage (sigh...), along with some Yokomenuchi Shihonage, Shomenuchi Ikkyo, and Ushiro Ryotekubidori Ikkyo. On the latter two, after I don't know how many reps, Ken and I simply had to lay off on doing the last part of the pin --- yowch, did it ever get nasty. But it was reminiscent of the times in the past when we'd spend a whole night doing the same technique from different attacks. Heh --- I feel bruised just thinking about it!
Views: 438

In General No go on the seminar... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #102 New 02-20-2004 10:38 AM
I repeat: a no go on the seminar.

Yup --- turns out that it's going to be NEXT weekend after all...Sensei's former Sensei gave him the wrong dates (the Regina seminar's this weekend).

And Dave was all hyped up about it too.

As for me, well I've realized that as ready and gung-ho as I felt when I thought that I would be testing tomorrow, postponing it by a week or even for however long doesn't really matter --- I already know in my bones that I'm more than ready for this, so another week of practice can only make things better.

I'm definitely willing to bet that Sensei and Sempais Jeremy and Tim are breathing a big sigh of relief in getting the extra week, for sure.
Views: 421 | Comments: 1

In General One Day More, and Encouraging Beginners Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #101 New 02-19-2004 11:56 PM
Tonight we covered mostly basics and a piece of the 13-step kata during Jo practice for the benefit of our new student(s). Afterwards, we did a variety of techniques from Katatedori: Nikkyo, Sankyo, and Yonkyo.

Since half the class was made up of new students today, we each spent the night working with at least one of them at any given time. There's one new student in particular whom Dave and I suspect isn't really enjoying himself, and is possibly there out of obligation --- so we've been trying to raise his spirits as much as we can.

This young man will often get exasperated at himself for not getting something right and apologize a lot; he's also a pretty shy person to begin with, so I myself try to get him to smile by keeping things rather lighthearted (at least when I'm working with him) --- laughing at myself when something doesn't work out that well, etc. I guess I just want to show him that the learning process (frustrating as it can be at times) can also be an enjoyable one, and that he should cut himself some slack (yes, I know...I should take my own advice, right?)

From speaking to Dave about this, we've both realized how we feel it's our duty to give beginners encouragement --- a positive experience that shows them how we have a comfortable and supportive environment to learn in, and that no matter how tough things may get, they should stick with it because it's worth it in the end.

One more day to the seminar, and I'm good to go!
Views: 324

In General Feeling Back to Normal Again Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #100 New 02-18-2004 11:58 PM
...and thank goodness.

I spoke to an older friend of mine at work yesterday about how things have been going, practicing for the Gokkyu test. She's an energy healer and a former Shodan in Judo, and had some insightful things to say --- rather, she helped point me in the right direction.

"This isn't about being perfect," she said. "this is about where you are right now." And she's right. I realized that I needed to stop nitpicking and just let myself do what I naturally do, to the best of my ability. "My body instinctively knows how to move when I'm completely focused," I said. She then told me that I already know for myself the answer that I seek. "So what do you need to do?" she asked me. I paused and thought for a moment. Then it occured to me. All of a sudden, it seemed so simple. I couldn't believe that I hadn't noticed it before. "I need to breathe. I got all pent up yesterday during the test run-through because I stopped paying attention to my breathing."

So I did. We ran through my test first tonight. And guess what? It worked! It no longer felt as labourous or clumsy as before. It felt so...free. And a couple of times, when things didn't happen with uke quite the way you'd normally expect, I laughed. It was great!

For the rest of the night, I worked on Katatedori Koshinage [note to self: remember to touch the floor with your free hand] with my Sempais (who practiced Shomenuchi Gokkyo in Suwari Waza on me --- aka "ouch, that's nasty!") and Katatedori Shihonage with our newest student.

Cou ...More Read More
Views: 383 | Comments: 2

In General Yet More C-C-Cold K-K-K-Keiko... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #99 New 02-18-2004 12:32 AM
It was another freezing day in the dojo. The mats were so icy that at one point, Sempai Jeremy's toes went white and he had to rub them during practice to get the circulation going again.

Dave and I went into the dojo about an hour early today to do more pre-test practicing, and it turned out that not only was Sensei there early, but incidentally, Sempai Tim popped by --- just in time to practice with me instead. He'll be testing for Yonkyu, and so we alternated between my being uke for his Ushiro Ryotekubitori Kotegaeshi, Shihonage, and Shomenuchi Koshinage, and he being my uke for my Shomenuchi Sankyo and Katatedori Koshinage.

It turns out that with Sankyo, I've been holding uke's fingers differently all this time (though I could have sworn someone once told me to do it that way) --- instead, I need to initially grasp them so that the back of uke's hand is against my palm (not palm-to-palm, as I've been doing so far). My timing on the Ura version of Sankyo could be a little quicker as well.

With Koshinage, I need to be perpendicular to uke, which means stepping further than his lead foot (something that I also could have sworn I noted before in this journal, but whatever). I've also been standing straight too early --- I need to provide more of a rocking motion to start to get uke rolling over before standing straight again.

In any case, it was a great warm-up, and I stopped noticing how cold it was for some time afterwards.

Later, there was a point in t ...More Read More
Views: 423

In General Back Again and --- Gaaah! Less than ONE week to t Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #98 New 02-16-2004 11:42 PM
While I was away from the home dojo for two weeks (and stuck without a viable surrogate one), I had to make due with going over the techniques for the entire test again and again in my head practically every day while was gone, and doing solo kata whenever I found the time and space. While in the Philippines, I also found (er, improvised )some interesting exercises along the way that I would never have expected:
- turning my foot outwards and using my hips more than just my arms while pumping water (for everything --- laundry, bathing, the toilet, cooking, etc.)
- keeping centred and rooting myself while riding in Jeepneys (bumpy and winding roads, sideways seating, and no seatbelts) instead of holding onto the handrail --- worked quite nicely
- testing my speed and awareness while dodging really fast traffic (mostly small, motorized tricycles) as a pedestrian (no crosswalks)

So by the time I got back into town, I was no longer as apprehensive as I was about my test when I left. On Sunday (yesterday), Dave and I went into the dojo alone to do some practicing and we ran through my test. Because of the height difference between us, Katatedori Koshinage was rather awkward (though fairly managable, particularly on one side but not so much on the other, for some reason). This was amplified even more while running through the test for Sensei today after Bokken practice, this time with Jeremy as my Uke. He's a bit taller than Dave, and I couldn't even load him entirel ...More Read More
Views: 428 | Comments: 2

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