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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 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: 493,135

In General No Pain, No Gain Tally for the Past Week Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #41 New 10-05-2003 01:42 AM

- being sick and only being able to get out to train twice this week


- a speedier recovery than usual, since I gave my body more time to rest
- more practice listening to my own body and learning how to better take care of it (since Happy Bod = ability to give 100% on the mats, after all)
Views: 919 | Comments: 6

In General On Feeling Disadvantaged... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #40 New 10-03-2003 10:12 PM
We started the evening off with Shomenuchi Yonkyo (Suwari Waza). I need to keep in mind that:
- the hand that applies Yonkyo is the one from the inside, and does so from the inside (heeheehee --- oops!)
- it's easier to take uke's centre if you cast upwards and towards him (so that his elbow is pointing up) prior to casting down

After this, we spent the rest of the night doing a variety of techniques from tanto attacks, such as: Nikyo from a thrust to the chest, Iriminage from a series of yokomenuchi-like slashes to the neck, and Sankyo from a thrust the chest. It was during this latter technique that I was (as usual) having difficulty maintaining my grip while trying to apply Sankyo with one hand (as I have very small hands) and wrenching the knife out with the other. At this point Sensei recommended that I do Sankyo two-handed, grab the knife more stably this way, drop the knife, then apply the full Sankyo into the throw while putting more pressure (not with the hand that was losing its grip around uke's palm) but with the other hand, around the part of uke's hand near his fingertips.

This of course gave me much better control, but it led me to think about the possibility of there being disadvantages to being smaller in Aikido...which I know is insane because, heck --- O Sensei was just barely smaller than I am (and I'm 5'1" ), not to mention the undoubtedly great number of small Japanese shihans out there! But then, those were and are exceptional people. ...More Read More
Views: 861 | Comments: 5

In General Patterns Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #39 New 10-02-2003 10:26 PM
Well, not so much of a training week has passed for me --- I caught a cold on Monday just as we were coming back into town and figured that I ought to not only stay away for the sake of preventing everyone else from catching it, but to get better more quickly by getting more rest. After trying to train while sick at June's seminar in Dryden, I'm not making that same mistake twice! So I go back to work and to the dojo for the first time today in almost a week from staying away, and what do you know --- most everyone has already caught whatever's been floating around and have been going to work or Aikido anyway, so my good intentions in that respect turned out to be all for nought. On the plus side, I have been recovering faster, so something good came of it.

But I digress...tonight's practice was not as frustrating for me as it normally would have been, so perhaps I'm gaining a little more patience with myself after all. We mostly did techniques involving leading tonight (originating from katatedori/kosadori), and the big problem (which became a pattern) for me was for the most part during techniques where I am leading uke with my arm over my head --- I tend to end up using shoulder strength (as Sensei pointed out to me many times) instead of my hips/centre. In general, I need to relax my arm more and bend at the elbow (as in kokyuho) or move with my whole body, keeping my elbow bent and in my centre or on my centreline before turning (as in other techniques) ...More Read More
Views: 473

In General A Life's Kiai Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #38 New 09-27-2003 09:54 AM
Well, last week --- I forsee --- will most likely be my last full week of training in a while, for this week my Wednesday and Thursday nights were occupied (and Wednesdays will be in future with volunteer ESL teaching) not on the mats as per usual but in a manner that I daresay was just as rewarding and no less befitting someone seeking a martial way.

Welcoming a New Aikidoka into the World...

Wednesday evening, Dave and I visited with some close friends and their newborn daughter. Despite the new parents' exhaustion, they still invited us over, and we weren't about to shun the opportunity to give them our support and meet baby Dayna.

Now, babies are indeed fascinating creatures --- though they are not yet able to communicate with us using the kind of verbal language we are accustomed to, it's not for lack of trying in the least. They are perfectly aware of their own self-interests and do not hesitate for one moment to attempt expressing these needs to you, and wholeheartedly so! Our friend the new father told us of how baby Dayna would get so upset about something completely unbeknownst to him, screaming at the top of her tiny lungs to either be fed, burped or changed --- all her limbs and digits splayed out in rage. And so little Dayna, it seems, already has very little trouble sharing her martial spirit and kiai with the world!

"For Whom You Fight..."

As my friends and I walked down our inner city streets Thursday night chanting and yelling at the ...More Read More
Views: 384

In General Patience Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #37 New 09-23-2003 11:03 PM
...or rather, my lack thereof.

As you might have guessed, the perfectionist in me is struggling with...well...imperfection. I try not to let it irk me, especially on the mats, but still can't help pushing myself. I suppose that this kind of internal motivation is fine until it becomes self-destructive, and I certainly don't let it go that far. Regardless, I should cut myself some slack. I've only been doing this for about a year in total, after all --- what should I expect? Evidently more, judging from the standards I set for myself. :P

Slowing my techniques down has been helping considerably. It's as though I've alleviated myself somewhat of the pressure (ironically, also of my own doing) to do things fast and hard like some of my Sempais (it's so easy to get caught up in, especially when you're partnered with them)...instead, I can concentrate on what I'm doing in a step-by-step yet continuous manner while easily making any necessary adjustments on the fly. It's like I'm shifting myself back into "Beginner Gear" all over again. Whatever it is, I'm finding it way more rewarding than ever before.

Introspection helps a lot too.

Tonight we did (random notes):

Shomenuchi Nikkyo (Suwari Waza)
- having trouble (as always, since I have such small hands) rolling uke's hand over into mine for Nikkyo...it seems to help when I keep the palm of my hand in contact with the back of uke's throughout the whole rolling motion, and if I keep uke's hand raised u ...More Read More
Views: 465

In General Kokyuho and...more Kokyuho Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #36 New 09-22-2003 09:55 PM
You won't be getting a deeply profound journal entry from me tonight because frankly, I'm way too busy at the moment. Apologies --- hopefully I'll be returning to my usual state of mind sometime soon.

We didn't do Tae Sabaki tonight after Bokken...instead, we did some:
Katatetori Kokyuho
Tsuki Kokyuho
The Technique Which Cannot Be Named (teehee...bit of a Lord of the Rings in-joke --- only those of you who read the books will get it ) --- it cannot be named because Sensei didn't mention the name, and its one distinguishing feature for me is that when Dave does the throw, he looks like a big white bird flapping its wings :P

So, if any of you kind and knowledgeable folks out there in Aikiweb-land can tell me the name of the technique where nage looks like a big white bird flapping its wings, please let me know. If I keep referring to it as such (comical as it is), this will no longer continue to sound like Aikido but some form of Kung Fu.

Ask and ye shall receive...
We did more slow-motion Randori (er, Jiyu Waza) to tie in the techniques we practiced tonight, though we only had time for just one round. It doesn't even matter much to me that my own round was so horrible --- I'm just so happy we did it!
Views: 263

In General This Week's No Pain, No Gain Tally Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #35 New 09-21-2003 01:17 AM

- Minor bruising here and there (what else is new?) from a couple of awkward breakfalls...not too shabby!

- A bit of stiffness in the shoulders and neck (no idea from what though)

- That's it! Woohoo!


- Another full week of classes! Lookin' good...

- A growing understanding of the value in:
feeling uke
taking things slowly
controlled breathing

- Rewarding experiences during Slow-Motion Randori --- okay, so it was fun. What else is new?
Views: 262

In General More on Timing... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #33 New 09-20-2003 01:29 AM
Friday night, we did a lot of throws from Ushiro Ryotekubitori; according to Sensei, so that we can get practice feeling uke's centre even when he is not directly within our sight (see last entry on a similar note). While we did these, I found that a great deal of what one might consider "good timing" in technique seems to very much depend upon knowing how to feel uke's centre being taken in relation to how you keep your own centre rooted. It seems that if your timing is off by just a little bit --- either too soon or too late --- especially with your leading movements, either uke's balance will not be taken at all, or your own balance will be in jeopardy.

Perhaps it's for this reason that I'm enjoying "leading" techniques such as these more and more these days; having to make a split-second adjustment to adapt to the subtleties of uke's movements can really feel satisfying during those rare moments when I feel like I've actually gotten the hang of our flow, so to speak. Though these moments are indeed few and far between for me right now, when they do happen, it can only be described as a very rewarding experience! An experience I hope to repeat.

Random notes...
Ryokatadori Kokyuho (Suwari Waza):
- While dropping centre, cut inside one of uke's elbows down in a round (almost spiralling/corkscrew-ish) fashion; this can also be done so that his elbow becomes folded right into his centre (if uke happens to be loosely grabbing already, otherwise snap upwards unde ...More Read More
Views: 425

In General Slow-Motion Randori Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #32 New 09-20-2003 01:10 AM
After the usual Jo practice Thursday night, we were pleasantly (albeit unexpectedly) surprised to be given the opportunity to do Randori again...slowed-down. *cue Matrix-esque bullet-time music here*

It was thought that perhaps Sensei had grown wary of the rate of injury during full-speed Randori, had read of this idea somewhere and decided to try it out --- whatever the case, it was a welcome break from test stuff which, as one of my Sempais pointed out, can get rather tedious after a while. Suffice it to say, I for one wasn't about to look a gift-Randori in the mouth.

Slowing things down meant that instead of only being able to do one (or maybe two) rounds of Randori at the most in a night, we were each now afforded the ability to do no less than three rounds of Randori per technique (Katatetori Shihonage - omote and ura, and Tsuki Kotegaishi) as nage, as opposed to our typically being winded after just one round each. It also meant being able to try timing one's movements better, and in doing so, better overcoming the tightness and frantic desperation of the whole fight-or-flight adrenaline rush. Well, at least for me it did.

I made a great effort against my own natural "combat-mode" urges (as once mentioned here before) in order to go slow and steady both as uke and nage, and I think that deliberately slowing down my breathing helped keep this pace. This must have also increased my concentration somewhat, for I even resisted getting caught up in the k ...More Read More
Views: 344

In General Breathe Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #31 New 09-18-2003 12:45 AM
For tonight's class, I decided to concentrate primarily on my breathing --- all through the warm-up, and for as long as I was able to focus on it for the rest of the night.

The first thing I noticed was how contrived concentrating on one's breathing feels --- it almost felt laboured in a way. After all, we generally take breathing for granted and let our body naturally handle its own air intake as needed.

Eventually, however, I began to feel more synchronicity, more in unison --- so to speak --- with my body, particularly when I coupled "contrived" breathing with movements during techniques. Controlled breathing during the ukemi drills, for the most part, gave me a greater feeling of energy, so long as we did not pause for too great a length of time in between rolls (which made me dizzy and threw my breathing off ).

Later in the evening, when my rate of breathing increased (naturally due to increased activity), I would find that in moments of fatigue, a slow inhalation and exhalation (I'm not sure if this was a subconscious response or deliberate on my part --- for the life of me, I can't remember) had an almost "cleansing" effect on me --- it felt as though my body was purging all of its tension in order to ready myself just before embarking on another exertion.

Curiouser, and curiouser.

Random technique notes and adjustments...

Shomenuchi Sankyo (suwari waza):
- "new" way...slide hand down and roll uke's hand over (twisting with palm on back of ...More Read More
Views: 513 | Comments: 2

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