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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: 542,711

In General Yet More Shihonage, Slow and Steady :-) Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #30 New 09-16-2003 10:20 PM
Not much to report...we did some atemi drills for the benefit of the new students, then broke up into groups and Dave and I worked on Shomenuchi Shihonage.

Things I need to keep conscious of:
- after blocking, slide rear leg back at about 45 degrees from uke's line of attack
- making sure uke's hand is locked against his shoulder before cutting down (especially on less tall ukes, such as Sempai Tim --- things seem to work fine when I'm working with much taller ukes)

I've been doing Shihonage at a slower pace (not only to help baby Dave's sore wrist) but to watch my own technique more closely, and I think it's helping; I'm making adjustments as I go along whenever things don't feel right.

It's nice to have the opportunity to work on one technique for a long period of time --- I'm sure the new students also really appreciate the ability to concentrate on a single technique at a time like this too; after all, it's overwhelming enough for them as it is.

As an aside: Dave's breakfalls are scary ---we all cringe whenever he does them. His body has a tendency to turn over on its side and he'll barrel roll in mid-air with his legs out to the side (instead of going up and over) and he'll land awkwardly in a manner that looks most painful...it worries me sometimes. Hopefully he'll improve on them soon.
Views: 372

In General Feeling Uke Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #29 New 09-15-2003 11:53 PM
I am at the point where more and more, I am valuing any opportunities I can get to train with different people. We had another visitor from out of town train with us tonight, and although I had been looking forward to being able to "feel" the Aikido of someone different and new to me, I had very little chance to do so, as Sensei had for the most part split up the class' lessons between those students who are ranked and those who are not (such as myself). Hopefully, there will be more chances in the coming week while he's in town --- as I feel that I am gaining much more insight into my own Aikido the more I am exposed to another's.

In any case, everyone's body is built and moves differently, thus giving one the task of having to adapt accordingly; at the very least, having new and different ukes gives me good practice in responsiveness. Which reminds me: a new student was uke for me while we were doing Katatetori Shihonage, and (like with the other new student last week) I was finding that after I pivoted, uke's arm would never be in a tightly locked position; instead, it would be outwards behind their neck in that scary break-arm position (somewhat due to the new uke's impulse to twist out of the arm lock). I finally realized that so long as I kept my arm and elbow level under uke's throughout the entire turn/pivot, uke's wrist would ultimately end up in the locked position, flush with his/her shoulder --- thereby solving the problem.

Great. So long as I consi ...More Read More
Views: 445

In General This Week's No Pain, No Gain Tally Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #28 New 09-12-2003 11:08 PM

- Really dark bruise (unusual for me) on my inner leg...probably from banging the insides of my knees together during tobu ukemi; thank goodness for Arnica cream
- Strained right calf earlier in the week (don't ask how, because I have no idea)
- Sore legs, mostly in the upper thighs --- guess I'd better get used to it!


- A full week of classes --- yay!
- Feeling better while doing breakfalls; they're getting more comfortable (if that's at all possible)
- Being able to focus more on feeling one's partner, and what's behind my Aikido rather than simply the forms (which it has been very easy to get carried away with, as I'm a beginner)
- Finding the time to consider the concepts of leadership, awareness, perspective, and harmony in Aikido a little more
- Experiencing firsthand harmony in a technique from an uke's perspective

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
Views: 366

In General Finding (or Creating?) Harmony Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #27 New 09-12-2003 10:47 PM
You Know it's a Friday When...
- In unison, all the nages stand there with their hands grasped by their ukes, and pause for quite some time trying to figure out what to do.
- Just about everyone is taped up in some way from injury.
- After a just a few breakfalls, everyone is pretty much peeling themselves off the mat.

Happy Friday!

Hooray for me, this is the first week I've been able to attend ALL five classes! Hopefully there won't be anything to drag me away for awhile, and maybe I can actually make it a habit...*knock on wood*

Tonight we did Kaeshi Waza (reversals) from Morotaetori Nikkyo for the most part. I generally find Kaeshi Waza fun, particularly when I feel the blending and flowing of movements into each other, back and forth in harmony with your partner.

Incidentally (or perhaps not), Sensei discussed wanting us to spend the class concentrating less on physical technique and more on our training partners; to think less of competition and more of the principle of love in what we do. It's interesting that he should mention this, as I've noticed that it seems at times that (though well-meaning, supportive and kind as they can be) some people tend to get into a subconscious mindset in which their training partner has become little more than a body to throw around to get reps in so that they can advance in rank.

Now, in trying to understand the perspectives of these people, I wondered whether or not this was more a tendency to detach oneself fr ...More Read More
Views: 305

In General Perspective Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #26 New 09-11-2003 11:15 AM
We had another new student come in for their first class last night. Sempai Jeremy added to my earlier reflections, commenting how having new students in the dojo not only draws attention to certain basic aspects of techniques that he might not have realized before, but how seeing new students just starting out really shows you how far you yourself have come. (Though personally, it doesn't really feel like it most of the time!)

Speaking of which, Sempai Tim commented after class how much I've grown as a student, especially in how good my ukemi has been looking lately. I really need to learn how to take a compliment better. Such situations are one of the few things that leave me feeling awkward more than anything else, and that's not surprising really, considering how awkward doing techniques felt for me last night. Heck, the breakfalls were the only thing that felt good. (gasp!)

Last night's class really showed me how, on one hand, I may be feeling some progress ---feeling so much better about tobu ukemi (it's like the more I practice it, the more comfortable I'm feeling about it) --- but on the other hand, there are times when I feel like I haven't really gotten anywhere. It's like a feeling as though I'm going "two steps forward, one step back".

The first technique we did was Katatetori Shihonage, and you would think that having done it so many times, I would at least remember the opening...but no...even though Sempai Tim demonstrated it for us a coup ...More Read More
Views: 470

In General Awareness Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #25 New 09-09-2003 11:11 PM
A Tuesday, for once...but minus the Randori. *sniffle*

Looks like I'll be able to actually attend Tuesdays for a while, at least until the end of the month when my volunteer ESL teaching should resume (who knows, it might not even be Tuesday nights again).

For the time being, we'll be working on test stuff on Tuesdays instead of Randori in order to prepare for this Fall's testing period (no idea when it will be). On tonight's menu:

Shomenuchi Nikkyo (Suwari Waza) - Random notes...
- keep arms extended (though not locked completely straight) when pinning
- pin uke's hand against collarbone/shoulder closest to him, hold in place with opposite hand, and with hand closest to him wrapped around his wrist, settle weight down towards him

Shomenuchi Kotegaishi
- don't step in too closely upon initial entry
- roll hand of blocking arm outwards while turning/tenkan to grab uke's wrist with other hand
- step back a fair amount to "stretch" uke out right before kotegaishi
- remember that kotegaishi is not a pumping motion, but a blending one --- up and around, over and against uke's hand, with my hand straight over his and the middle of my covering palm should be over my thumb; my arms should be extending downwards, as if into my centre
- straighten uke's arm so that his shoulder is flush with and right down to the mat before performing pin with both hands, dropping weight on the back of his down-turned hand
Notes on Breakfalling for Kotegaishi:
- mov ...More Read More
Views: 335

In General New Season, New Students Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #24 New 09-08-2003 11:30 PM
We walked into the dojo to see a new (and decidedly female) face on the mats tonight. I pretty well ran into the men's washroom after Dave to proclaim, "Wow --- there's actually another girl in there!" I wanted to go up to her and poke her a couple of times to make sure she was for real and not some figment of my imagination. Obviously, it's been some time since I'd had a fellow female training partner. So much so, that I was beginning to question my own gender.

I was told that around this time of year (as well as in the New Year), we get an influx of folks inquiring into our dojo and not coincidentally, some new students as well. With new students comes a different mode of training (at least in smaller dojos such as our own) --- older students get reintroduced to the basics and are given the opportunity to guide another student who is less familiar with the techniques that they take for granted (I would like to say, "that they do now with ease," but everyone would know that I'd be lying ).

It's a great experience for all of us, especially those of us such as myself who are "not-that-much-older students" --- we are made to re-examine the fundamentals of our own techniques and see if they've evolved or deviated at all, for better or for worse (it is as though we are shown a mirror to ourselves and thus are given the awareness to make an adjustment).

We are also given a training partner who will respond honestly (without the anticipation of seasoned aikid ...More Read More
Views: 435

In General The Past Week's No Pain, No Gain Tally Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #23 New 09-06-2003 05:49 PM
- Very minor Yonkyo bruises (we only did Yonkyo once Friday night, so these don't even come close to the all-over-the-arm bruising I'd normally get from Yonkyo-marathon nights). Nothing that a little Arnica Cream can't handle.
- Not that this is really much of a pain, but ever since I went for a trim, my hair keeps falling into my face annoyingly during training. This can't be helped, since I'm planning to grow it out really long (past my waist) and then get it all chopped off to donate for the making of Chemo wigs for kids with Cancer (in the meantime, I'm thinking of collecting pledges from friends and family to donate to Cancer Care Manitoba). I guess when it gets unbearably long, I'll just have to put it into a Pat Hendricks-like braid, and then when I finally donate it all, maybe I'll get them to give me a Mary Heiny-esque short cut. Or maybe I'll shave it all off and freak out the guys at the dojo.
- Wow...I guess that's it! No big surprise, since I was only in town for two classes this week.
- Oh yeah --- one more pain: I could only attend two classes this week.

- Insights from a very interesting book on strategy
- Awareness: both about being relaxed, and about timing
- The knowledge that: less ukemi practice = more dizziness. Lesson: practice ukemi whenever possible!
- Some fairly prolific Aikido journal writing
- Just finished downloading some more Aikido videos, this time of O Sensei, Saito, Mary Heiny and Gozo Shi ...More Read More
Views: 395

In General Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #22 New 09-06-2003 05:31 PM
Friday night was my first "regular" class in about a week, due to being out of town...Sensei had promised the night before that Friday would more than make up for the gentleness of Thursday's class, and not surprisingly, Dave ended up staying home out of sleep deprivation. Whereas Dave would normally be the one to have difficulty during ukemi, it seemed to be my turn last night --- after the first ten Mai ukemi, I was already dizzy --- so much so, I had to steady myself with one hand on the mat before continuing. I suppose it can only be expected considering I hadn't done any ukemi in a week or so.

We began the night's techniques by working on Shomenuchi Yonkyo (Suwari Waza) --- Yonkyo being something that I am still working on, or rather straggling by at, trying to get some form of consistent success out of it.
A couple of things I need to keep in mind --- thanks as usual to Sensei's eagle eye (teehee...I just told him about this journal, so I guess I'd better shine the proverbial apple lest he decide to read this one day ) --- and which seemed to make things work well for me last night were:
- keeping the fingers of my Yonkyo-applying hand wrapped around uke's wrist like a bokken while performing the technique
- while doing the pin, my shin should be inside uke's elbow, and uke's hand should be in front of me while I keep my Yonkyo-applying arm straight and extended, and I drop my weight on it to apply Yonkyo

The latter part of the class was devoted to tec ...More Read More
Views: 328

In General Unifying Mind and Body Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #21 New 09-05-2003 01:31 PM
Thursday nights after Jo practice, we have been doing more Ki-building, rooting, and centering exercises as of late. Sensei wants to make this a regular thing, which most of us are quite happy about, it being something we all need a lot of practice doing.

While trying to relax our muscles during the three breathing postures we cycled through, I wondered how much of a fine line there is between ascetic mind-induced numbness to pain, and the placebo-like visualizations we had to use to keep our muscles relaxed while suspending our limbs in awkward, upraised stationary positions.

There came a time when it felt like my mind drifted away into some other place, detached from my body, which was experiencing some discomfort. It was as though I was aware of the presence of pain, and yet it did not bother me --- I was somewhere else completely. Is this what ascetics feel in deep meditation? Like they have somehow gone above the realm of the physical?

But this distance between mind and body troubled me --- in combat, it would be a very hazardous thing. And one of the main principles of the art is to unify mind and body, not to separate them with emotional numbness to avoid pain. This seems to me far above simple asceticism. To unify mind and body in such a context, then, must be to become relaxed in one's body to the point of going beyond concern for physical discomfort while at the same time keeping a completely sensitive awareness to one's environment and the intera ...More Read More
Views: 430

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