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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: 542,778

In General Wing Chun and Aikido - Continued... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #189 New 09-19-2005 02:31 PM
So I just had my second class yesterday. I seem to be picking things up pretty quickly, comparatively...but then, after Aikido, just about *anything* seems easy. :-P

Among the "cognate" principles/underlying similarities to Aikido that I have been finding include Wing Chun's:

- "immovable elbows" (keeping one's elbows down)
- reliance upon breath for power (kokyu)
- staying relaxed
- "bridge" ("unbendable arm")
- trapping the opponent's joints
- blending/deflecting instead of blocking strikes
- protecting the centreline

Differences between the two that I foresee having difficulties with:

- not using one's hips for power (so as to not telegraph one's strikes)
- a closed, square stance instead of hanmi (ironically, both arts claim similar premise to back up why their stance is more martially-effective compared to the other; Wing Chun's claim is that the one-foot-forward fencing stance with an arm extended leaves one susceptible to trapping, whereas Aikido's is that it leaves less openings)
- my Wing Chun instructor's penchant for telling his students to tap into their emotions --- particularly their rage, their "dark side" for power --- something I would prefer not to do; but then, I'm also Aiki-biased. That or I've watched too many samurai movies and would rather leave emotions out of combat as much as possible...

As for whatever bad habits I might accumulate out of my little experiment in cross-training --- that still remains to be seen.
Views: 4144 | Comments: 3

In General Wing Chun and Aikido Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #188 New 09-12-2005 09:29 AM
So...I signed up for a Wing Chun Do Kung Fu class at the university recently and just had my first lesson yesterday.

I'd been looking forward to seeing what it's like --- if only as a good complement to Aikido --- but naturally won't be doing the Thursdays (which would take away from my time at NWA). Sensei's jealous enough about it as it is. :-D I did, however, have some bad feelings about it...after signing up, I saw a poster in which the Wing Chun instructor claims he is "Third Generation Bruce Lee" and posts a picture of himself with his former instructor next to a picture of his instructor with Bruce Lee. Not only is this tacky on it's own, but what makes it even cheesier (and more dubious) is that the second picture is obviously a very badly doctored image in which he combined two separate graphics of Bruce Lee and his own teacher. The pixellation and different resolutions are a dead giveaway. I mean, come on. The graphics editor in me was reeling. The martial artist in me was quite apprehensive, to say the least.

But I was pleasantly surprised. Though warming up by kicking a hacky sack around and bowing to a Bruce Lee poster were...singularly unique experiences. The instructor, aside from looking like a club bouncer, seems to be able to explain things in fairly good detail (though I found some of the language he used had a predominantly militaristic tone to it). Aside from the awkward differences in stance and movement (especially the footwork --- str ...More Read More
Views: 2008 | Comments: 2

In General Just for laughs Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #187 New 08-30-2005 09:23 AM

"Ferrets don't like knives," --- wise words from Itachi, the Aikido Ferret
Views: 546

In General Sempai Jamie & Reverse-Engineering Technique, Revi Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #186 New 08-25-2005 12:00 PM
Well, folks come and go --- such is the way of dojos, they say. Sempai Jim has left for London, ON to do a Post-Doc internship for a year, my other Sempais have been away for most of the Summer and to top it all off (as I've alluded in a previous post) we've had quite a few new students join up lately.

As a result, I've been Sensei's demo uke a fair amount over the past few months for both the kids' and adult classes, which in itself is always an interesting experience. For one, all this extra "output" of energy has resulted in my losing weight (or so folks have noticed --- as I had not)...for those of you who have seen me, this can be a freakishly scary concept considering I'm practically a stick as it is. I'm also trying desperately to gain weight so as to finally be able to reach the minimum allowable weight at which one can donate blood. Though my "output" of energy has increased, my "input" in terms of meals hasn't very much so as we speak, I'm working to increase my caloric intake quite a bit.

I'm also wanting to start doing a bit of conditioning, particularly in the core area, as well as take some Wing Chun Kung Fu in order to supplement my Aikido abilities wherever possible --- but I'll have to save that for another journal entry.

Right now, I'm slowly settling into a Sempai role, which is strange and yet gratifying in the sense of being able to share one's experience and enthusiasm about Aikido with other women. It's not something I had much exposure ...More Read More
Views: 468

In General Oh, for heaven's sake. Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #185 New 07-27-2005 09:32 AM
After helping out with the kids', Sensei ran me through my test again during regular class. All I can say is, "what the hell is wrong with me?" I completely blank out on Shomenuchi Sankyo (!), for crying out loud! Sigh.

Once *that* fiasco was over, I got to work on the second version of Tsuki Koshinage (since I only knew how do the first, direct entry, version during the test run-through). And for the record, despite what Sensei seems to believe, I had NEVER learned the second version in class before AT ALL. So there. If he's mixing me up with Garry or Jim, don't even get me started. :-P

And about my Randori lately, a note to self:
Move faster.
Hit harder.
Aim lower.
...already! And for the love of Pete, you better come up with some better moves than the same old, same old. Sheesh!

Since there is no "Highly Dissatisfied with One's Technique" option under Mood, "Disgusted" will have to do.
Views: 443 | Comments: 1

In General Less talk, more practice Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #184 New 07-04-2005 12:01 PM
...is exactly how I would describe my training these days.

Hmm --- I keep forgetting to mention that Sensei ran me through my Sankyu test when he got back from his little sabbatical...well, seeing as I was trying to wing most of it (hehe) --- particularly Ushiro Ryokatadori Ikkyo, it was high on the practice priority list. Trying to emulate the correct body positioning in relation to uke after the tenkan was quite frustrating, but I ended up getting the hang of it after dedicating a couple of nights specifically to this one technique (of which I also have to do Nikkyo, Sankyo, and Yonkyo for the test). Thank goodness it's not so much of a bane anymore! I thought I'd never learn it.

What is definitely a pain in the butt (instead of the nerve - Ha. Ha. ) is my blasted one-sided Yonkyo. It's strange because when I do it (dropping my weight down) on my left hand, it's pretty sharp --- but when I try it with my right (my dominant hand/arm) it's weak. My practice partners thus far have ascertained that for some reason, I hold their wrist slightly differently when attempting the latter pin. Sensei also believes that I bend my right wrist instead of keeping it straight. Go figure. The amusing thing is that Sensei complains about his apparently one-sided Kotegaeshi...no, Sensei, it's painful no matter which way you do it. :-P

The kids are still practicing with us earlier in the night, and I've been helping out with them for the most part. Practice/learning-wise, ...More Read More
Views: 425

In General Jo in the Park Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #183 New 06-19-2005 06:03 PM
After almost two weeks of non-stop rain, it was with a great deal of joy that we were able to finally do the weapons work in the park that we had been looking forward to for some time.

Though it was just me, Sempai Jeremy and Sensei, we had a good time of it --- working on all of the kata (13, 22, and 31-step) and some exchanges (the paired 13-step). At first, it took some time getting used to the (rather unexpected) disorientation that Jeremy and I seemed to experience --- forgetting steps and movements we had done plenty of times before while immersed in a completely new environment --- having to deal with all of the distractions you don't ever have in the dojo: the glare of the sun, the resistance of the wind, the different feel of the terrain. After a little bit of time, thankfully, we both got into the groove of things and performed more consistently. Naturally, the change in environment was no skin off Sensei's nose.

We ended things by doing a bit of empty hand (non-falling) Randori with striking/countering exchanges and sticky-hand/pushing. Of course, without walls to worry about, this ranged all over the place.

All in all, a wonderful experience --- the cool breeze upon you beats any airconditioning in a stuffy dojo, bar none. I do hope we do more of this in future, particularly in different kinds of environments in order to become further acclimated to recalling technique, reacting instinctively and adapting to one's surroundings regardless of w ...More Read More
Views: 426

In General Our Reign is Over Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #182 New 06-14-2005 09:12 AM
Quote of the Day...
While teaching the kids ukemi and watching as Sempai Jeremy and newbie Dave run through their own ukemi drills: "So you always want to make sure that you stay nice and round, just like Jeremy and...Jeremy."

...Sensei's back tonight. I think we're all feeling pretty relieved about it, actually. It'll be good to get back to more of the usual training --- after two weeks of mild stuff, you can really feel it. It'll also be quite interesting after two weeks of seeing us all adapt and teach (in all our inept and idiosyncratic glory) to see how The Big Man in Charge does it.
Views: 361

In General I almost forgot... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #181 New 06-06-2005 02:28 PM
Not only are kids super-observant, but they say the darndest things.

Christian raises his hand while Tim is demonstrating the opening to Tsuki Kotegaeshi.

"Um, Sensei...do we have to stick our finger out like that?"
Views: 383

In General While the Sensei's away... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #180 New 06-05-2005 02:02 PM
...the kids will play. Or something like that.

Sensei's gone on a two week sabbatical of sorts and in an unprecedented move, we had three nine-year-old boys start training while he's been gone. So it's been "all hands on deck" so far --- though teaching responsibility was to be split between three Sempai, only two have shown up in the past week, and I ended up being called upon to help pick up the slack.

Needless to say, we've all had to do a fair amount of adapting, breaking basic techniques down into "easier to swallow portions", inventing Aiki-ish games, etc. --- so far over the past few days we've shown them/done:
- the old warm-up and stretches
- simple atemi and ukemi drills
- shikko
- tenkan drills
- katatedori shihonage, katatedori iriminage, ushiroryokata kokyunage (hanmi handachi waza)
- a modified randori where the object is for everyone else to be uke and try to grab the tails of nage's obi
- Jo striking drills

Though I was initially feeling a little apprehensive when asked by Sensei to help lead class while he was away (more insecure about my lack of qualifications, really --- since at the time it seemed that my Sempai would not be available), I certainly don't feel that way about teaching kids. Not only do I feel so much more at ease (having worked with kids so very much in a voluntary capacity for many years) but ever since they've started, my mind has been positively racing with tons of ideas for ways to teach them Aikido.

From speakin ...More Read More
Views: 592 | Comments: 1

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