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This is an excellent technique to work on. Quite possibly because I don't seem to be able to place any of the details that would make it an effective technique. We worked on it in several forms, including a direct entry form. Rick and I were like bull seals slamming into one another most of the time. I asked sensei about it at the end of class, and he demonstrated that it was not the timing which Rick and I thought that it was but the extension, when the Uke grabs your wrist for the first hand, you should already be extending your center and your arm outward and downward, so that the Uke's energy is absorbed well before they actually run into you. The sense demonstrated on me how it could be done with maximum extension so that the Uke would not touch your shoulder, but be thrown before there was bodily contact. This made sense, and I will have to see if I can practice this a little bit with Noel this weekend.
This weekend is Sensie Gambell's seminar at the Mountain wind dojo in Nevada City. I am riding up with Sensie and Noel and staying at the dojo for the entire seminar. It should be interesting, and provide the opportunity to do quite a bit of Aikido.
Connection in weapons class:
Tonight we worked on a paired practice based on steps 8-11 of the 13 count Kata. It was really neat. For the first time I felt the connection with someone in sticks class. It helped a lot that the someone was Noel. He is so awesome to work with. It was really neat, the flow was there, the connection, a feeling of being connected to him even though we were not connected physically to one another. For just an instant I could understand that there was a connection before there was movement even. It was great, then we traded partners and it felt a lot more like a normal weapons class in which I tried not to hit anyone with my stick!
Wow brought along a friend and M got on the mat tonight!
The basics class focused on Ushiro Ryote Dori Ikkyo, however I spent the class working on tai no henko kihon and gyukute Dori Ikkyo with the friend I brought with me. He did well, but I don't think that it is the thing for him.
M in the mean time had a blast on the mat, worked with new people and got an idea of how everything worked. I am pretty sure that M is going to start joining me for most of the classes that I attend in the afternoons. This will be good.
The basics class was a light workout for me as I was the Sempie with both M and my friend. It was a lot of work, and a lot of responsibility, but not a work out. Sensei called for rolling practice at the end of class, and gave me some pointers on my back rolls which of course completely destroyed my being able to do them at all on one side. The other side did happen to get much smoother though!
The second evening class we worked on Ushiro Ryote Dori Kokyu Ho again. A good thing, because I really don't feel that I have this at all. Worked with Rick, Noel, Eisa, and some other folks. It was interesting. Toward the end of class we worked on a very direct enrty Ushiro Ryote Dori Kokyu Ho, the uke getting stopped before they even go around you. Rick and I had a hard time making this flow at all. Sensie came over and I got to be the uke for a while. There was a pause in my attack where Rick generally slammed into me, sensei waited,
Morning class: Ushiro Ryote Dori Kokyu Ho
This was a new technique for me, I don't think that I have ever even seen it. It was most difficult to get the whole thing to work together at all. I managed to step or be stepped on by everyone until Sensei pointed out that I was giving the clues that it was going to be in Motion when I was then trying to do it static. (Egads I would never have figured that out). It was a great practice though, and Rick and I mostly figured out where it was that our feet were supposed to be. We practiced after class until Rick did the technique really well, super smooth and flowing, and we decided that was a great note to quit on.
I noticed that when I was upright and centered that it worked a lot better than when I was hunched over in the slightest. I have to work on that really hard, staying upright and keeping things in my center.
In Kyku Ho I have a tendency to want to look at the Uke instead of leaving them at the back of my head. I have to get over that too!
It was good to really turn in a good day on the mat though. I have also promised to take Donny and Celest with me to the Dojo tonight, getting both of them on the mat seems likely. I am fairly certain that there will be a number of Yudansha there to help with getting people oriented to the processes of the general Aikido world.
M is getting to the point that I think that we are going to get her on the mat soon.
Second Evening class: Ryote Dori Nikkyo. I have some of this down, but not most of it by any means. The things that I feel good about: The actual nikkyo part of technique. This just seemed to resonate with me. Getting out of the way of the Uke when I bring them gently to the mat. Having some feel of the energy involved, not great feel but some feel of it. What I don't feel that I have at all, the transition when they grab you from behind. Feels like I turn my back to them, watched Sensei and the sempies doing it for quite a while between the two classes. Sensei's back is never what I would consider to the UKE. I am not sure how exactly this happens, but it is smooth and easy when he does it. I know that I have a bunch of openings in this new technique, but I don't really feel all that much connection or flow in the beginning right after the Uke grabs my first arm, and goes for my second. There is a space of non connection non flow that seems to happen there. I think that I am suffering from doing it to fast too early, maybe slowing down will help.
Sensei pointed out that I was all bunched up and that I could allow a lot more room between myself and the Uke. This is opposite of my normal position where I am so far away that I have to lean over to touch UKE.
I really like the classes that we work on a single technique in. It feels like you get a little more of a chance to get things a little more right. I find them a little less frustrating that the classes tha
Much more with it today than I was on Tuesday. We worked on Ryote Dori Nikkyo. It was a great class. Learned about the Nikkyo pin a lot more, and the transitions between stages of the techniques. I worked with Noel, Rick, Nikki and Vaughan. It was a wonderful secession.
While working on the pin Sensei stopped the class and pointed out that we could still pin someone without it hurting them. This he pointed out was not only more compassionate, but in a real world situation would not force the person into survival mode from the pain that a Nikkyo pin could cause. This immediately made sense to me, and I could understand the importance of compassion in Aikido partially as a goal in everything that we undertake, but also as a very martial concept in our bag of tools.
This of course got me to thinking that there is a situation in life that I have felt pressured and somewhat attacked on lately. I realized that this feeling of being attacked had virtually eliminated my compassion for the person involved. Even though the attack is not one of a physical nature, my feeling of being pressed into a corner and feeling a bit pained made me want to take control of the situation with a little more force that would be necessary, not as much force as I have available, but enough to make sure that I was in control of the situation, even at the cost to the other person in the situation. After class I discussed this in even vaguer terms than this in the circle. It was
A bit distracted, and definitely still jet lagged from a trip to Europe it was with much zeal that I took to the mat this morning. Being back in the standard lesson format is good, back into the feeling that you don't know anything, where is it that my feet go? How did the Ukes arm get there, oh wait I must have moved it there, oops stepped on your foot, oops you steped on mine. The technique was Ryote dori Ikkyo, Kote gaeshi, Shiho nage, irimi nage. Jet lag and a new technique what a combination to really make me feel like I lost it completely over vacation…I have some of the feelings of what Ryote Dori is supposed to feel like, but am far from feeling it at all when I am doing it.
Sensei also spoke about how are hands were supposed to be in Tai No Henko, and in Ryote Dori, not like a lot of us are doing them splayed out turned back toward the elbow, but fingers close together, hand bent at the wrist toward the center of our bodies, and flowing with the energy of the ukes grab. This immediately made perfect intellectual sense, but dammed if I could keep doing it and think about the other parts of the technique.
Morning class was wonderful. I worked with Rick and Niki and Noel. It was fun. Niki took me through all of the Suwari waza. It was definitely not graceful, or mostly correct, but I think that I have at least a basic idea of what in the heck this is. Niki is an excellent teacher. Worked with Rick on a variety of techniques. It was a great class lots of energy. Sankyo was really interesting. So was Yonko which I worked with Rick a lot on.
Evening class was a struggle for the first time for me to stay present. I had a phone call just before class that made me mad. It was a struggle for me not to think of ways to deal with the situation that started on the phone when I was in class. Focusing on the techniques that I did not understand, and working with Eisa on Shoman Uchi Ikkyo through Yonkyo was helpful, then I worked on reversals with one of the yodansha. This was interesting in that it was the first time that I really understood what it was all about. After a couple of reversals I stated that I wanted to try to not let the reversal happen. Sensei came over immediately and explained that I was supposed to let the opening happen, create it for the Nage even, so that it was there to exploit. Then he showed me how to close the opening that I had naturally in my technique. It was a bit embarrassing as it was something that he had pointed out to me already. I did a couple of Kote Gaieshi Reversals which made sense once I understood how they worked. It also was easie
Friday evening classes, which are amazing always. Worked with Anna first, this was strange, as she had started I think over a year ago, and has always been higher rank or longer in rank than I have since I have been there, however with this last test, I am now a 4th Kyu, and she is 5th Kyu. This created a strangely funny moment at the beginning of our training together, where I was waiting for her to hold out something for me to grab, and she was patiently waiting for me to do the same. I eventually laughed and held out my hand. We worked on Ryoti Dori Tenchi Nage Sensei came by and helped us with it. It was good practice, and helped me work on some of the stuff that I already knew but had not integrated into my bodies practice yet. We spoke a lot about connection and how to maintain it when you were both Uke and Nage. There is a whole energy that I have never thought about in letting someone grab you. Uke is trying on that mat, and sensei says in real life to establish a connection, by honoring that connection and letting it happen you start the process of Aikido. True that you are going to use that connection to assist them in transformation by holding them on the ground after you have thrown them down. By slightly pressing into the grip of the person that is grabbing you can increase their desire to hang on. Also during the technique it is important that you keep the part that has been grabbed in alignment with the grabbing hand. It is easy to pull away and bre
Ran through the test once before the class started, and once during the first part of class with Rick. My wife came up to watch the test, which was fun. It was the most people that I have seen on the mat during a morning class in a long time!! Toward the end of class, Sensei called us all into a line, and then announced my test.
There was less nervous energy on my part than there had been on my 5th Kyu exam. Time during the test was weird. For some reason I fixated on Tenchi Nage, and kept waiting for that to be called. I did make a mistake, the previous technique had been Shoman Uchi Nikkyo, and in the pin I had slightly messed up the hand positioning. (I had not grabbed my Gi with the top hand). I was knocked out of being in the moment for a while, and when sensei called for Shoman Uchi Nikkyo, and I did a Shoman Uchi Ikkyo, this was actually opposite what I was worried about happening. I finished the move, and Rick jumped up and we did the right move. When Sensei called Katate Dori Shiho Nage, I had to think about what this was, as it was on the last test, and we had been working on Yokaman Uchi Shiho Nage, Rick and I had not worked on Katate Dori Shiho Nage all that much, on the last test I had worked on it a lot, and done it for the 108 practice. After Rick looked at me a little and made the little sign that we have for change your homi, it clicked and off we went. The test was about 15 minutes, not really very long, but in the middle it seemed to be going in