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Morning Class went through the entire test with Rick. It all went pretty well. Although there were some issues with Yokaman Uchi Shiho Nage. We worked on it for a while. I think that I have it pretty well. There are definitely a lot more details to work on for all of the techniques, and I can see where there are details that I am missing here and there. I know that this is part of the stages of learning Aikido and that we can not get all of it immediately. Rick said that he thought that I was doing wonderfully and was definitely at 4th Kyu level.
Sensei set my test date for Thursday the 26th. This is one class away! Egads! Sensie also stated that he will be calling for some Ukemi at the end of my test in addition to the rolls demonstration.
Evening class. Worked with a variety of people. It went really well during basics class. It gave me a chance to work with some different people on the stuff for the test. It was good getting some feedback from some of the sempies on what I was doing especially on Yokaman Uchi Shiho Nage. Stayed for the first part of the second evening class and worked with Noel on almost the entire test. Lots of work on Ikkyo and Nikkyo. It was good. Learned that there is a lot that a blackbelt can do to make you not want to move when you are trying to get out of the Nikkyo pin. My wrist is still a little on the tender side.
Sensei and Noel both worked with me on the making the nikkyo better, and sensei gave me some pointers to work on i
Sunday freeform training. Wow! Worked with Victor on Jo takeaways this was intense. I also managed my first breakfall! This was when I found myself three feet above the mat on the end of a stick held by Victor. It was not painful, so it must have been somewhat successful. It was a little spooky and I asked Victor not to do that again. He said Ok, and then said with a little grin that I obviously knew how to do breakfalls because I had done one just then. We worked on some of the stuff for my test, Shiho Nage Nikkyo primarily, and then the time was over. It was a great workout.
Morning Class, worked with Rick on test material. We worked on Shoman Uchi Nikkyo, and on Tenchi Nage. Rick says that I am doing well, I am not so sure as is normal for us at this stage of getting ready for a test. Sensei came by and said that he wanted me to show a little more marshal aspect in letting go of the Nikkyo pin and then demonstrated on both Rick and myself.
Evening class. Took my visiting friend Jay with me. It was a good class. I managed to smack my foot on the shoman when doing Kokyu Dosa at the end of class. The shoman is really hard, and my foot is now bruised. Sensei came over right away to make sure that I was ok, and then instructed Krista and I in how to apologize to the shoman. It was a bit embarrassing. Worked with Noel on Tenchi Nage, and had some instruction from Sensei that included the words, now that you have it work on making it beautiful, with one of his little grins.
A very good Aikido day, the workout was strenuous, but I seem to have made some progress toward the goal of being somewhat proficient for the test. The differences between myself and those that are higher rank than I am become increasingly clear, I see more of the little things that I would like to integrate, but seem to have difficulty remembering and then getting them into the technique that I am doing when I am doing it. I frequently even seem to forget to breath when doing a technique that I am working on.
A great class. As much to digest intellectually and spiritually as there was physically. The Friday night classes at our dojo are an hour and a half. Sensei says that some people think that this is too long and don't come for that reason. Others seem to see it as the start of the weekend, and so are partying or relaxing at the end of their long week. Personally it is always one of my favorite days on the mat. Fridays have a different format, one where you work on techniques that you want to work on, and sensei comes around and helps you with them.
There were four of us in class tonight, I worked with Victor, Sensei, and Noel. It was amazing. The amount of things to learn from working with three Yodansha is amazing. Also there was the lesson of where you grab someone determining how much they are going to fight. The more that they feel that there is a way out of the situation them more their body is going to be relaxed. The more that their body feels that they are trapped, the harder and quicker they are going to put up a fight. Sensei demonstrated this with both Noel and I. I must say that it was a great demonstration, something as simple as where it is that you grab their arm when you are doing Ikkyo can make a difference between escalation and transformation. I see some of these subtleties, but I am not able to correctly perform them. It can be frustrating and at the same time helps me keep a beginners mind, and be open to the spiritual aspects.
Worked on Shoman Uchi Irimi Nage, it was an amazing class in a lot of ways. Learned about blocking the shoman in the blend, and to put your arm above the Uke's elbow, keeping your arm bent so that you deflected the blow instead of guiding it to your side.
Kokyu Dosa was with Sensei, and was wonderful, he showed me that there was a way to the start of Kokyu Dosa, and that there was an imaginary plane between us, I needed to make sure that I started at least even on that plane, better still if I started as far as possible on his side of the plane. Then he showed my how there was a flow to moving toward my center when we were deadlocked in the middle. Then spiraling out of the movement back toward the uke. It was wonderful. I tried it again in the evening class with Eisa and it worked wonderful there too!
Worked with one of the white belts, on Ikkyo. It was a lot of fun, and I feel like I have forgotten ˝ of what I had down pat for my test. Oh well. Then I worked on my test stuff and it felt like my mind and body were on vacation, and not speaking to each other.
I have not been in weapons class for some time. It is a strange draw to understand weapons work, and a feeling that I am really bad at working with weapons. This class did nothing to disprove either. I know that if I am to get better at the sticks thing then I have to do more off the mat practicing on the Kata's I have to know what comes when so that I can focus on positioning, movements, and the like.
I caught Sensei smiling at my weapons attempts today. It was pretty funny I thought too. It is interesting to know that I am not doing something very well, and still find it funny. This is a change for me personally as I generally would find it much more frustrating that I do. Part of the way that Sensei teaches seeking always to keep all of us off balance, always in beginners mind.
Sensei came over at one point in the paired practice and noted that I did not back up, I gave no ground. He then said "Remember there is a flow to this, moving backward is not retreating, it is working with the flow of the situation. You are not used to yielding much are you, you just stand there and take the blows of life." He stood ram rod straight, when he was saying the last part. Then Sensei talked about the way that Kelp moves with the waves and is not broken, and asked what would happen if it were rigid. Yielding ground, moving backwards as part of life, not a defeat, not a retreat, something necessary for mental, emotional and spiritual survival…..
We are working up to test time again. It does not seem possible that it should be happening so fast. It is interesting to look at the process after having completed my first test. The testing process itself is a big part of mastery of the art in our Dojo. The intense focus on the techniques that are to be demonstrated on the test, drive them deeper into your unconscious and into muscle memory. I worked on Tenchi Nage for the entire class this morning. Starting off with Candice, and then working with Noel. (WOW that was great, he is wonderful!) As this was a new technique to me it was very interesting to work on it focus on it for that long. Both Noel and Candice who are not testing this round spent most of the time Ukeing for me even though I asked several times if there was not something that I could serve up for them. They smiled said no, and kept serving up Yokemans. After class I worked on Tenchi Nage some more with Julia, specifically on keeping my hands in front of me, and trying to stay centered when working with a uke smaller than I am, also Julia's technique involved more hip action than did the others, so I worked on integrating a little of that into my technique.
The two step blend into the technique is a little different for me, but I am working on it.
Candice thinks that I should test for 4th kyu this time around. Rick has stated in the past that he thought so too. I am not sure if I will have the days in before the test, but I might go for it, both Ca
Have been doing Aikido the same as always for a while here, but have not had the time to write, so the journal has suffered.
Sensei is out of town so we have Niki leading class. She is completely competent, and is a good teacher also. We worked on Ikkyo, and shiho nage, only we as Nage had to keep our eyes closed. This was great! There was a lot more to feel than I have ever thought about, seems that especially in Shiho Nage I was looking instead of feeling. I am going to try to add the eyes closed practice to my normal repertoire!
We then did ikkyo from two hand grab from behind. This was a new one for me, and when Niki came by and told me that I needed to raise my hands higher and get lower, I did it, and really felt the difference with my eyes closed!
Sensei was out of town so Victor lead the class. It was great fun, we worked on doing Tai No Henko correctly, the Morote Dori Ko Kyu Ho. It was great to work on this one with the other people too! Then we worked on double Morote Dori Ko Kyu Ho. Two people grab you! This was really interesting. I am not sure if mine would be effective in a situation that I needed it in, but it was sure interesting to feel it! Then Jia Waza! Wow what a long night, and I am sure beat!
Victors Aikido is very street wise aikido! It is amazingly effective, and you can see where your technique has openings, and where you give Victor back his balance when you are doing the technique. It is really a different person to train with.
Morning class worked on the Shoman Uchi Sankyo again. This time Sensei taught us a new blend. Right as the Uke goes to strike, you tenkan in and put your arm in their arm pit, with your thumb down, this causes you to ever so slightly lift their arm, which then falls into the perfect grab for Sankyo! It works if you get the entry timing correct. If you are off, well lets just say you get shoman in the head, or run into the other person.
Worked on Sankyo in the evening class too! Lots of new cool stuff, like when the person goes to do the Shoman, you grab their OTHER hand, and sankyo it! You do this by ducking under their arm as you cross un front of them and grabbing the elbow on the way through, it really works well, and they never expect it! This was great fun, and if you did it during Jiowaza they would be really taken aback by it. Amazing! I know that theoretically you can do almost any technique from any positions, but that one really shocked me.
Then we worked on Knife take aways! Somthing that I had never done before! Wow it was great, Shoman Uchy Knife take away, watch your belly! Victor was my partner for this, it was a lot of work to get right.
I stayed late and worked with Victor on Morote Dori Ko Kyu Ho. It was awesome working with him as usual.