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We worked on Yokomen Kote Gaeshi this morning . Focus the double two step variety, cutting with the same hand, and blocking with opposite hand while still two stepping. It was a good class. Sensei popped one of my circuit breakers while discussing the idea of capturing the soul of UKE through the eyes. He works on making his eyes show the compassion of his soul, and eliminating the aggression and fear that he feels so that he can do this. The eyes as a window to the soul idea. I have experimented with looking in peoples eyes and capturing their attention, (Soul seems way to strong for me at this point), but where was I taking them? Was the trip to a good place or the place of all of my fears and anger? What a difference this would make to the person that was attacking you. What a difference this would make on the mat to the person that you are training with.
Working with different people today on the concepts of looking into their eyes, and focusing on them instead of focusing on the hand that is going to come around and hit you in the head was great. It really focused for me on the things that make this Aikido vs. Aiki Jujutsu.
I need to work on getting my soul to a place that is a lot more welcoming, comfortable, and a lot less wounded, angry and violent. This feels like the essence of my Aikido practice right now, soul work, bucketing out the pond of guck that is on top of my soul…
Remember the last splinter that you had in your hand. Maybe one that was not easy to get out, or one that you had for a while before you noticed it. It probably came to your attention when your hand brushed across something, you felt a slight snag, and the splinter pushing painfully deeper into your hand.
Recently I took a part time job. I was talked into it by a wise and kind gentleman, he asked for help and told me the needs of some others where he worked. The wise gentleman is great to work for, and has a heart even bigger than I thought when I first met him. Truly one of the best people that I have ever worked with. Some of the other people that work with me though are less wise, less kind, and have a lot less social skills. One of them energetically jumped me on Friday. I listened to what he had to say, apologized for causing him an issue, and then blew a fuse in private. I was so mad I could spit nails, and I couldn't even understand why I was mad.
Today on the mat, I asked sensei to help me with my nikyo pin. Something has been wrong with it for a while, something that I have tried to get my sempies to help me with to no avail. So sensei said; "What's wrong with it." I said "It hurts peoples elbows. I am trying not to put any pressure on their elbows, only hold their shoulders on the mat." "AHHHH" says Sensei "We don't want their shoulders on the mat. We want to pin them so they can't move." A long lesson about body physics, and what needs to be done
Wow just before class sensei came out and asked if there was anyone of a higher rank in the dressing room than me. No I said. Then you are teaching tonight ok. I stammered a little. Then in an uncharacteristic way sensei stopped me by saying; "The correct response is to thank me for this wonderful opportunity". I bowed and thanked him.
So I demonstrated Tai no henko to the class. Then worked with someone that was new to the mat. All the while thinking; "What in the heck am I going to teach for a technique?"
So I settled on Katata dori shiho Nage. Since this was a basics class the technique was from kihon waza.
My demonstration of the technique was not my best ever shiho nage. Melissa later said that she thought it was fine. Then again it helps to have your own cheerleading section in any crowd.
We got a couple of partner changes in. I demonstrated again pointing out the common mistakes. Then more practicing. It went pretty well. I tried hard to only give people positive feedback I am not sure how well I did at this. Several people commented that they liked the class a lot. After class Vince told me that he liked the way that I explained Shiho Nage.
Second class went well but strange. Unlike most of the second classes this one had a large portion of white belts in it. Sensei Gordon Tekel taught the class. We did defenses out of a bear hug from behind. This was great! The idea was that you make yourself into a tr
Julia's test went wonderfully. It was really an honor to be part of her test. My right wrist is still feeling it from one of the sankyo techniques. No one else jumped up for the Ran dori so I was able to participate in that portion also. We went to lunch afterwards, and it was a good time.
Sensei thanked me for helping to make the event happen, and being so flexible, and willing to help at the last minute. It was a very personal thank you, and was a bit surprising to me, in a pleasant surprise way. It really made my day.
The test was fun, Julia was grinning through most if it, and there were a couple of giggles out of me during the hanmi handachi section of the test. It felt good, smooth, and fun.
:-) There is a saying at the dojo that you have not earned your rank fully until you have uked for someone taking the test you passed. What does it mean that I have helped with two Shodan tests now? :-) :-)
At the end of last week Julia asked me to uke for her Shodan test tomorrow. I will be sharing the duties with Rick and with Lilly, but I still have a lot to do. It makes me kind of nervous being an uke for someone that is going for their Shodan. Julia did pick me though, and she certainly has trained with me enough to know exactly what my Ukemi is like, and exactly what it is that I can and can't do.
We worked on both Tuesday and Thursday for over three hours each day on her test materials. She has it down, and even if there are slight bumps, I think that it is going to be an awesome test. I certainly hope that my part of it is. I will be doing Suwari Waza, Hanmi Handachi, and the last two sets of the variations, probably along with Ran dori, and some Jui Waza. I can tell you that it was definitely a tiring experience as Uke the times that we have been practicing all of the stuff on her test.
We worked on connection from Gyakute dori Ikkyo today. It was an amazing class. Moving with the Uke, just as the uke moves, altering where the target is for them to grab etc, and watching their body move as an automatic response to your moving you wrist. Rick and I worked pretty hard at the whole thing, and it got pretty smooth. When we traded partners I worked with JF. I managed to be able to guide his energy very well, although some of my form in the technique disappeared as I was doing it. I have to ask Sensei about that. It was awesome smooth, and I felt his energy, however I kept his wrist lower than his shoulder for the whole technique.
I was honored to be Sensei's uke twice in the class once for gyakute dori, and later in the we were sitting in Seiza, and I did a gyakute dori grab really slow and ever so gently found myself on the mat. It was a lot like magic. The I grabbed faster, and again just as gently to the mat. All the while sensei was talking about there not being a him and a me, but rather that we were both all part of oneness. It was amazing cause that sure was how it felt. Then he said this is what happens if I think about there being Guy and I, and I grabbed, and while it was still smooth, I could feel that there was resistance on both our parts that had not been there before. It really amazed me. Sensei smiled at me, it seemed like the lessons which was for the whole class were completely for me.
The test seems to have gone well, I am officially 2nd kyu. I missed doing my favorite variation two times. I thought, now I get to do my favorite variation, then my brain said, "What would that be?". Needless to say, I couldn't remember the kokyu Ho from Ryote that would have looked great.
The energy of the test was really different with Noel as Uke instead of Rick. This was expected, what was not was how quiet it was. People commented that it was one of the quietest tests that they had ever heard.
Isa thought that the Ryote Dori Shiho Nage was beautiful with Noel and My Hakama making intersecting circles. Maybe I will have to get the video, I was planning on only watching all of the videos once I got to black belt. Worried that I would see myself, feel that I look hokey and worry about that instead of the technique.
So Now I have a brown belt, only one more color change can happen. I hadn't thought that I would be here when I started, but I am here now. Kind of feels a little strange.
Just before my test I was counting the number of people that are my sempie and the number of people that are my Kohi in the dojo. Not to compare myself to anyone, or really concerned about my place in the rank system rather to get an idea of what sensei has said about how our practice changes as we advance in rank. There are 45 people in the dojo that are ranked below me, and 30 that are ranked above me. Some on each end that I have never seen, let alone trained with.
WOW. First class worked with M on Nikkyo and a little tenchi nage. This was fun. Worked with D and Krista after. A good first class, flowed nicely, and felt good.
Second class worked with Noel and Don on my test stuff, followed by some great Jui waza. This was wonderful. I tried out making morote out of shoman on Noel, and that was interesting, I don't think that it really worked, as I would have gotten a good punch in the nose, but I do see where it starts and how it might end up there.
Working with both Noel and Don today was amazing, they both help exactly where it feels like I need help, directing me in ways that I understand the energy flow timing and workings of the techniques.
I can also feel the difference between what Noel and Don say I should work on for the test, and some of the things that I can feel especially when I work with them, some of the flow, the ease of guidance instead of strength, the being there, and not being there at the same time. I can feel and occasionally get the energy flow to guiding, the frustrating part is that I can't get it more than maybe 10% of the time. The rest of the time I feel can feel where I just lost it. My ability to concentrate on my uke seems to have slid badly lately, the focus on the eyes, body, the soft but hard focus all seem to have gone away….I kind of miss the little bit of progress that I was making on that.
This week I have been working a new part time job. This is getting in the way of morning Aikido. I am missing it greatly. I am thinking that I am going to see if there is a way to shift things around starting in September so that I can make morning Aikido again.
Sensei Tekle was teaching tonight, so we did a different exercise right after beginning exercises. We all stood in a circle one of us would go into the middle, we would all at the same time do a shomen strike toward the person in the middle. No words were spoken. Once you got over the little bit of anxiety or fear that you had, the exercise really drove home that you only had to be where there were no shomen strikes, it was easier than you can imagine.
Noel worked with me on a lot of stuff for my test. Worked on flowing and guiding, and not trying to do things fast, or to be tricky. The idea of relaxing even more, and making a space for aikido to happen. Starting moving earlier.
Worked with Peter some too, that was great. A good turn out, played with Victor after class for a long while. It was good to work with him. Learning the ways of doing no address aikido is interesting, occasionally I can get it right, makes is somewhat frustrating when the rest of the time I know that I am not guiding, but pulling and pushing!!!!
Worked with Melissa in first class, and V a new person to the dojo. He has been there about two weeks, coming a couple of times a week. It is fun as I was the first person to train with him on the mat, to feel the differences in his body after only two weeks. The tension that was in his shoulders when grabbed is gone, the terrified look on his face when executing a back sit-fall has softened quite a bit, I actually saw it become a smile once.
Melissa is doing well, one of the thoughts that occurred to me while we were training today was that it is looking like I will be able to have an excellent training partner no matter where I go in the world.
I worked with Noel in the second class, and then with Don. It felt so so so good to train with both of them. Don was working on reversals, so I was always the initial