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Yesterday I had a good session. First session I partnered one of the really formidable women in the class. I haven't seen her in a while and haven't practised with her and it just struck me how much power was in her moves. I always felt she could just snap my neck in the irimi nage moves. I also notice her ikkyo moves she really maintains such control from start to end. I
was trying to figure out which bits I should imitate to improve my own practice but then she had to move away to partner someone else.
The second session I was happy to partner a friend who's been away for 4 months. But as she's always had a strong natural talent, she pretty much bounced back easily into practice. Another friend said she's coming back on Friday after a long absence as well so I'm looking forward to having more women to practice with on Fridays. These last few months it's often down to 1-2 women which I find a bit disconcerting. I know I shouldn't and I actually learn a *lot* from practising with guys and they've generally been very helpful to me on the mat, but well, it just is nice to have other women around.
And grading results are out, so now there's a new crop of shodans, black belts and lots more blues too. The chap who was a white belt I practised with several weeks ago got his double jump to blue. I figured he would. He was so good when I worked with him.
The good news is that my knee seems to be functioning normally now. No more iliotibial syndrome symptom
I think the general standard seems to be rising. The 3rd dan chap grading to 4th dan was just spectacularly good as was the nidan to 3rd dan woman. It's inspiring and when I watch them I think, yeah, this is why I do aikido, because when they practice, the flow is incredible, not to mention just very effective. It's not that I think I'll ever get there, I probably won't but to watch people who are just very good is just great.
Today's practice: I'm compensating too much for the iliotibial band syndrome the result of which the other side of the knee got a bit swollen. It went down after I returned home and iced it. I stopped after the beginner's class. I figure I probably shoudn't be practicing but it's hard not to go .
Nikkyo from shoulder grab: I need to nestle the hand into the crook of the shoulder and then lean into the person. I tend to not tuck the hand in comfortably first and then tend also to lean outwards which has little effect on the uke. It's great to partner the dan grades because I learn so much from them and today my partner taught me exactly how to do it describing it when I clearly didn't get the subtleties.
Rolls: I'm getting slightly better at keeping my left side straight but not always. At least I've figured out what I'm doing wrong...I just turn too much as I go down so then I roll slightly tangential. Now I need to train it into my muscle memory so I don't have to think before I roll. My right side rolls are all nice and straig
I'm back on the mat after taking a 10 day break. It was a bit tense for me because my knee isn't completely normal yet so I kept worrying about which positions might cause pain. And it caused a problem right before class while I was laying mats but it didn't recur during practice. I've finally figured out I think I have iliotibial band syndrome. Hmmm....I notice one of the stretches done to stretch this muscle is a common yoga stretch. I think I should seriously consider going back to yoga as a complement to training in aikido since yoga really does help to stretch a lot of the smaller muscles and would overall increase flexibility. If i'm reaching a point of overuse then I seriously need to consider going back to yoga to prevent injuries.
I practiced with this very good white belt today. He's astonishingly good...I can't believe he's a white belt but I think he is as he's good enough to be blue but not much more than that. I'm sure he's going to do very well for his grading this coming Sunday. I think I threw him a bit too hard the last throw cos the instructor came around and looked a bit pained :0...i must remember he's a white belt. Just that he's so good so I tend to forget.
I need to remember that when lifting the bokken and slicing it towards uke while uke has a one handed grip between my hands, I have to slice the bokken above uke's head not lower which is what I usually do. That way it will feel lighter and uke will overbalance more easily. Sensei came around to demonstrate for me and for once I got what he meant immediately.
My ushiro techniques need a lot of practice. Particularly the shihonage from ushiro where I need to remember that it's like an ai-han me shihonage. Will take lots more times before that gets imprinted into my muscle memory as I'm still stopping to think about it.
Practice was fun today. We tried out "no arm" practice with several moves which just involved the body rather than the use of arms. I particularly liked the one where from a shoulder grab, nage takes a step back and then sinks down on the back leg and turns so that uke will breakfall over nage. If nage stands up in the process then it turns into a hip throw. But we just stuck to letting uke breakfall over nage which for me is an acheivement in itself cos it's a bit nerve wracking to throw myself over nage...funny thing is that I can do it without fear on one side but the other side always makes me hesitate. Then I realised what I should do is go halfway down as nage turns then the ground doesn't look so terrifyingly far away .
I was also happy to have my best aikido buddy back. She's been missing for months due to an operation and work and it's just nice to be able to practice with her again.
I should remember during shihonage while turning to keep my hands at forehead level all the time, no higher. I realised that I find this very difficult so when dealing with an uke who's not much taller than me, I sink instead to my knees. I'm not yet sure I'm doing it right but well, I'll ask the instructor one friday. I should also remember that while being uke in shiho nage not to move until nage forces me to as the instructor told me I was moving too early.
I'm slowly regaining a bit of my form and I'm finally realising how not to grab so much in ikkyo and *enter*.
irimi-nage: i must remember to grab the guy by the scruff of his neck, i must remember to grab the guy by the scruff of his neck, i must remember to grab the guy by the scruff of his neck....
new move: from a two handed shoulder grab, atemi at the face with the nearest hand then duck under the same side. Remember chin to chest as I duck otherwise no way can I break the hold of the two handed grab.
I'm also trying to figure out how to practice with an uke who kind of overspins a bit and I don't think it's cos I'm using too much force. But when I go into sankyo or yongkyo I notice she turns slightly away as she goes down and I'm not sure why and I don't like the lack of control it implies on my part of course . Or is it that with an uke like that I have to adjust differently? I just haven't been able to figure out what to do to control uke better. Maybe I should just try after the inital take down to remember to push her in the same direction she turns.
Not sure why it is that I lost my concentration and hence form over the last week or two...probably stress from work but that's never happened before. Usually the more I stress out at work, the more aikido practice becomes a haven, a place to concentrate only on aikido.
argh....feel like my aikido is getting worse. Monday's session I was particularly uncoordinated in weapons class.
Wednesday's class I partnered one of the nidan women who is a particularly superb teacher. And she wasn't letting me get away with anything and pointed out all the very basic mistakes I am still making. I think my problem is that I don't remember what it feels like to make the right move and can't tell I'm doing something wrong except when the person refuses to move in the right direction.
Hence ikkyo omote: I'm *still* tending to grab rather than just move forward fast. And I realised that it's partly cos I tend to keep both hands at the same level whereas actually one hand is ahead. but the difference is to me so subtle I tend to lose it all too easily...v frustrating to learn it and then forget it
ikkyo ura: the version where it's done after the arm comes down I must remember to just push downward first. After doing it wrong for a few moves and having it pointed out to me, I got it right and took myself by surprise by moving faster than my brain could think on pure instinct.
shihonage: extend out a lot more in the omote version and stay far enough away from the uke and slightly more behind that I normally do. For the ura version I should also move a bit more behind the uke.
kate nikyo: I need to remember to keep the arm as straight as possible in the final pin to prevent uke's pain during practice. I also need to remember to move off
Well guess what, I discovered in Wednesday's class the guy wearing a white belt I was practising with is at least shodan level :0...no wonder he was so much better than me! I had initially thought he was 2nd or 1st kyu cos when I searched my memory banks that's what I remember of him. Just shows how blind I am in class sometimes.
Wednesday's classes were good particularly the second one. First one I practised with a blue belt girl and it was easier this time around. The last few times I worked with her I just my irimi nage just wasn't working on her as she tended to tip forward rather than back and I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, but this time it was fine. My ikkyo needs work though cos I notice I still sometimes tend not to move in fast enough.
The second class I partnered a brown belt lady whom I think has improved in leaps and bounds and I'm quite inspired by her. She really has come so far and it's good to practice with her as I notice she picks up faster than I do and her movements are more precise. We learnt a variation move on a soto move from a wrist grab where instead of throwing the person forward at the point where the person overbalances, instead of moving the arm forward to throw nage moves the arm back to the side and back over the uke's head if nage is tall enough.
I'm also grateful for her general gentleness as my ankle felt worse than last week. It was somehow a bit more stiff and felt slightly swollen but I think it's par
Training on Friday was interesting. I arrived late and feeling extremely frustrated with the cab company so I missed the beginners class but was in time for the intermediate class. I saw one friend whom I'd not seen for at least two months and it turns out he had a newborn son so of course congratulations were in order. So that calmed me down a bit before class and fortunately since class went well, I finished feeling very happy.
I practised with one of the guys who was wearing a white belt but after one move I realised he was definitely better than I was...after class I figured it out that he was actually black belt so no wonder . Anyway, he very obligingly taught me stuff in silence when I couldn't figure out the one handed sankyo from a wrist grab. I still had to be shown that once I duck under the arm and turn around to face the uke, I should turn quite far in pushing the uke's arm towards him to achieve the lock before then bringing him down. I realise that in a lot of my aikido moves I'm not really going far enough literally...failing to extend far enough in the movement. I have to consciously remember that to give enough room and space for a wider movement until it becomes second nature.
We did a whole series of one armed movements as the instructor figured if we can do it with one hand we can definitely do so with two. I'm not entirely sure my ikkyo's worked that well as I felt I didn't have sufficient control over the uke particularly when tr