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I've discovered what works on mozzies: incense burning of lemongrass scented sticks for hours in my bedroom at night. I slept soundly last night for a full 8 hours for the first time in a couple of weeks. hooray! No more aikido with mosquitos at in the middle of the night .
Lots of kaiten nage at aikido last night. It's my least favourite move as I'm really not good at it particularly the ura version. Being uke is even harder than being nage. I really have to watch how I fall out of that and find it hard to fall safely even slowly. It's actually slightly easier to flip out of it but harder to do so safely and I have a slight ache in my left shoulder cos I think I fell slightly wrong yesterday.
Someone asked a good question during aikido last night...I have to say people are loosening up a lot more during q&a and coming up with all these attacks they want to learn to get out of. It gets quite interesting although of course by that time it's 9.30pm at night and I'm raring to go home to watch the korean serial I've become addicted to: Jewel in the Palace . All that yummy Korean food!
It's all these mozzies that creep up into my bedroom in the early hours of the morning that kill my sleep. That plus I'm itching from sandfly bites which I suspect I scratch in my sleep so of course it gets even itchier. this is hell for my work the next day especially when I have to work with figures. Just waiting to go do aikido then drop into bed with lots of lemongrass scenting the room to keep the mozzies at bay and lots of chamomile tea to hopefully get me to sleep sounder.
Aikido was fine though. Got there late since I had to stay back a little to finish up a piece of work since I'd been too sleepy to work earlier. It was a relatively light but difficult session with the jo. There are these little movements which produce a large turning circle with the jo that I find hard to get. Now why does that sound like the rest of my aikido .
And I finally got a decent night's sleep so I'm a bit more normal today and able to work better.
It's been awfully humid with humidity levels well over 95% in the afternoons and evenings this week. Combine that with temperatures around 28 to 30 degrees celsius and you get the right conditions for a sauna during aikido. So these days I'm usually prespiring heavily within the first 20 mins and stay that way throughout the first class. Funnily enough I'm usually less hot during the intermediate class. I think it's because I usually end up in a better spot in front of the fans whereas first class usually finds me in the corner of the dojo where the doors are shut so there's less circulation despite the fans nearby.
The dojo is non-airconditioned which I like as I prefer fresh air coming straight in from the outdoors through the large french doors. But it does mean it does get very humid at times in this tropical country. The community centre where it's located in has a large multi purpose hall with a ceiling that rises some three storeys so it's great. There's a stage at one end and we take mats out from the nearby storeroom each time. Usually several people come early to lay mats and I actually find it's a good warm up. For Monday and Wednesday classes we lay mats that cover almost the entire room as there's quite a crowd. On Fridays we generally lay about half the size as the class is about 1/3 the other days.
The Dojo is open with glass doors all around so we also lay out chairs outside the dojo on one end so that people can come and watch or wait for
Today's practice turned out to be a little longer than I expected. I also find that if the pace is fast, I feel it less whereas if the pace is slow, I actually feel it more. I think it's the adrenalin that makes the difference.
Today there were 9 people plus the instructor. I spent part of it learning how to slam as I've realised I never stick my hand out in time so I figured friday's classes are a good time to get in that practice as we were doing a lot of throws. So instead of rolling out, I'd try to slam. It took a while and I'm still not sure it'll come automatically but it's a bit better now.
For ikkyo from a wrist grab, the instructor taught me to be more economical and instead of lifting my hand to get to the elbow, to instead just turn it out slightly and slide along uke's arm to the elbow. Far more efficient and effective. And then a similar thing for reacting to a punch...to block then slide in and elbow into uke's face before extending out the arm. Overall to just learn to slide hands more along uke's limbs/body rather than lifting off which takes more time and gives uke more of an opening to respond.
For irimi from katatetori: To ensure the hand that's being held makes a little circular turning out motion. More effective and breaking uke's balance and hold.
I've been feeling really very "xien" at work...i should just step up the aikido during this lull period. Go and practice more as the physical exercise takes the edge off my frustrat
yesterday's practice was humid to say the least...it's very energy sapping.
I noticed that when I partner with H, I tend to pull her when she resists or is stiff. Not a good habit. I should slow down more and figure out how to turn around or flow over her resistance instead of just pulling. I also need to move more from my centre. This was particularly true when I did my least favourite move: what I call the windmill move this time from a yokomen attack. H is good uke for me as she points out when I'm not taking her and tells me what more I need to do. She said all I needed to do was to push uke's arm more over the body of uke and the uke would naturally overbalance with very little effort on nage's part. She's right...she's good at these little things. I used to hate this move but it's one of her favourites as she says with very little effort it's possible for a small uke to control a large strong nage...I'm thinking, gee, I never feel I'm in control of a big strong guy when I do this move on them! Clearly I'm not doing it right.
ushiro: during freestyle I realised I wasn't responding well at all to ushiro attacks to the shoulders. Don't know why. I could get an initial move out by twisting under the uke and then not know what to do. Bummer. HAve to go revise those moves. Didn't have a problem when it was ushiro involving one or both wrists.
I really like practising with H. We're a good match...I'm a bit more supple and fluid with gentler cont
Wow, a whole 15 people for Friday class. Attendence I notice is creeping up slowly. It was 12 the last two weeks and now it's 15. Let's see what it's like for the next few weeks. I tend to really enjoy the contrast of friday's class with the other classes on Monday and Wednesday.
I notice there are more newbies coming for friday's class. There seem to be at least four now who show up each time. I was chatting to one of the newer white belt guys, a huge sturdy guy whom I first thought was american but later after talking to him realised he was probably Irish. Turns out he's done judo and karate before but got injured quite a lot. He told me that in judo he got his ankle broken four times. He says he's also got a nagging shoulder injury so he's having to be careful with that. I think it would be interesting to see how his aikido evolves as I don't know anyone else who's come from a judo type background. I notice the ones who have a kendo, karate or TKD background tend to have more linear, harder styles.
The other white belt guy who was really stiff appeared again much to my relief. I didn't partner him though as I figured he'd probably had enough of me laughing at him from last week. One of the very senior yudansha guys partnered him which I think was good for him as he's very patient.
Getting thrown into a soft slam breakfall by sensei is the most amazing experience. It felt as soft as a feather even though I forgot to stick out my hand to slap the mat. I'm still marvelling at the control he has. It was one of those kinda like hip throws but not quite which neither my partner nor I could figure out properly how to do, so he came over to demonstrate and over I went, light as a feather, gently onto the mat. Amazing...that's control. I don't know anyone else in the dojo who can do that. the senior yudansha often have a lot of control but it still feels harder whereas this was just floating down.
Today I ended up partnering one of the newbie guys, older and very stiff and still of the mindset that harder is better. Fortunately I had another senior girl who's supremely flexible so we both worked with him but I realised that he falls like a tree. Somehow he automatically tenses his entire body, as if he's bracing himself, when he loses his balance. Naturally he then topples over like a felled tree rather than trying to fold down or roll down and he seems to think that's the way it should be. And I broke my rule of not telling people to relax as I couldn't stand it anymore . I'd pause midway through one of the techniques and say, *this* is where you need to relax. And he actually did start relaxing a teensie bit which made his fall softer. Unfortunately all that got undone in the second class as I notice when he gets hyped up he just goes faster and harder cos he just kept telling me when I was nage "go harder, go harder" and he just seems to love slamming down no matter how lightly I threw him, so it was kinda pointless. I tried really hard to resist the temptation to laugh but must confess to cracking into laughing out loud after desperately trying to stifle my chuckles after about 1.5 hours. Needless to say I admire all my teachers and sempai for not laughing at me when I was a newbie!! Plus I really wish I were like one of the yudansha women who can actually imitate my mistakes and then show me the right way of doing it.
Today's friday's class was one I was looking forward to and it did not disappoint. It's the end of a very very busy and sad week for me so it's good it ended on a happier note.
There were about 12 of us, double last week's paltry 6 and we had a rollicking time towards the end where there was a lot more free flow of movement in the round robin practice and lots of people helping the sole white belt...at one stage I saw him being helped and explained to by a yondan and a 2nd kyu who's probably the best 2nd kyu in our dojo. The explanations he was getting were very good but I know that when I was at that stage, none of it sank in . All I could absorb was maybe one thing per lesson and I was lucky if I remembered that till the next lesson. Maybe he absorbs stuff better though. I was really not good at remembering things at the start.
But it was really the mood of relaxed casualness, experimental but people being careful. Also great seeing Peter back on the mat after his hamstring injury.
i'm turning into the only girl in the advanced class. Not sure where the other three gals who turn up have disappeared to. The other woman had a health problem so she tends to stay for the first beginners class only. It's kinds fun though cos it meant I got to partner lots of guys which I think is good for me and I got to partner the best black belter around whose really great to work with as he's got just lovely, fluid, gentle control and he works very deliberately. H
I've discovered what it means to be a black belt...I have to take ukemi from the instructor more, and it's faster and harder. Fortunately I trust this instructor a lot ...and he never pushes me beyond what I'm able. Just not that used to finding myself on the mat before I can think .
Aikido was so good for me today. I had a really bad last two days and was carrying around a lot of emotional hurt from being scolded by my boss over a mistake I made (legitimate scolding) and for my earlier blow up with my two friends. And while the latter's not resolved and maybe will take many years, it's just one of those things...with one friend I'm fine and we made up and it helps a great deal that I see she's trying, but with the other, I think we're two such different personalities that there is this huge area of incompatibility which makes me feel very unloved. So I've decided to walk away for a while. I'm one person for whom it takes a long time and a lot for me to blow but unfortunately once I do, it also takes an awfully long time to heal.
So aikido was good for me, because it really helped me to relate to those around me and it helped me to relax physically and let the tension go, and to breathe deeply and well. And yeah, to stop my mind from dwelling on hurtful things. I felt free-er somehow when I was on the mat. There are so many reasons why I love this art. This is one of them...it helps me transcend things.