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During our last dojo practice, our insructor, Claire Sensei, had us practicing various ushiro techniques. First-things-first:
Consider the 2nd Hand
- these techniques involve uke grabbing your 1st hand from behind, then continues around to grab nage's 2nd hand
- from this second hand, available to the nage is Shihonage, Kotegaeshi, various Kokyu-ho techniques, kaitenage, iriminage
Consider the 1st Hand
- from this 1st hand, available to the nage is ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, yonkyo, iriminate, hand grab switch for kotegaeshi or gluteus sitdown
I'm sure I'm missing some from the above as my memory is short these days. Our practice also consited of the uke running behind the nage, so we did not practice ushiro ryote dori or kubi shime.
Last weekend, our dojo hosted a seminar featuring instruction from Takashi Ishikawa Sensei, 6th Dan. Aside from the general movement exercises, smooth techniques and focus on bokken and jo kata, Ishikawa Sensei spent the last 30 minutes of the class showing Iaido kata. It was quite impressive to see a master of Iaido showing and explaining the subtle movements and reasons for the sword kata.
Ishikawa Sensei apparently visits our dojo every few years, and this was, I believe, his 3rd visit. I look forward to his next seminar.
I was at the SatCon expo all last week. Talking to some of my co-workers, I mentioned that I am studying Aikido. After being asked what Aikido is all about, I found that the best way to describe it is how Aikido is different relative to other martial arts like Karate and Tai Kwon Do.
After sharing this information, some of my co-workers seemed interested to hear about Aikido. I think one of them may actually check out a dojo in their city.
I arrived at the dojo ahead of everyone else. I had just adjusted and began sweeping the mats when someone walked in and said, "Hi Dante."
I immediately recognized her face. It was Wynn (sp?) from the Shugenkai group that practices out of Denver, Colorado. She was visiting Las Vegas and decided to pop in for practice. I was, of course, elated as I had originally met her at our dojo last year when the Shugenkai group had their annual seminar in Las Vegas at our dojo.
It's refreshing to see people from other dojos - and a completely different organization for that matter. Shugenkai is of the Ki Society (while ours is whithin the ASU tradition.) Practicing with Wynn was wonderful in that she added perspectives to techniques practiced by her dojo.
I hope someday to also be able to visit the Denver Shugenkai dojo. I was able to meet and make good acquaintances with some wonderful people from last year's seminar.
Today I decided to polish my wooden weapons. I started by laying out a clean blanket over the mattress in my one of my guest bedrooms. Then I placed my jo, bokken and tanto on onto the blanket.
I took a clean hand towel and wiped each item. Although my bokken is all banged up, I'm not too worried because it's not my favorite weapon (as of this week, anyway.) However, my jo has bumps all over due to some jo/bokken kata we've been practicing during the last few months at our dojo. Darn it - this is my favorite instrument.
Afterwards, I dabbed linseed oil onto the towel and smeared the towel onto each piece of wood. After applying a heavy coat, I wiped the excess off and laid each item back on the towel.
I then took my weapons case and shook it to try to dislodge any loose items that may be lurking inside. Luckily, no dust bunnies, hairballs, parking receipts or brown recluse spiders. (Don't ask.)
I carefully placed the weapons back in the bag. Now they're ready for another heavy session of hits, smacks and bangs.
As you can tell from my last diary entry dated 13th February, I have been amis in keeping my diary updated. My excuses:
- work travel (a few times per month)
- carpal tunnel syndrome (not really)
- no internet connection (not really)
- just plain lazy (the real excuse)
Summer-itis has apparently hit me big time. I'll try and do better.
On Saturday, we had only the instructor plus two students at the class. It was nearly a private lesson. We worked on options when nage would grag the uke's wrist. Based on whichever hand was grabbing (katate tori or kosa dori) we had to think on our feet and quickly decide the best response. Needless to say, my response was poor and slow. I suppose I need to work on how to think on my feet.
Here are a few jo refinemnts I learned this week during our Monday and Wednesday class:
- the but end of the jo, depending on which end it up :-), should always be covered by your grip, especially when tsukiing.
- when raised for a block, bring both hands together, switch hands and slide the hand to the very end of the jo; when striking yokomen or shomen, that back hand provides all the power while the hand in front offers direction
- there are many jo handling exercises; try and practice them all until you don't drop the jo on the floor
- when swinging the jo, watch out for others next to you
- when sensei uses you as uke to show a technique to the class, don't let him knock the jo arbitrarily from your hands (it's embarassing)
After two lessons of jo training, my new, beautiful jo is dinged, scarred and dimpled. :-( In addition, I need to apply some linseed oil as it feels tacky due to sweat and humidity. I must admit, I like jo work more so than bokken - but don't tell anyone.
Here's something new I've never done before. At class today, we practiced the Jo/Bokken 18 step kata. It was interesting to use a jo against a bokken for a change.
Hopefully, on the web somewhere is a description of the 18 movements. I don't believe I can properly describe it here. Anyway, what was most interesting is the way strikes and counterstrikes are made based on the parry and deflection of the oponent's weapon.
During yesterday's practice, I worked with a big, heavy-set, muscular, twice-my-size and not very flexible guy. He was huge and built like a ton of bricks.
Anyway, as nage, I was practicing nikkyo and couldn't get his arm & wrist to do what I (thought) needed it to do. After several attempts, I was sure that nikkyo didn't work on big guys.
To my surprise (and strike to my ego), our sensei showed me the technique with the big guy and was able to perform it properly and smoothly. He made the guy look like jelly.
So - lesson learned: If you can't do it, then you're probably doing it wrong.
After sensei did his thing, I tried again and was finally able to do the same. I sincerely hope it was due to my learing the technique instead of the big uke just pretending and faking it for me. That would suck.