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Aiki-Log -- Class #24
Saturday, October 16, 2004 -- 11am
NAKAZAWA SEMINAR -- DAY 3
I couldn't get to the Friday class. I made it to the Saturday class, though. Once again, I wasn't on the mat. However, I completely enjoyed watching class. It was somewhat easier since I decided not to voice record any waza-notes (I hear the video will actually be multiple DVDs).
COMPLETELY MISSING CLASS (Days 4, 5 & 6)
I got some specific treatment guidance for my ankle and elbow injuries, and had to make a hard decision. I needed to stay home to work on my treatments instead of watching the seminars. So I missed the next Wednesday and Thursday classes. I would've watched the Saturday class, but I had a dentist appointment (scheduled 6 months ago) that fell right smack dab in the middle of the seminar.
GOING AWAY DINNER
Luckily, I was able to attend the Sunday dinner being held for Nakazawa Sensei. I was completely bummed about missing so much of his teaching, but the fact that I was able to sit right across from him and chat with him all evening made up for it. He's a great guy! I really wish I could've received instruction from him! Oh well, maybe next time. He said he plans on coming back in the summer (with his wife).
This was his first trip to the US and he really enjoyed his experience in Michigan! Hopefully the weather will be better next time (it was cloudy, cold and rainy almost every day he was here). Still, it was better than where he's heade
Aiki-Log -- Class #23
Thursday, October 14, 2004 -- 7:00pm
NAKAZAWA SEMINAR -- DAY 1
I enjoyed watching, but I really wanted to be out on the mat! I attempted to take good waza-notes, but his style is such a blend of other things that I don't have the right words. I'm going to have to buy the video for reference.
I realized right away that things were different when I had Norbert sempai and Dr. Phil sempai (both from the black-belt deep end) start working together right in front of me. They were really having trouble! Everyone was on similar ground, it was all new.
During one technique demo, one of our 3rd kyus was uke. The attack was a tsuki with tanto. Sensei stepped off the line of attack, pivoted and blocked / struck at uke's wrist. Uke's tanto flew straight down to the mat and bounced straight back up (uke wasn't supposed to lose his weapon). The great part was that he caught it with a very sleight movement while sensei continued the technique! If you weren't watching closely, you wouldn't have even noticed! Even better… it's on tape! That one ranked 8.75 on the "snort-laugh scale".
On another technique, Dr. Phil (big-n-burly) was working with one of our 6th kyus (small and sleight). Dr. Phil was shite and was supposed to do some sort of a judo-like sit / fall / roll / throw to get uke to go up and over. It didn't work out that way and disaster was pending. Dr. Phil was lying on his back and uke
Aiki-Log -- Class #22 (A & B)
Wednesday, October 13, 2004 -- 6:30pm
Sorry for the delayed entry. I haven't been on the mat since October 7th, and it will be a few more weeks before I'm able to participate again.
WATCHI-WAZA (long term)
My right ankle, right elbow and upper back have been bothering me for a few weeks. They have been getting slowly worse so I decided to sit out. I've since been to the doctor and discovered that I strained a tendon in my ankle (on the top of my foot) from kneeling in seiza, and I have "golfer's elbow" (tendon problem on the inside of my elbow). My back was sore from ukemi, but is getting better after walking out of throws instead of hitting my back on the mat.
The above are due to a combination of having turned 40 on the 9th , my Hyper Mobility Syndrome (HMS) and weak supporting muscles, so I need to make some changes:
1. Stay off the mat until my ankle gets better.
a. Rest / heat / massage / until better.
b. Slowly strengthen my ankles after things heal up.
2. Modify seiza (forever).
a. Stay on my toes instead of going down on the tops of my ankles.
b. This ought to make suwari-waza interesting.
3. Modify my driver-waza.
a. Gas to brake to gas to brake during my commute causes pain.
b. I'll be trying to drive two-footed for a while and see if that helps.
4. Modify my sleepi-waza.
a. My ankle gets stretched / twisted by the weight of the blankets / sheets
Aiki-Log -- Class #21
Thursday, October 7, 2004 -- 7:30pm
Fixed the clock -- replaced the battery.
Sensei covered knee walking with a curious 7th kyu. I played too.
He (curious George) also wanted to cover jumping breakfalls. I didn't play (back problems lately ). Sensei started him off low by holding the forward roll hand just above the mat and tugging back during the jump. He worked his way up to a standing position. I took over as hand-holder after a few rounds. In fear of getting hurt he was barreling out to the side, which was painful. He discovered that if you do it right it doesn't hurt.
Moral of the story:
Fear of pain causes actions that cause pain. No fear = no pain.
One of our "double testers" tested for 9th kyu, unexpectedly (on his part). He'll test for 8th kyu next week when his uke gets back from Vegas. He did very well. Just a few minor glitches, but nothing to worry about.
Now that we're out of testing mode, I've been trying to figure out how to take more detailed notes on techniques. The problem is timing. By the time I get home I'm not able to crawl into bed until about 11:30pm, if I'm lucky. My alarm goes off at 5:15am -- ugh. I need more sleep than that! That doesn't leave time for taking notes or making journal entries. Since I have class on Wednesday and Thursday, I have two days in a row like that. When Friday comes around, I get home about 6:30pm, but I usually do
Aiki-Log -- Class #20
Wednesday, October 6, 2004 -- 7:30pm
Finally. Test day. I didn't, however, get to be anyone's uke for testing. Kinda bummed about that, but I'll recover. Instead, I got to sit still for 2 hours and 15 minutes. I'm not so sure if I'll recover from that!
We had 3 people testing for 9th kyu, 4 for 8th (one of which had just finished the 9th kyu test), 2 for 7th, 5 for 6th and 1 for 5th. Next time, John Sensei said he will split the test days so that they will only cover 3 kyu tests per day.
There are still two people that need to test; 1 for 9th kyu (he'll also do 8th) and 1 for 2nd kyu. They were originally going to test the day after everyone else, but things have changed and the schedule got pushed out. I'm not sure what's going to happen when.
Marcus Sensei and John Sensei presided over the testing. I finally got to meet Marcus! I've been trying to meet him since April. Everything went smoothly (the clock was 7 minutes slow -- they didn't replace the battery like they said they would). Everyone did fairly well, some better than others, but overall I'm sure everyone passed.
"DON'T KILL SENSEI!"
There was one person that really wasn't prepared to test. He was taking the 9th kyu test, so he'll pass (you aren't allowed to take you're first test unless Sensei knows you'll pass) but he had a rough time of it. Bokken front strike was the first thing on the test. He was right in front of John Sensei. Unfortunate
Aiki-Log -- Class #19
Thursday, September 30, 2004 -- 7:30pm
I found out why so many people showed up early for last night's class. The clock in the dojo was 25 minutes slow. The battery must need replacing. Since nobody noticed, we were all just using the "extra" mat time before class. That also explains why I was able to get exposure to so many techniques. Of course, that also explains why I got home so much later than expected.
SENSEI'S BROKEN BOKKEN
While warming up before class (the youth class was in session, as is usual on Monday's and Thursday's) I heard Sensei speaking. He was giving one of our 7th kyus a personal "make a lasting impression" lessons. I didn't see what led up to it, but Sensei was repeatedly striking very hard against their "house-roof" bokken block, telling them to just stand there and hold the block position. Each strike got harder as he said "There… do you still think I'm going to be able to hit you?" After about 5 or so VERY solid strikes… Ka-POW-clak-clatter. Sensei's bokken broke off about 2 feet from the end of his weapon. He kept striking until he had made his point: "The roof block doesn't look very strong, but it is very capable of protecting you from powerful strikes. Trust it." I think EVERYONE got that lesson! That bokken was custom made for Sensei by Norbert Sensei with a very dark, heavy wood. The shattered end was almost as dark as the exterior stain. It was a beautiful weapon. I believe
Aiki-Log -- Class #18
Wednesday, September 29, 2004 -- 7:30pm
I got to the dojo early and stretched for about 20 minutes. Once the room became available (the aerobics class finished up) I went in and started laying out the mats. This was the first time I've been alone while doing this. Usually I'm helping one or two others. I was taking my time, doing a careful job, lining things up and I was surprised at how meditative it was! I was just "doing the mats" without any rush, focused on the task. I really enjoyed it! I was actually somewhat disappointed when Norbert Sensei showed up and helped me finish. I had completed 3 of the 5 rows and was hoping I would get it done by myself.
Norbert Sensei: "Thanks for helping me."
Me: "Oh, I was doing this for you?"
Norbert Sensei: "Everything you do in here is for me."
Me: "My motivations were much more self-serving than that. I figured it I wanted to get some extra mat time, there needed to be mats."
I had Norbert Sensei help me with my footwork on the 8-direction cut. I was doing it right, but I wasn't sure. I did some rolls. I've progress from to on my way to . I need to find a good way to do ukemi at home.
John Sensei showed up and I asked him about my struggles with grip strength. He wasn't aware of any thought process that would help; I'd just have to work on it. So I'll just keep thinking "Pinky-Power" and start leaving my index fi