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Okay so last night at class I was working with a beginner on morotedori kokyuho. He kept asking, "How was that? Was that better? How did that look?" He was so concerned about doing it perfectly that he didn't listen to the things I was telling him about the technique. The deshi, who was teaching, came over and told him that he had another 900 million repetitions to go before he would get it.
He also talks through the techniques. Almost every step comes with commentary. This drives me bonkers.
Oh yeah, I've joined a women's touch rugby team. I've never played before or even seen a game. So far I've enjoyed the practices and will play my first informal "game" in November.
When our coach was talking to me, giving me instructions I said, "hai" when he was done. This happened a couple of times. I got a couple of quizzical looks, but I didn't bother to explain.
October 20, 2005, Test Ukemi and Honorable Injuries
Just got back from a seminar in New Jersey. I had a great time. My Sensei and I went and we stayed at his Sensei's house. There was never a dull moment.
There was testing on the first day of the seminar after the classes. I was called up to be uke a couple of times by the head instructor at the dojo. Both were ladies. One was testing for fourth kyu and the other for third kyu. It was awesome. The woman testing for third kyu had a wicked iriminage. She was a bit shorter than me and she dropped me straight to the mat. I had no where else to go but straight down. She also had to do free style at the end of her test. I had no idea that was going to happen as free style isn't introduced until second kyu at our dojo. So when the instructor said "Free style" I thought "Oh s#*t." So another guy and I "attacked" her. She did well. So did the other woman who tested for fourth kyu.
During the seminar I was working with the uchideshi and he was throwing me pretty hard so I was hitting the mat hard with my hands. On one particular throw, when I went to hit the mat I actually slapped a guy's face. He had just taken ukemi for his partner and was still laying on the mat. There was this loud CRACK when my hand made contact with his face. Poor guy. He laid there holding his face. I was kneeling beside him apologizing and the head instructor came over saying it was an honorable injury. He ended up being alrigh
We did a demo last night. I was totally wired before hand. (In fact when I was asked to do it I felt the gag reflex in my gut.) I'd never done one before and I wanted to do well for the dojo.
The guys said it's not a big deal and to enjoy myself…that it would be fun.
We were supposed to be the first group of martial artists to go on at 7:00. We were all ready by quarter to, but didn't get on stage until 8:00 or so. They were waiting for more of a crowd to arrive as it was out in a public place and they weren't charging or anything.
By 8:00 my nervous energy was replaced with "let's get this over with, I wanna go home and eat."
I don't remember what happened during the demo. Just that I had to do shomen attacks when I first went up. (I heard a woman in the crowd say, "Go girl!") Later on for tanto disarming I had to do yokomen and tsuki attacks. I remember having to flip a couple of times but that's about it.
I forgot about the crowd too. They kind of disappeared what with all the spotlights on us. That was weird.
We were on an elevated stage made of wood with thin mats over top. So whenever anyone of us went down we made a lot of noise when we hit the mats. The louder the noise, the bigger the "oooooh" we got from the crowd. Oh yeah the stage was small so we couldn't really be thrown. The sandans who were demonstrating did pins and made us breakfall. There was an occasional roll but they had to hold back on
Last night we had our first Women's Class for the Fall Schedule. We had three beginners. One who kept giggling nervously during the class, the second it turned out had taken some karate but never graded, and the third is a sandan in Shotokan Karate but stopped training a couple of years ago.
It was a bit hard to concentrate as the house next door to the dojo was blaring reggae music. This has only happened once before and so kind of threw me at first.
The first lady had a hard time doing the basic back rolls, so I worked right next to her and talked her through it. At first it tried my patience because she'd do one and then stop, sit there and just watch. And then do the same side again. Stop. Sit. Watch. Understandable. She did make some progress. She marveled at how uncoordinated she was. I said that she was learning to make her body do things that just don't seem natural right now and just try to do her best.
Oh and when we were paired together doing a cross hand grab ikkyo she would grab me and try to do the technique.
After class I said to the first two that they were probably wondering what any of the basic movements had to do with martial arts, that it all must look so strange, but to give it a chance and if they enjoy it to keep coming. I said that they might want to come and observe a regular class so that they can see where it leads up to. Hopefully, it won't put them off.
Sensei Rick Stickles of Aikido Schools of New Jersey is here for our second seminar this summer. This doesn't usually happen. He comes here once every year, but usually around Christmas time I think. My Sensei was one of his students. He was actually among the first four students that Stickles Sensei trained to black belt.
We had dan tests on Saturday. One nidan and two sandans. Sensei called me up to take ukemi during the freestyle portions of all the tests. So I was one among four people. I was so excited. I only went "splat" a couple of times. Oh yeah, and one of the sandans grabbed my face on a tsuki and threw me. I thought, "Whoa, I can't see," as his big mitt was covering my entire face.
I've been taking quite a bit of ukemi for Stickles Sensei. This has been a very good experience for me. We have two more classes left.
Last night at class, one of the juniors who has been training for about four months was having rolling problems. We were working in a group. Everyone knows that he's a beginner and was training with him according to his level of experience. He can do solo rolls and when doing a technique slowly we set him up to do a solo roll. His roll would fall apart and he'd do a kind of sideways-on-his-back kind of roll. After seeing that a few times, I said to him quietly that I'd seen him do proper rolls and that's all I said. I guess I'd come to the conclusion that he wasn't trying. And it bugged me. Of course some of you might think that I was totally out of line and should have kept my mouth shut as we all progress at different rates and that's totally fine. But right afterwards his rolls improved.
And along this vein of individual progress, one of the things I've been thinking about lately regarding my training is how solitary it is. Yes, I train with a great bunch of people. And we try to help each other through our training, sometimes giving a little push when needed, literally and figuratively. Sometimes when my sempai explain something to me I think I understand, but I'm still not able to apply what they're saying. There's no "lightbulb" moment. Over the years there have been lightbulb moments, but usually way after first hearing the explanation and after much practice. When I gain an understanding of something and an ap
It's been a while. I guess a little update would be in order.
In May I tested for 3rd kyu and passed. I made a few mistakes, mostly due to nerves I think. And it felt like I was going a mile a minute. But after looking at the video (we tape all tests at our dojo) it looked like I was barely making any effort at all. My uke had just gotten back from a trip to the UK. She literally got off the plane, got home, kissed her family hello, picked up her gi and hakama, came to class, got on the mat and was told to be my uke. She didn't have any time to be jet lagged.
We had our seminar in June with a sensei visiting from Syracuse. He didn't do anything flashy which was great, but demonstrated simple (meaning…those "simple" techniques which are simply difficult to execute) and basic techniques. I always find it really interesting to learn from other instructors and see how they teach techniques slightly differently. Our Sensei once said that seminars are meant to confuse you, make you think.
Our only female black belt has left the dojo. She and her family decided to move to London (UK). She trained at the dojo for eight years. When she started she was already a black belt in karate, so training in aikido presented her with many challenges. For her last class with us Sensei asked her to teach. We had a lot of fun. It was also a good way to distract her. She said to me and another woman at the end that Sensei seems to know j
Even though I haven't been journaling very much lately, I have been training. I will be testing for 3rd kyu next month. Last night instead of having a weapons class the nidan instructor did a revision class for those of us testing. As luck would have it, the only other students were a 1st kyu candidate and another 3rd kyu candidate. So I got lots of individual instruction from very senior students.
I have been struggling a bit with the yokomenuchi techniques. My opening was very weak, but after being told to make my movements bigger I think it's starting to come together for me. I wasn't breaking uke's balance one iota. I was also forgetting about the atemi in the techniques.
Sometimes I find it helpful to practice the movements of the techniques on my own…trying to keep in mind all the instructions that I've been given…bring uke down to your level (I'm 5'1"), atemi to the ribs, atemi to the head, take uke's balance…so much to remember. But after some time I find that I don't have to think about it anymore. If you're doing the techniques properly it's like everything is laid out there right in front of you. I guess that's what it's all about.
I went to class last night for the first time this month. I'm a bit sore today. It doesn't take long to get rusty and lose your fitness.
The weather's been crappy which is partly why I'm grumpy these days. My job really sucks right now too, also adding to my funk. I really doubt that I'm going to stick with this profession. It all seems like BS to me lately. I think it's just the combination of a very difficult and demanding client and a weasly consultant. My boss says it's not typical of what we do. Problems aren't being resolved without fingerpointing going on beforehand. Some people have no clue about teamwork.
Maybe I need a vacation. Maybe I need to train more. Maybe I should look into something else as far as my "profession" is concerned.
March 30, 2005, Winter Blues
If anyone else out there is looking into a career change I recommend a book called "What Colour is Your Parachute?" It was first printed thirty years ago and has been updated several times. It now includes internet resources for job hunters etc. etc. etc.
I ran into a friend of mine today. He hates his job too.
He thinks it may be Winter Blues.
Today has been better. The sun was out for a change.
Last night at class we did suwari waza. Shomenuchi ikkyo, nikyo and sankyo. Then we did shomenuchi kokyu ho. I was very rusty. The suwari waza techniques were on my test in December and I wasn't as fluid as before. Oh well, that's what happens when you haven't been training regularly.
Our instructor was the nidan with the injured back. He has a very intense look in his dark eyes when he's in the dojo. It's like he looks right through you. It used to freak me out. I think I have the look sometimes too, usually when I'm really focused. If I do that with a beginner they get this nervous look in their eye like I'm going to pound them.
The only time I was really nervous about training with someone was when I was at a seminar last year. I trained with a black belt that no one knew. He had this maniacal look in his eyes. When he'd throw me I felt like I'd been catapulted. He wasn't a large man, but he was all muscle and very powerful. I was very relieved when we got to change partners and from then on I stayed away from him. I noticed later that the majority of people were staying away from him.