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Saturday's keiko was great, as usual. I arrived on time, but feeling a bit out of sorts. I had been up all night with my littlest boy and had received some information that, while not entirely unexpected, was also disconcerting and I carried it around with me a short while. It soon was washed away in sweat and efforts of concentration though.
We went outside for bokuto practice. I've been having a hard time getting the patterns down. I often omit a step or add a step, or get a movement backwards. I suppose it makes sense since the swordwork is mostly quite new to me. It was a lot of fun though. I paired up with the current uchideshi, who is pretty new to Aikido as far as I know, but he was able to remind me of a couple things I forgot.
Once we went back inside for taijutsu we worked on kansetsu waza, doing a continuous sequence of flowing into ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo, and rokkyo from an ai hanmi seigan initiating point. We then focused on rokkyo from an uraken attack. Periodically sensei would stop us to focus on some aspect or another. For the uraken, in this instance at least, the point wasn't to deliver a devastating blow, but to offset aite's head enough to begin entering into, and controlling, his/her structure. He made the point that someone who is well organized in their attack will be ready to spring into you the moment your hand stops its forward momentum.
We also practiced a rokkyo exercise where we used only one arm to wrap around the attacking a
Keiko yesterday was awesome. I showed up a little late, but still got quite a bit of time in on bokuto waza. I tended to sit down too deeply and arch my lumbar too much. I'm trying to press outward with my knees slightly, but seem to do it to the point of sitting down too much. The lumbar arch has been something of a condition of mine for a long time. I remember one time several years ago when I stopped by for a training, sensei had us sit upright and he walked around pushing on our backs. I wasn't trying to arch my lumbar at all but he said it was too arched. I think this has a lot to do with why I tend to lean too far forward all the time...at least, I get the feeling that it tends to put me farther forward in my structure than is ideal. This corresponds to an idea I heard Dan express (assuming I'm remembering correctly), that in using the "back-bow" it's usually easier for people to press forward and more difficult for them to push backward. I'm guessing this is because most of us are so forward-oriented in our awareness. One of the things the instructor in the beginner's class likes to emphasize is the idea of putting ki/awareness into our backs when practicing movements. It's hard, but I do notice that when I am conscious of balancing my left and right sides, along with my front and back sides, while creating/activating vertical musubi, my movements have a much more interesting dynamic. I feel more responsive and "free," which seems to give me a little more sense of bei
Today was a pleasant day all in all. To begin with, my wife takes the kids to a "moms' group" once a week in the morning and since she's working mornings during the summer school I got to be an honorary mom today. I'm only mentioning this because at one point I had to practice that age-old art of stopping kids with my "powerful" kiai ( ) as they merrily ran down a road toward some slight traffic. It stopped them dead in their tracks so my waza is clearly well-honed . We were all shouting for them to stop, but it wasn't until I focused and belted it out that they actually did.
As for the "real" Aikido today I could only make it to beginners' class as I had left the wee lads with gramma had to make it back in time for bed time. Part of what I've really been enjoying about beginners' class is the focus on rolls, which when done slowly really helps to relax my upper back and shoulders. Being able to practice rolls in slow-mo seems like a great practice in shifting weight through the body while maintaining frame shape...more or less round, in this case. In bacwards rolls, I loved the feeling of sinking my lower hip down, connecting to the ground, and then focusing on the continuous line of pressure being "drawn" along my back and shoulders as I rolled along. I have the sense that when I started (and restarted) my training, it was a series of dashes instead of that one long continuous line, which feels great and leaves me feeling renewed and physically balanced.
It's been a bit since I posted a blog and I missed last night's training due to an unpleasant medical issue with my oldest son so it seems fitting to try and recall last weeks session and refresh what I can from it.
These past couple weeks have been hectic and stressful, so I've been processing my "Aikido" in less obvious ways. Big birthday parties; reconciling unemployment; Obaa-san unable to get up from picking raspberries; last-minute changes in plans all around; all seemed to have left their mark on my ability to stay centered mentally. I've picked up an annoying tick not unlike a mild Turret's. Some embarrassing stuff and some not-so, but...c'est la vie, non? Gotta keep moving forwardly.
Last week I asked to work on katatetori uchi kaiten, which is part of the gokyu requirements I want to refresh myself on. This is actually one of the techniques I remember really feeling comfortable with, but last week I had a lot of difficulty with the transition from "uchi" to "kaiten." The pivot after entering through the armpit space felt unconnected, but it was a lot of fun working through it. I began by training with one of the more senior students who wanted me to really focus on making the whole movement "alive" and more at speed than I started with. I still have a tendancy to do a lot of start-stop-start-stop herky-jerky stuff which makes it hard to figure out how the whole body plays into the single flow. In other words I think it tends to add to the fragmentation of the bo