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This is a rant of personal observations and personal feelings -- nothing in here is meant to be an exact depiction of the uchideshi situation in Iwama.
Recently I've been hearing stories from third parties regarding uchideshi who have "recently been to Iwama." I swear I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass -- I think some things I've heard lately about life in Iwama seem a little odd.
To explain, the uchideshi program in Iwama, like aikido in general, is continuing it's development and refinement. It changes depending on a few factors -- mainly who is the head uchideshi at a given time. Whoever is head uchideshi generally maintains the chore schedule, deciding what chores will be done, when they will be done, and HOW they'll be done. This last part can be exceptionally annoying for some -- to be told not only to do something but HOW to do it -- as if there were many different ways to sweep a room... You'll find, however, that there actually ARE different ways and that the "right way" is the way that Sensei showed the head uchideshi, or the way that head uchideshi was shown by the previous head uchideshi.
I've heard more than one person declare that they were "the first foreign head uchideshi." I'm sure there really was a first foreign head uchideshi but I'm sure he or she is a 6th dan somewhere and would probably find few opportunities to boast about that particular honor. Head uchideshi is usually the uchideshi who has been at the dojo the longest. When I first
Had to copy the last week's worth of posts from my Blog into this so... start at the bottom post and work your way up or go to http://ibaraki-bryan.blogspot.com to see it in the usual format.
I didn't go to class last night or this morning. In the afternoon yesterday, my feet started randomly cramping up -- repeatedly. I gotta say, foot cramps are among my least favorite sensations and I was not enjoying life for a while there. Finally got them calmed down by standing flat footed. I think they may be reacting to training -- or at least to not wearing shoes very much (no arch support). Don't know. No problems today so far -- should be back at keiko tonight.
posted by Bryan at 6:22 PM 0 comments
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
good morning, jo
This morning I woke up stiff and sore -- and knowing it was time for more training. Been having a sore neck issue lately but maybe that's sleeping on the futon or not stretching enough or just abusing my body in general. Not sure, but I didn't let it stop me this morning.
Adam taught class again and we did jo work, starting with the 31 no jo kata and moving on to 1, 2 and 3 no kumi jo. It has been months and months since I did kumi jo last. I worked with two uchideshi, both Australian, and did okay. I mixed some things up and had a little trouble remembering when to receive the strike and when to enter -- oops -- but when I remembered the movements, my body did fine (always in a strong posi
Just finished my third keiko in a row -- last night, this morning and tonight. I'm feeling more sore than I've been in a while. I'm not nearly as sore as my first uchideshi experience but I can feel it. From the soreness I can tell I haven't been relaxing my shoulders enough during technique and ken suburi -- I tend to tense up. Gotta work on that.
We did kotegaeshi tonight and I worked with Peter, the Australian kyuu-level uchideshi I worked with last night for taejutsu and again this morning for bukiwaza. We didn't start working together tonight -- I did tae no henko with Pietre (I think?) from Czech Republic. I was looking forward to a bracing night being tossed by the Czech but then a shuffle ended me up with Peter (Oz) and Alicia with Pietre.
It was a good night but a couple bad kotegaeshi attempts left my wrists a bit mangled. Twisting the arm along its axis with brute force hurts a bit but doesn't make me want to fall -- makes me want to smack the guy. He caught on after a couple attempts and started folding me up more, making it impossible to resist -- not that I was actively trying to resist to begin with. . .
This morning my alarm didn't go off so I missed morning bukiwaza. My only alarm is on my cell phone and it has to be set every day, so I guess I forgot -- or I subconciously knew my body needed a little break. I must be lazier than when I was uchideshi. It might have something to do with having such a nice place to come home to an
The last day or so have been very aikido oriented. Yesterday Alicia and I went to Mito to do some Immigration paperwork and get her residence status legalized, and to hang out with Ineke, the Australian uchideshi from last month -- now sotodeshi living in Mito City. After some time chatting with her and then a fruitless hour or so spent at Immigration, we headed back to Iwama.
I went to training that night at the Iwama Budokan -- a community martial arts center of sorts. It's actually next door to the Junior High School I will be teaching at starting in September. Miwa-san taught class (for information about her upcoming Germany seminar along with Akimasa Watanabe, click here for German or here for English). Budokan classes occur every Thursday night and are a mix of about 30 minutes of taejutsu and 30 minutes of bukiwaza.
After a few weeks away from aikido -- one week of that relaxing on a beach doing nothing -- I was definitely out of practice and knew I'd be feeling more sore than usual the next day. I did taejutsu with another aussie uchideshi -- Peter. Like Ineke, he's of kyuu rank and, also like Ineke, you can see tangible improvements and changes in technique occur even in the space of one class. I'm so afraid of one day being so set in my aikido ways that I stop developing -- seeing kyuu level students improving so quickly is great motivation to continue honing and working towards that unattainable perfection of technique...
It'd been more than a week since I stepped onto the mat. It was nice to be back. It was especially nice because this week there is a gashuku on at the dojo. The Ibaraki University aikido club/dojo has come down to stay at the shin dojo and train at Tanrenkan for the week.
Last night I started out working with Adam, the Australian sotodeshi who has been in Iwama for a couple years. His wife recently had a baby (his wife is Aussie as well, they both work for Nova, an English conversation school or eikawa) but that hasn't slowed him down on the mat. He's very strong but doesn't use his strength to blast through you on a technique. He is very earnest about his training and I always learn a lot working with him. He doesn't talk much but the little hints he gives every 10 minutes or so are invaluable. Most of the time he's reminding me of things he's already heard Sensei yell at me about. Once in a while he points something out those things we should all be painfully aware of -- like dropping the hips for tae no henko or keeping arms extended for ikkyo. He reminds me a bit of Jorge in that regard, except without the physical punishment Jorge sometimes uses to reinforce his point.
After doing tae no henko kihon and ki no nagare, Sensei split me and Adam up and put us with white belts from the Ibaraki University dojo. The split up was a little ambiguous since he broke up a group of three (Ibaraki U students, two white belts and a black belt, working together) a
Alicia and I are looking to move down to Iwama in the next few weeks. It's a done deal, putting in our 30 day notice and everything at Heart. I'm really looking forward to living down there, being able to walk, ride, drive a matter of a couple minutes to the house instead of driving 30-40 minutes. It'll also be nice to have the summer off!
That's right, thanks to progressive thinking, Alicia will be supporting my aikido habit over the summer until the Iwama Junior High School contract becomes available at the beginning of September! We did all the math and figured out that averaged out, we would make just a little bit less over the year when compared to our other options. The main reason is our contracts will be 8 hour days instead of 6 ... small price to pay considering the commute we're avoiding would have been about 2 hours daily anyway. Might as well be getting paid for those two hours and get some lesson planning done. . .
So we checked out places in Iwama and wrote down the building numbers of three or four apartments. When noone lives in an apartment, there are no drapes so we could also see which ones are currently available and we could take a peek inside to see what kind of living space we'd be getting.
We're pretty sure a two room place would suit us. People hear two-room and they think, like in the States, that there are two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen but no, I mean two ROOMS, like two rooms, a tiny kitchen and a bathroom. So, yeah, we could c
This is a journal entry from January when I took my girlfriend to Saito Hitohiro Sensei's dojo for the first time last month. She had never trained aikido -- she had only watched one training session, in America, at Hans Goto Sensei's dojo (http://www.baymarinaikido.com). The first entry is my journal entry, the next is hers. Remember this is all our own interpretation of things -- her understanding of the world of aikido is, so far, somewhat limited and as such she sees things in a very black and white fashion. Any constructive criticism is welcome. Criticism that is less than constructive can be mailed directly to me at email@example.com
PS - though we've both had trouble making it to training on a nightly basis, we're training as much as possible and she's still enjoying herself immensely!
At keiko, we did the starting ritual of tae no henko (kihon and ki no nagare) and morotedori kokyu ho, then a morotedori henka waza, then straight into ikkyo for the rest of class. I'd never seen Hitohiro Sensei with a brand new aikido student. The fact that it was a foreigner with no japanese language ability added to the grandeur of the moment. . . and that it was my girlfriend just blew my mind. It was spectacular. I've seen Hitohiro Sensei annoyed, angry, indiffirent, and, on occasion, I've seen him in a good mood, bordering on buoyant. Tonight was a buoyant night. He seemed in a very good mood.
Welcome to my aikiblog. This blog will consist, mostly, of entries copied from a blogspot equivalent journal I have at http://ibaraki-bryan.blogspot.com
I will, on occasion, post something exclusive here.
Please remember everything included in this journal is from my own limited view of things. I'm a new shodan (got my blackbelt almost one year ago, just before coming to Iwama as uchideshi last April) and I feel I'm at the stage of training where I need to really concentrate on the basics again. I'm hoping to keep a training journal, noting aspects of certain techniques that were less than obvious to me in the past (or those parts that always seem obvious in hindsight but that insist on remaining vague and obscure on the mat).
Feel free to email me or make any comments you like here or at firstname.lastname@example.org