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So the instructor calls out, "Change ukemi!" I've already taken ukemi for the person closest to me so I get up and sprint down the mat for the other person. I arrive there and I can feel this feeling on the left hand side of my face. I look over and Sensei had jumped up from the grading panel to take ukemi.
So I stared him down.
Got complimented on my ukemi, apparenly it's "excellent."
Today we held junior gradings and for the third time Sensei had me sit next to him while he conducted them. I wasn't asked my opinion this time though, although I was immediately put to work correcting them all after the grading while he made up his mind on who had passed, which turned out to be all of them.
You know something though, when I was called out by Sensei I thought of it as a great privilege, thirty minutes later I wasn't so sure as my legs had gone to sleep. Mind you it was better than the excruciating pain I was in.
Sporting guards: e.g boxing guards. Short to allow opponent into optimum striking range, allows full range of attacks to be used. Relies on physically stopping the blow. Leaves the centreline undefended to allow jabs and crosses easy access to the face. No need to overcome the guard before attacking the defender as defender and the guard can be attacked simultaneously.
Martial guards: Extended with hands placed in front to physically control the centreline making attacks along it easy to deflect or block and forcing the attacker to attack from outside of arms reach and allowing the defender better control of mai-ai. Both aspects limiting attackers choice of attacks and forces the attacker to defeat the guard before attacks can be made to the body of the defender, potentially forcing the attacker into over commited attacks in an attempt to smash through the guard. Uncommitted attacks are defeated by a combination of distancing, movement and parrying.
I hear through the grapevine that in actual fact things at HQ seem to have improved. People are working together rather than bonking heads.
In other news a new guy showed up at our dojo. Apparently he likes our atmosphere, he visited some other dojo where there "Was no talking when everyone came in, no talking when everyone got on the mat, no talking when sensei came on the mat and no talking when everyone went home."
Sounds like a cheery place. Sensei commented that he wished we'd talk less; it is one of his ongoing battles and I doubt he'll ever win it.
Our dojo at times can be rather rowdy and rauchous with pleanty of banter; it's a very lively place with lots of big personalities.
Most of that is a ton of communication between uke and tori that I've not found in any other dojo. Uke will tell tori what they felt and will actively tell tori what to do during the technique so that tori can adjust their technique as they're going.
And then in the interval where tori and uke swap over there's some kind of banter or repetition of a running joke, "It'd be far easier if we just used guns you know" "Lacks finesse though" "We could do a western style shoot out" "Ahhh, that's a good idea" *bow*.
Or, again unique in my experience, there'll be a brief discussion between uke and tori about what tori is working on and what they want from uke or what uke wants from tori. Or perhaps uke will tell tori what he needs to do next time, "You need to cut up more, you're alm
I don't want to go training. It's a course and I hate courses, no-one trains with kyu grades on courses; we're avoided like the plauge.
Then there's the reason I'm going. I'm off to brown nose some shidoin so that finally I can pass 1st kyu.
Not that after two years of failing it I care about it, but Sensei wants me to pass it and so I'm playing "Sensei says." Sensei says pass 1st kyu, I do it.
Not that anyone gives a flying f*** about shodan because the way the past two years have gone has pretty much devalued rank to the point were no-one in my dojo sees any value in grading. Last night Bob said, he's said it before, that he probably wont bother with Shodan because the only way to get it is to kiss ass and if he has to do that then it instantly devalues shodan to the point of worthlessness. I totally agree. In fact all the senior students are struggling to find a reason to take shodan.
I hear the shidoin are bitching because 1st kyu gradings interupt the teachers course. Which is ironic because the reason 1st kyu gradings were moved to teachers courses was that most shidoin found something better to do when gradings were held and so putting together a panel was becoming impossible.
Not that 1st kyu gradings are held in front of a panel even on teachers courses. Nope usually we're shuffled into a back room where we're asked a bunch of interesting questions about which teachers we've been training with. Then after we've failed we're politely told not to train with
We were wandering from bar to bar, as we do when we get fed up of our usual drinking spots and we found this bar. The decor was a bit funky, but it was quiet and importantly the bar was well stocked and looked capable of supporting a long night of binge drinking so we decided to stay.
We get our drinks and find a spot close to the dance floor. At this point there are three of us and maybe five guys by the front door where we'd come in.
It occurs to me that there aren't any women in the place. But there were only a handful of people there so it was reasonable to assume that this was the reason for the lack of women. The music was a little too loud to chat and there was no atmosphere in the place so we're sort of looking around, checking the place out. Soon we stop looking around the room and we start looking at each other with that look that says "There's something not right here." The walls are covered with pictures of glamorous female movie stars from the thirties and the whole place was just a little camp.
My mate to the left of me leans in and he says, "Those guys by the door keep looking us over." I have a look and sure enough they're looking but there's no hint of hostility. Then one of the guys gets up, walks in the campest fashion ever to the dance floor and begins dancing rather provocatively about three feet away from us.
"Lads" I say, "There are no women in here, the décor is just a little bit camp and there is a guy in front of us dancing like a loony." "Yea
On wednesday night I trained at my mates father's dojo, which I do from time to time, after all they need regular visits from me, being as I am 8th Dan shihan in Karate...........
That's what my friends dad tells his students anyway. Once a student asked who I'd trained under in Japan and I just said "Serious people." No-ones yet clocked on why I can't do a single kata correctly yet though.
I actually find Karate classes to be a doddle. There's no getting slammed into the floor or put in a submission or being made to drag my tired body off the mat when I'd rather just lay there and make sure there are no bumps in it. Somehow getting kicked and punched just doesn't bother me anymore. I think once you're used to having a bokken getting bounced off your skull getting hit in the head just isn't a worry.
Even the cardiovascular stuff isn't that taxing compared to my normal Aikido practice.
Sparing was fun, I can't believe anyone thinks of it as training for real fighting, but it is fun. Caught the instructor good and propper once. I used a hooking kick to sweep his lead leg, which brought him forward onto my punch. I managed to keep all the dan grades on the back foot, I wish there'd been a mat. I'd have had so much fun.
I find that when I spar with my mates from striking arts they're ok provided you trade strikes with them, as soon as I cover up and enter in though I find that something like irimi nage or tenchi nage becomes inevitable. I find that I end