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I woke up this morning and was painfully aware that I was training last night. There were parts of me that were sore in places that I didn't even know had muscle. During my morning shower (a blissfully steaming hot one) I managed to find various bruises and stuff.
Some people talk about this delayed onset of soreness. They say it doesn't reach it's full potential until 24 hours later. I find that in much less time than that I'm at the peak of soreness. Even now, without any medication (I stray away from pills if at all possible) I'm not nearly as sore as I was when I got home from the dojo last night.
Three classes last night. I walked in with my new jo and bokken, excited for the final weapons class of the evening. In the first class with Toyoda Sensei we worked on what I think is an irimi kokyunage. As someone comes in for shomenuchi, you step right into them, draw them to your chest, then pivot around and throw them. Uke rolls out on one hand. It's a pretty powerful throw when you do it quickly.
After that I spent the rest of the class with one of the guys who is testing for 7th kyu this Saturday. He's young and really flexible. He had a little bit of trouble with the names of the techniques, but we talked about the Japanese meanings of them and I ran him through the entire ki and technique series. He knows what he's doing, and I'm looking forward to seeing his test this Saturday.
Class two with Parks-Casey Sensei focused on lots of taisabaki toshu. Mun
It was snowing pretty heavily when I arrived at the dojo last night. There were three inches on the ground. I was the only student there about a half-hour before classes so I swept the mats and changed so I could do some stretching before anyone arrived. Erickson Sensei came in and it looked like we were going to be the only ones for class, but due to the heavy snow, people began to trickle in.
In class one we did lots of kokyunage variations from katatetori grabs. The most interesting one was where you lead uke's grabbing hand toward theor own shoulder and wind them up like a top. Pretty quickly they will lose their balance and fall.
There were four students and Sensei made us work as one large group in sort of a jiyuwaza style with repeated attackers coming in. It was all happening so fast I think most of us forgot it was cold in the dojo..
Class two, weapons, focused on jo. We did lots of striking patterns that Sensei is a fan of. For instance, munetsuki into hasso no kamae, then with a small hand change, you're setup for a shomenuchi strike. Then into another munetsuki and so on. Up and down the mats we practiced our forms.
Then we moved on to kumijo, kata three. The best part about that kata is the huge arc you get to make with your jo while winding up for the final strike. If you do it right, the jo emits a haunting "whooosh" as you whip it around. Fun.
The final class was a mix of 4th kyu, 5th kyu, and 7th kyu test requirements. Ushirotekubitori kokyu
When your toes go numb and all you can pray for is a technique that involves some rolling ukemi, you know it's wintertime in the dojo. Tuesday evening it was something like 12F(-11C) outside and the mats could have frozen a pizza if you would have laid it in front of the shomen. But after training in 100F(37C) heat, I have to say I enjoy the cold so much more. Toyoda Sensei put it best "In the winter, you can train and warm yourself up. I'll take winter training over the summer any day."
The beginners class I attended was really good. One of the gentlemen is coming along quite well. It's amazing to watch what can happen in six weeks. There is also a brand new student on the mats who lived in Japan as an English teacher. I look forward to speaking loads of Japanese with her.
We did some ma-ai practice and lots of ikkyo with a bit if nikkyo. Nikkyo is so sensitive, you have to get it just right and it works like a charm. Otherwise it seems to have very little effect. I like the challenge of it and I'm looking forward to working on it more because katatori nikkyo is on my next exam...whenever that will be.
Class two was with Parks-Casey Sensei and because we were cold, we did LOTS of rolls and throwing from katatekosatori and ryotetori. There was a healthy dose of ryotetori tenchinage thrown in, which I have still yet to get right as uke or nage. It wasn't until half-way in that class, nearly an hour and a half after beginng to train that day, that I felt
At nearly the speed of light, my jo and bokken arrived at work today from Kiyota in Maryland. I chose a medium bokken and the aiki jo 54" x 2.6". Both are white oak, made in Japan.
The jo is HEAVY. Much heavier, I think, than the ones we train with at Tenshinkan. However, that might prove to be extremely useful. It comes right up to my armpit, which is a comfortably long length for me. I might have to rethink this and purchase the 50" one, but we'll see after I train on Tuesday with it.
The bokken is perfect. It's perfectly perfect. The length is good, the weight is not to heavy and not too light, and it has the pale blush I admired on Parks-Casey Sensei's bokken.
I didn't expect them to arrive until next week, so I have to make my way home with them and then rush off to the hardware store for some really fine grit sandpaper. I've been instructed to finely sand them down (only a bit) and then follow with a good rub down using a muslin bag filled with chopped walnuts.
I also have no case for them yet, so I'll need to get on the ball and get that sorted out quickly as well.
Weapons. I have weapons. If you asked me last year what I'd get myself for Christmas 2005, I would never have said weapons. Never.
Last night I was back at the dojo after a week off for the holidays. Our first class with Toyoda Sensei concentrated on lots of kotegaeshi and backward rolls, although not at the same time. Gyaku kotegaeshi is far more powerful that I first thought, but uke really has to know how to take the ukemi from that control, otherwise they'll stumble over themselves. And yes, that was me, stumbling over myself the first few times nage applied the kotegaeshi on me.
The second class with Parks-Casey Sensei began with shikko. Up and down the length of the mats a few times we went. Then we started working on turns. They're exactly like some turns I learned during a dance class (WAY back in the day), I have the concept pretty well. It'll just be a matter of polishing my form and keeping my balance better. And of course, trying not to think of how sore my knees are.
Our shikko practice led into suwariwaza. I'd seen it done during a kyu test, but had never tried it. Shomenuchi kokyunage isn't a wildly complex technique. It doesn't have a million hand changes or feet movements. But when I tried it on my knees, I felt as helpless as an infant. Balance, control, throwing, all the rules change. Even the ukemi is wildly different because you're already so close to the ground.
But that didn't stop it from being very enjoyable. Every time we were each nage, there was a line of four uke taking turns attacking. The timing for the entering step at the beginning is REALLY critical, just as it