Friday, September 16, 2005

Two Students No Waiting

My wife makes an extra effort last night so I can leave the house a little early for a change. I actually was the first person to arrive. I was dressed and ready to go but the door to the dojo was locked.

Sensei shows up and tells me that he has to leave and asks F( our black belt ), to teach the class. Well, it was an interesting night as only K and myself showed up. So the two of us assembled the dojo and F helped a bit at the end. For those just joining me.... our dojo is in the top floor or an office building which shares the space with a dance studio. So we have to set up our tatami and kamiza for every class and break it down at the end.

F warmed us up a little different then sensei did. Actually... the whole class was a bit different including teaching styles and technique. F tends to tweak a lot more than sensei does. Sensei's attitude was letting you do a couple minor things wrong if it meant getting the rest right. This is so you can build muscle memory. Do it 1000 times and he'll make a tweak..... lather, rinse, repeat. After 10,000 repetitions he's got you to the point where you're competent in a technique.

So... we work on ikkyo for a bit. F was constantly tweaking K to the point where I think it was a bit detrimental. As his uke I refused to "lead" him through it. When he moved the wrong way, I let him. The last thing he needed was someone else correcting him. He was given so much to think about that he wasn't getting the basic movement right for the technique.

A month or so ago I asked sensei about how much resistance uke should offer nage. During an ikkyo nage hadn't gotten me off me feet so I let myself stay centered. Nage felt that the solution was to whip me around. This unbalanced me and worked(and I actually flowed well with him). What I expected him to do was to take a step and drive my shoulder down. The fact is that you never know what nage will choose to do when you offer resistance and my beginner ukemi may not be up to doing the unexpected. In this case I was fine because I kept myself loose. Sensei said that at our level we should give no resistance. In fact it's even more important if you are with a partner you don't know. He said he was training with one partner who decided the only option left to him was to strike sensei in the face. Not a feint.... an actual strike.

So.... I related this story to K a couple of weeks ago and it had no effect on his training. He still resists. I know him really well so I know whats going on. He believes he's doing you a favor by resisting. In fact... if HE thinks you're doing something wrong he will resist more. He is unable to "check his ego at the door".

Working with someone like this isn't always a bad thing though. You have to make adjustments sometimes. At one point he chose to really resist the part where I'm supposed to take his cross hand grab and make a big circle to complete the ikkyo. What I chose to do in response was to really lower my center so he had no choice but to come with me. F said that was good basically making due with what I was given. Once I had him started I could then finish the technique normally. F showed me another way to deal with this by lowering my elbow more. I'm curious to know which method sensei would have preferred. Although both work quite well.

Although my ikkyo felt better in the past with a more cooperative partner I made sure I could get everything else as right as possible....... don't look at my feet... keep my posture... keep good extension..... stay centered. Make sure uke goes down to the mat before I go down for the pin. use live toes during the pin keeping one knee into the armpit, control the elbow.... etc. Believe it or not... all this is done without any thought at this point. Not bad for a beginner.

There was one other exercise we were doing which uke grabs nage.... nage slips off line and moves up behind uke. Then you take uke's head and put it against your shoulder. The next sequence would be to do a throw but F wanted to take it easy on us I think. One thing I was doing though was instinctively jamming my arm/wrist into uke's neck. Well... that might be an ok thing to do in a fight but F asked me not to do that as there is a chance that I would be blocking the carotid artery. Don't know why I did that.... the only thing I can think of is I saw someone do it in an aikido video at a seminar or something.

At the end of class F made a point to mention that she saw large improvements in both K and I since we started. This is probably true but sometimes it doesn't feel like it.

Last night was great though.... since it was just K and I there was no waiting for a partner and full attention from the sensei(teacher). So we both got a great workout.

DAPI: 1 (loose as a goose)
Day After Pain Index


At April 26, 2006 6:11 PM, Blogger Wabi Sabi said...

The story about sensei getting struck in the face is hilarious. I laughed out loud imagining the frustration of not being able to do anything and resorting to punching your teacher. I have felt that way in the past but have never gotten close to following through. I guess it makes a bit more sense in a dojo but....


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