Monday, March 06, 2006

It Must Be a Plot

Ok... I'll update this tomorrow for the pain update but I had to write some of this down tonight.

Here is what's vexing me somewhat tonight. Three shihonage's..... that's right... three. From three different black belt instructors I've seen three different ways to do shihonage. Which way do you do it?

The way I learned it from Bob was to feed the hand into the cross hand and do a 'sword drawing' motion turning uke sideways to you practically and putting him/her way off balance. Then irimi and turn and cut.

On Sunday, Jim had us take the hand, and irimi, moving the hand/arm low and then out past uke. Your sort of stepping past him with his arm so the arm is not drawn to the side like the above method... instead it is simply moved forward and low. Then turn and cut.

Tonight, Matt had us step back offline and then irimi keeping the arm out at a marginally uncomfortable angle for uke. Irimi, turn and cut. I've seen the stepping off line for a response to a yokomen strike but not for a wrist grab.

Now... are they all correct but different? If I am to take a test someday, what version am I supposed to be doing? I'm sort of partial to the way I originally learned it from Bob but you have to make sure you really swing uke out. If you mess that up you leave yourself open.

Other fun tonight. We did what I consider to be a short segment of warmup and stretching. Then we did ukemi rolling practice. The few times I've taken classes at Shodokan they did two sets of rolls from kneeling. Then two sets standing. Then maybe some backwards rolling. Tonight we started right away rolling from a standing position. Did a few sets of that trying to improve things as I went. Matt was telling us to be mindful of different things. Mostly I think he was trying to help me. Then he asked us to do a big diving roll. So... I took a few big steps and whoosh... actually flipped myself over with so much energy I don't believe I landed on my arm at all. I think I landed on my shoulder. Overall it wasn't a horrible roll. Maybe not correct but I did roll and I didn't hurt myself.

We did a bunch of stuff, again... I've had better nights trying to figure stuff out... and once I got something down... it seemed we moved on to something else. I would've preferred to drill the exercises over and over. To make sure I have things correct.

Towards the end of class we formed a line and did a technique where it starts with a wrist grab, do the same motion as the shihonage, keep the wrist down but put the free arm under uke's elbow raising him up, then throw with a step. I didn't do great on some of the rolls. One of them nailed my lower back but didn't really cause pain. A couple others were just bad rolls so I hurt my shoulders a bit. I didn't crush them... but it smarted a bit.

Matt had us switching partners frequently so I partnered with just about everyone. At one point we did a little nikkyo. There was one guy who was in incredible shape who was my partner for this. He helped me out somewhat on this version. He noticed that my shoulders are loose but refused to push the pin to pain. He said he was concerned that even with loose shoulders if you go to far you could permanently damage something and always have pain. If he's right it sounds like I should tap out before I feel pain from now on.

We closed the night with suwari waza kokyuho. This same experienced partner had done something and I accidently let him go. My grip slipped. He gave me a couple of soft taps on the neck area. Never had corporal punishment for being a bad uke before. He didn't hit me hard so it didn't hurt. Just sort of tapped me. Was kind of strange. I let go one other time and got the same dope slap. Now that I'm back in my home, I wonder how'd he react if I purposely broke his grip and tapped him on the neck? I'm not like that really. I have no need to play games of tit for tat, but I am curious how he'd react to someone tapping him on the neck. Would he go nuts? I'll let someone else figure that out. Overall ... he was a good partner, trying to help, if anything a little too much. I don't think he should be tapping anyone's neck. Maybe they did that where he trained originally. No harm done. I'd gladly train with him as a partner again.

My goal was actually to do both the 6:00p and the 7:30p class. I've done seminars which were three hours in a row so I thought it was doable. After the first class, I decided I was tired and the rollouts caused some mild discomfort in my shoulders. Doing another class would either hurt me or maybe my partners so I chose to go home instead. A fellow student told me that the mixed class is a little more intense with more lines being set up. This makes me wonder if I could ever attend a mixed class anytime soon. That would be most unfortunate if they can't take it easy on the lower end of the 'mix'.

DAPI: 3 (Light shoulder ache, will be gone by tonight though. It already feels better)
Hurt my shoulder a bit rolling out from the techniques. Neck feels a tiny bit tighter than it should today.


At March 07, 2006 4:18 AM, Blogger Kris said...


Have you seen this video by Ellis Amdur?

I haven't seen it myself, but it seems to be good.

I think you should try to get your instructors to really focus on ukemi for you, as you seem to have a problem doing it properly without hurting yourself. If you were my student, I'd be worried you'd hurt yourself permanently. You shouldn't do "flying" rolls unless your 100% sure of how to do rolls from a standing position.

Talk to your instructor about this. I'm sure he's happy to help you with some special instruction on the subject. Sometimes, as an instructor, you may not be aware of all the special needs of the students. Especially if you have just joined a new dojo.

Good luck!

At March 07, 2006 4:30 AM, Blogger Kris said...

As to your frustration over the different versions of Shiho Nage: Isn't that just the beauty of Aikido?

What you have learnt is 3 ways to respond to the same attack, but with different approaches. This means you will always know another way if one fails.

Also, Aikido is not supposed to be fixed in any way. There are endless variations to techniques. Of course, one can not start out as a beginner and be told: "Everything is possible!". That makes it all just too confusing. However, after a while, when you separate yourself more from the form itself, and become more as one with Aikido as a principle, you will discover the beauty of limitless variations.

Concerning what to show for a test: Most dojos have their set of basic variations. You should ask the instructor what's the basic variation you're supposed to show for your test. This is true for all techniques.

At March 08, 2006 12:12 AM, Blogger Poxbox said...

Well... frankly.. although my "flying roll" was ok, I don't think I should be doing them quite yet. I have no idea why the instructor felt the need to have the class do one of these. I was wondering if they are just simply that far ahead of me since they met 3 days a week at a minimum and I was only able to do 2 nights a week at my other dojo. Maybe they do those every week. I think I'll ask one of the other students just out of curiousity.

Again though.... here is a qualified instructor who saw me unable to do a backward roll and thought nothing of asking me to do the more difficult "flying" forward roll. Maybe he thought I could handle it as my standing roll was adequate? So few instructors seem to really be concerned with students poor rolling. They seem oblivious to the possibility of serious injury in this area. I think they just forgot what it was like to be at my level so many years ago.

Since I've only really been rolling consistently for a month or so I'm pretty happy with my improvement. I'm at the point now where I am almost comfortable with a normal roll from kneeling. I am not comfortable with standing rolls as yet but it will come.

As the instructors get to know me I'm hoping they will challenge me without putting me in a position I shouldn't be in.


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