Monday, September 18, 2006

Almost Landed On My Head

Tonight I think everyone was distracted and didn't notice the time. As a result we didn't line up until Bob stepped on to the mat. Ah.. oops.

Before class we just sat a little extra time in seiza while Bob spoke(although we were invited to sit crosslegged if needed). Aside from just general information I'm sure having the students lining up late may also have been the impetus for this particular talk.

We did a quick round of stretching and warmed up with some line work. A couple of simple, grab the hand and drop your center type of 'throws'. Toward the end I was realizing that I was doing something more akin to a weeble roll. I noticed some of the students all doing a forward roll so I purposely did a couple of forward rolls at the end just to make sure I could. Although they feel less natural for me, the forward roll with a tenkan allowed me to get up a lot faster. Really, I should practice this more.

One of the exercises was to grab uke with both hands and sort of fall/sit backwards. Pulling uke with your center forward. Everyone pretty much did it the same way from my perspective except there was this one guy who is just a big guy. When he pulled me forward it was like being tossed from a flywheel. He had a solid connection to my wrist and pulled VERY fast. I was practically pulled off my feet. For the ukemi, I did a roll with no arm and tucked my head in. The roll was slightly uncomfortable but really fine. I didn't really whack anything. The other thing about it was that the ukemi was pure instinct. There was no thinking involved because there was no chance to think. Although not pretty I'm sure, I was fairly happy to take a fast throw without getting mangled.

For techniques, we did a repeat of last week. We did a tsuki kotagaeshi where nage steps back and cuts with the cross hand down. Keeping that hand live but with relaxed shoulders. Then grab the hand for the kotagaeshi and tenkan. My uke kept giving me a fist so I followed the fingers with my own.

Then we did a kotagaeshi with an uppercut as an attack. We still step back but blend with the attack and grab the fist and follow the fingers and sort of push uke straight down. I helped Bob demo this to the class. I actually forgot that I have loose shoulders and forgot to tap early. Frankly I was just enjoying the stretch. He sort of smiled and said "Good". He was pleased to see that I was flexible there. I apologized to him after class if I wasn't a good uke for the demo and that if this were a real fight I realize that he could just break my elbow among other things. I really wasn't trying to be a wise-ass or anything. I really do just tap out usually. I just forgot this time.

In fact for the standing pins we were doing for the kotagaeshi I was just tapping out early again.

At one point in class we did an exercise where we had one nage sorrounded by 7 or so uke's. Nage would make eye contact and that uke would come in with a tsuki attack. Bob asked us to try and keep it to the one kotagaeshi exercise we were doing earlier. By breathing for this one was easy and even because I knew where the attack was going to come from. In contrast, when we did this with the two knives a while back my breathing was erratic and I had a lot of wasted motion. This is because with the knife attacks I didn't know exactly where the next attack was coming from. The key to these quasi-randori things seems to be breathing. I try to stay relaxed and focused. For tonight's version I missed a couple of the throws because I stepped back too far or something like that. I really should have just moved back in. Aikido is about harmonizing with the attacker. I have to do that better somehow.

Took a small poke to the eye with my partner doing suwariwaza koyuho of all things. I was getting back up and must have leaned into her outstretched hand. Ouch. Eye bothered me for about 5 minutes and then felt normal. You'd think I could have at least blinked. Isn't that supposed to be autonomic?

Everything's fine. Even my head/shoulder is fine from the surprise fall.


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