Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Scheduling Conflict and Ramblings

It doesn't happen often, but there are days when my wife and I are both busy on the same night and we can't score a babysitter somewhere. Given the recent problems my dojo has been experiencing, I thought it best if I just pack it in for the night and volunteer to stay home with the kids.

Last Friday night I swung by Shodokan to speak with Mulligan sensei. I asked about joining up and he requested that I try and communicate with Whelan sensei one more time to find out what his plans are. Basically, I've been given the impression that Bob is closing things up for a short while. I've gotten no impression that he's ready to open anything up soon. It's kind of obvious that he can't devote his full time and attention to it at this point anyway so his waiting may be a good thing. I emailed Bob again as Mulligan sensei asked and have yet to receive an answer back. I only hope that life for him improves enough that he can communicate again. Because I've gotten no acknowledgement back from him I feel like I'm running off. In fact, I have no real choice but to go elsewhere as the dojo is going away and I have no idea when he will re-open. That doesn't change the fact that I feel like I'm doing something disrespectful. While I am extremely patient person in general.... waiting around to see what he's going to do isn't good for me or my aikido.

Kim has since joined another dojo closer to his home for saturday classes and plans to join Shodokan for a class during the week. He's not overly serious about aikido but appreciates the benefits it's given him so he wants to continue. Hey, if you see him, no finking on me. He's not aware of this blog.

I will likely join Shodokan this week. I'm not sure when I can come exactly. My wife was excited about all the class times and rattled off like 4 classes I could attend this week. I am going to enjoy the more consistent class time and the shorter commute. I will seriously miss Bob's teaching. Realizing of course I am a beginner still, I've seen maybe 6 other people teach classes and I have to say that learning from Whelan sensei has been a great experience. If he opens a place somewhere I hope to show up a on occassion.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Take a Guess... Go Ahead

Class quasi cancelled. No one was available to teach. Since I didn't receive word of this I went to the dojo as usual. We had the dance instructor who shares the space let us in.

I had us set the dojo up fully with all mats and such. I was guessing that last night was my last night practicing in that space and I wanted to do everything as complete as possible.(on a few nights where it was just Kim and I there is really no reason to set up all the mats).

So it was just Kim and I at it again. We did warm-ups and started rolling. I'm happy to say that my rolling has finally improved a touch. I had about 3 good rolls instead of just 1 good roll. The rest of them stunk. I did a couple of standing rolls and then practiced a couple of backwards rolls which were generally bad. I think I know what I was doing wrong though. Hopefully, I'll get to try that out again sometime soon. One thing though... even my worst roll isn't hurting or jamming anything.

With all the cancellations I really felt the need to go back to basics for a short while. We did a tenkan drill followed by some rowing exercises to help get a feeling for moving our center.

We spent a good amount of time doing tsuki kotegaeshi. Once I showed Kim the movements a couple times it all came back to him. He was doing particularly well on his left side.

After this we did some tenchinage. This would have been a particularly good time to have an experienced instructor around. Things went generally well. My biggest problem with this technique has always been keeping good extension. I was letting my elbows bend/collapse so I worked on stopping that from happening. In fact, if you don't keep good extension uke can become nage if he so desires. You're putting yourself in a position that you want uke to be in.

End of the night we did suwari waza kokyuho. It's been a bit since we did this so I figured it would be a good warm down. Kim showed me something that Francesca used to do with this. If she were attacking she would immediately try and pin your hands down low. The way to get out of this using as little muscle as possible was to drop your elbow lifting your arms up and turn your palms towards you. Well.... I'm not doing a good job describing it.

DAPI: 1 (Got a great nights sleep)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Class Cancelled

This has been several in a row at this point. I expect this trend to continue till the end of the month. After that.... I will be forced into a decision I'm guessing. I may have no other option than to inflict myself on you Shodokan folk. So... all of you can bounce me around on a regular basis. My wife feels as though that she can now accomodate somewhat for the schedule not being as good.

Friday, February 17, 2006

We Worked Out At Least

Kim and I show up to an empty dojo. My understanding was that Francesca was supposed to show up to teach but she obviously got hung up somewhere along the way. So it was just Kim and I. We set up and bowed in.

We went through a normal warm up and started with a few breakfalls. Then we moved on to rolls. I did my usual blah rolls with maybe one good one.

We started with the same technique that I loved that Matt showed us where.... Nage is attacked from behind. Uke holds his arms from behind. Nage takes rear foot and steps out... then back again fitting into uke and sweeping the arms back, then sweeping arms over in a circle, we pivot our hips 180 degrees to complete the throw. We did a few of these.

After that we just moved on to ikkyo. Since we both do this decently at this point I figured this to be an easy review. I worked on my timing and getting full extension. I noticed on the ura version Kim had a tendency to do nothing with the hand holding the wrist and would just strong arm me around with the other hand. I pointed out to him that he should lead with the hand holding the wrist. That he doesn't have to use nearly as much strength to get the same results. That seemed to look/feel better to me after he made the change.

During one of the times as uke where I was down but not all the way, he was going to pull "the 3-legged table" to get me down the rest of the way. Problem is he stood in place and shoved his arms to pull me. I sugested that he wanted to keep his hands in front of his center and move his feet to pull me off balance. Then I had him practice leading/moving me around the mat while I was doubled over in an ikkyo. I wanted him to concentrate on moving me around with his center. I also made sure he didn't bend over me quite so much. He needed to stay a little more upright.

At the end of the night since I have no amazing knowledge to impart I stuck with something simple. It's only been recent that Kim is able to sit in seiza at all. Through practice and stretching he is now able to sit in seiza for brief periods. So since nothing was ever mentioned to him in class I told him to watch how the experienced folks rise and sit from seiza. Always able to grab the sword on your left hip. I figured even if he didn't remember it exactly he may remember that there is some specific way he's supposed to be doing it.

We then bowed out and cleaned up.

DAPI: 1 (Not even a bruise today, we must have been doing something wrong)
Wrist is 99.9% healed at this point too.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Class cancelled yet again. Anyone who could teach had that nasty stomach bug that I got over last week.

Bummer. Hope everyone feels better.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Class Cancelled

Considering how tired my wife was..... it was actually not a bad thing for me to stay home tonight to help out.

The evening ended with news of my 99 year old grandmother passing. One might think that it's no big surprise at that age but she looked fine a week or two back. There is a piece of me that's having trouble digesting the news. A seemingly permanent fixture of my life is now gone.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Different Twist On Irimi For Me

Last nights class was fun. We did a few breakfalls and went right on to rolling. I did my usual which means mostly blah rolls with a good one once in a while. I was even able to do the standing roll that I had trouble with last class. Also, when it came time to do a more advanced roll, Matt suggested that I do the easier version for now.

Now on to the good stuff.... The irimi start like this.... uke does a tsuki strike, nage steps back and grabs with crosshand and does something that reminds me of shihonage. You twist the arm so that ukes shoulder is to you. Then you step in and sort of rotate your hips while leading his head up and over for the throw. That part sort of remind me of the heaven part of tenchinage.

Then at one point we did a throw I did a couple weeks back. This is awesome. I just love this one. It's a two hand grab from behind. You have to make sure that you keep your arms in the correct position. Then.... step forward with your back foot.... and then step back with your same foot sort of ducking under and rotate your hips and do the heaven part of tenchinage again. So your arms have to be moving in sort of a circle too. For this technique I had been paired up with Greg. At one point he gave a little resistance to show I was doing something wrong. But I realized I was mostly ok. So... I turned my palm to the horizontal and for some reason that totally changed how it felt to me. I was able to sweep my hand over and around with no problem and put him on the mat by turning my hips. Now... that isn't how I'm supposed to do the technique probably but I think the solution for the resistance was pretty effective. I'm not really ki fruity but it really had a ki feeling to it because it didn't require much strength on my part.

I had another moment of instinctive defensiveness. Nathan was performing a techinique and I was uke. He did the throw but was so off balance that he sort of fell over on top of me. He had the good sense to shift his weight forward trying to miss me. I had the immediate reaction of sort of making a table with my arms bent at the elbows and started to deflect the force and sort of threw him over my head. I didn't try to stop him.... just deflect him, giving him more energy to end up behind my head. That was nice. Neither one of us was hurt. He made a comment that it was a very nice *insert judo term here* something or other.

DAPI: 5 (Wrist pain)
(Got my wrist twisted too hard on one of the techniques. Ibuprofin is helping. Should be fine in a couple days)

Monday, February 06, 2006

My First Actual Unpleasant Class

At the beginning of every class Matt has had us rolling. Good practice. Slowly... I've been coming along class after class where I can do a decent roll from a kneeling position. Other rolls either work or they don't.

Matt wanted to have a rolling class Thursday night. Basically he wants us rolling from being thrown from a technique. So we do a couple and I have major problems trying this. Rather than practicing rolling more, Matt chooses to change the technique. This of course didn't help... so we change technique again. Now... I'm expected to roll dynamically from a standing position. At this point I'm thinking this is absurd and point out to Matt that we hadn't even done standing rolls that day from a static position. So we do maybe two rolls. Mine are horrible and he again tells us to do the technique. I'm thinking this is a bad idea but I'll always try. So now I try and crush my shoulder. Although I wasn't in agony or anything I know when I'm done. So.... rolling was over for me for the evening. I have no desire to go through 3 weeks of rib pain again. I can get away with this because Matt is not Sensei. Although I'm guessing Sensei would see my problem and most likely go back to basics. Beating a dead horse isn't always the answer.

It's not Matt's fault that I can't roll well during a technique. I just found it frustrating that he didn't realize that we were going from bad to worse. I always do a technique if asked but I knew from the beginning that I wasn't ready for it yet. It's only recently that I've been rolling well at all. Frankly, I think a lot of my problem is mental because once I crush my shoulder like I did, I couldn't even come close to doing a roll.

Now... when we did a rolling class at Shodokan, although I nailed my self a bunch of times it was somehow less frustrating.... maybe because at that point I wasn't doing any rolls correctly so my failing to roll well didn't bother me as much. Now that I'm getting a few good ones on once in a while I think I'm expecting to do better.

How is it that rolling is such a problem for me? This is starting to get me down. I can do so many things fairly well for my level but I just can't roll well. Something that beginners work out in their first 8 weeks is eluding me.

I'm writing this 4 days later and I'm still bummed about it. My mental outlook is poor.

DAPI:1 (Felt fine the next day)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I Love Endorphins

We started off doing some irminage. Matt thought we had that down well enough that we moved on rather quickly and before I knew it..... it became Nikkyo night. We practiced several things we had done in the past. My favorite version is when uke grabs nage's collar. All you have to do is a crosshand grab and get a Z by bending the elbow.

Kim was doing these fairly well. These techniques I didn't give him any leeway at all. When I was going to the mat it's because he put me there. He had some trouble pinning me with nikkyo as I am apparently flexible enough to just lie there comfortably. I had him raise my arm above my head to feel the pin. During one of the quick grab techniques, I was even able to hold my position for a few seconds until he increased pressure and I inevitibly had to tap out. I sort of just breathed through it.

I was so jazzed up when I got home my wife was grinning.

My knee is a little touchy today for some reason. I don't know when I strained it but it feels like a tendon or something is loose. Hopefully this will heal up fast. I've never had knee problems before and I don't really want to start. It's almost like it's "giving out" with me just walking around (like maybe it wants to hyperextend).

Wrists feel great.

DAPI: 3 (Knee is fine most of the time)
Day After Pain Index