Friday, June 29, 2007

DAPI and The Skinned Knee

When I first started keeping this blog I wanted to put down my thoughts and feelings so that I could go back and remember what I had done and where I had come from. Putting a nice face on it...... When I go back and look at some of my posts I can see how much I have learned since I started. At times I have the urge to purge many of my old posts but I resist as they have been educational to me and perhaps they will be to others as well.

Anyway, I started aikido at the age of 40. I was looking for an activity that would challenge my mind as well as allow me to work out. I got more than I bargained for. Being 40 and out of shape I assumed there would be many days or should I say day-afters that would just hurt or ache. While I have had some small injuries, I've only had one or two long lasting ones. The skinned knee was unusual because I hadn't really gotten anything like that in a real long time. I'm thinking at this point of discontinuing the DAPI as most days it is simply just a 1.

Perhaps my ukemi or overall conditioning has improved enough that most days I come out of a class with no problems. So the Day After Pain Index is somewhat meaningless nowadays. If I sustain an injury of any kind I'll mention it.

My current condition..... well... the thumb still is weak after all this time but is stronger. If I try and tuck it in all the way it aches. The skinned knee is healing up nicely.

I expect my next class will be Sunday morning in Salem.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Posts Coming Soon

I haven't quite disappeared off the face of the earth. I am still getting to classes.

In fact.... Monday I made it to two classes.... at two dojos.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Alms..... Alms.....

I managed to get to two classes today. The first was in Salem. This is the first time I've hit a Monday class at Salem in a couple of months. My schedule is slowly returning to normal. It was a hot night, about 85 degrees in the dojo. A large group of about 16 or so people maybe more came tonight.

We did a lot of suwari waza. We did some nikkyo and sankyo. It was a good practice. There were some aspects that I improved on. One of the things I try and do for the sankyo is to apply it as soon as the sankyo grip starts. Don't wait for you to bring uke up. Start twisting immediately. I think I picked this up long ago from Shira. Not surprising I had a bit of trouble for the nikkyo ura version. Standing or kneeling, I have the same problems.

We also did HH Shihonage omote version. This was no problem. I did ok for this I think.

Unfortunately, I somehow ripped a huge patch of skin off of my left knee. It's almost as if I developed a blister and popped it.... but picture it being an oval about 2" across. It was annoying but easily ignored...... until I got home and showered. The water hitting that area hurt like heck. The soap was a treat too. I covered the area with bacitracin and covered it. It'll heal up fine.

Thank goodness the second class wasn't on our knees. Knee or not..... I went to the second class.

The second class was excellent. Mike had us spending a lot of time stretching out which was amazingly welcome after already having the previous class. Stretching out after you've warmed up may be even better than stretching before in some respects. We had partners pushing at our back and such to help and we really focused on doing correct forms for stretching. Too many times we go through the motions without really working. My hamstrings are still tighter than anything so I'm going to do my best to start stretching correctly.

Afterwards we worked on a few techinques.... the two that I remember best was a tsuki strike. Underhand grab as you tenkan and move back with a j step. Turn uke around do a strong atemi to the face and then slide your hand down to the break in the elbow. Meanwhile your other hand that hooked.... slides down to the wrist and twists. one hand on twisted wrist... the other pushing at the elbow and over goes uke.

The other technique I remember was a tao toshi of some kind.... Throw with your center.

DAPI: 2 (skinned knee. It's a 6 when soap hits it.)

Great Jo Work

Class in Beverly. Jim warmed us up and Mike taught the class. I like Mike’s classes. He always has us doing unexpected things. He started us off with some jumping over the jo type stuff that we used to do at Shodokan. I haven’t done this in a while so it was fun.

For whatever reason I pick up on the jo exercises faster than I do normal ones.

Then we did two other jo exercises. One was bait uke to the open side of the jo, thrust it forward some, retract it and thrust it forward again on uke’s other side. As uke, you end up spinning one way and then the other.

Then we did an exercise which essentially is just shihonage with a jo. You bait and then sort of bring it up and over uke. If they continue to hold on then they take a shihonage breakfall. I’ve never done those before. They are less comfortable then other breakfalls for me right now.

Then we did some kokyuho that was based on timing. Give uke a hand but take it away and down forcing them to follow you. Once they get it, bring it up and throwwith a soft relaxed arm.

I really banged myself up last night. I feel pretty good this morning, but at the time, I hit my knee, I somehow hurt my shin, I nailed my shoulder once and a couple of breakfalls I just nearly let my head hit the mat.

I had some help with a couple of those. The techniques Mike was teaching had really advanced ukemi. One in particular was a tai otoshi of some kind where a fellow student put me into a double arm bar and proceeded to attempt to plow my face straight into the mat. Mike said that was terrific in the street but in practice she needed to do it differently so you don’t run out of uke’s. Too bad I was her first subject. I managed to fall without plowing my face in the ground but I clipped my shoulder on this one.


Friday Night / Sunday Morning

Friday night I went to Alan’s class. We did 2…. count em…. 2 techniques. Suwari waza ikkyo, and tsuki nikkyo ura. I needed the nikkyo ura practice.

Sunday morning I went to Salem. I was really stiff starting out. My rolls were horrible. Oddly enough my weeble rolls were smooth.

We did a slew of techniques. The end of which were hip throws. My hip throws improved somewhat. Oh ya…. My sense of humor hasn’t changed. Buddy was my partner. Peter just got through explaining how to do the hip throw, how to let of one arm so uke can use it to slap for the breakfall, and how to grab the other hand to support uke.

Buddy’s first throw. He never let go of my slap hand. This wasn’t much of a problem as I never used to slap effectively anyway. I land well though. So, he does the throw, I land, he still has my slap hand. Buddy, lets go a couple seconds later and I slap with that hand. Then I saw the look of understanding cross his face and he was apologizing like crazy. I’m laughing and even Peter was chuckling a bit.

Also in the class was a few versions of udemikenage and something I can’t remember the name of. You start off with uke down sort of like how ikkyo starts. Here is the weird part…. For sankyo, you’d reach behind uke’s arm to grab his hand…. instead you reach over his arm and grab your own wrist. Then you move in front of uke in a circular motion and lift the while mess up and over. It reminds me of a kotagaeshi in a sense.

After class, one of the guys asked me to help him a bit. He wants to take the 5th kyu test at the end of August. So, we stayed after Sunday morning for 15 minutes and did Ikkyo and iriminage. I figured that working on just a couple techniques each time will help him absorb it better. His ikkyo is fine. His iriminage needed help


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Boy Was I Ever Stiff This Morning

I was woken up last night twice by my son. I never figured what the problem was but I'm guessing he was having unpleasant dreams. This means I didn't get much sleep last night. My legs and back were all stiff. After class as usual I was loosened up but it was tough starting out. If you're ever feeling tired or stiff that's even more of a reason to go to class. I always come out feeling looser and full of energy.

Ukemi practice caught me napping. Peter has a tendency to mix things up a bit. It's a good way to shake complacency out. He'll do two forward rolls from a kneeling position and two standing.... today he alternated between a tenkan/backward roll and a regular backward roll. The other night when I warmed everyone up I experimented a bit with my rolling. I think at times I go over too straight. I tried to go more to my opposite hip. I have to experiment more to figure out what's correct.

throw similar to the one where you start from tenchinage and reverse throwing the other direction by moving your hips.

Yonkyo. I had a lot of trouble getting the grip today for some reason. I asked one of the other students after class to show me how she was doing it. Although she has less experience then me she is very fluid. She was able to duplicate (at least in my mind) the basic movement that I was seeing from the instructor. On the drive home I digested it a bit and for some reason it seems trivial now. I wonder if I indeed had to "figure things out". It seems that muscle memory can be key in these techinques but you can't get the memory if you can't figure out how to even get close.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Made it to Salem Friday Night

The usual instructor Alan had to be somewhere else so Mr. Mulligan taught us.

Once again we are in a sad state of affairs. I was the most experienced person in the room (out of about 10 students) so Mr. Mulligan asked me to warm everyone up. I did an ok job. I probably forgot a stretch or two. For whatever reason I was feeling particularly strong or on balance tonight. There is one stretch we do where you are sort of sitting on one foot while the other is extended very far. Then you switch sides. I've been told by multiple teachers that it's a good idea to keep the foot you are sort of sitting on flat to the floor. This requires some amount of balance. Most of the time I need to put a hand down on the floor. For whatever reason tonight, I was able to easily stretch out perfectly on balance. Not sure if the ki was flowing well today, or I'm just feeling relaxed. Call it what you will. It was kind of neat.

After stretching, I had everyone practicing ukemi width wise in the dojo. No sense everyone picking up bad habits from me.

Mr. Mulligan had us start with tsuki kotagaeshi. He had me come up to demo it with him. I was glad to help. I even got to do a very comfortable breakfall for it. I did fine with this technique. My partner who has been around for maybe 4 months did very well for this. I think he's testing for 5th kyu on the next test. He should do well.

Next up Mr. Mulligan had us doing some shoemenuchi nikkyo omote and ura. I got to help demo again. I've been more fluid with the omote in the past. For some reason my ura version wasn't absolutely terrible for a change. It still needs work though. We kept the same partners throughout the night for some reason. My partner once again did a terrific job. I suspect his omote version of ikkyo is excellent.

The version of nikkyo Mr. Mulligan had us doing was a little different then ones in the past. How to describe it..... He had us bring uke up by sort of doing a floating gokyo. The problem with that is that I don't feel it if all you do is attack the wrist with a straight push. So when I go to do it I had to pay extra attention to my partner to figure out how to do it correctly and how much pressure to apply. You do this by looking at his face and seeing how much it hurts.

The rest of it was... bring the hand to the shoulder as usual.... but rather than stroking the arm, he had us grabbing the hand with two hands and using the body to obtain the angle and bow to nikkyo.

We did some ushiro sankyo after this. Honestly, if I could repeat the class I would. I need help with nikkyo and sankyo ura versions. My sankyo improved.

Then we did a ushiro version of a kokyunage where you sort of spin in place and dive through uke's arms with your head and arm. Then turn your hips the other way and throw.

Mr. Mulligan gave me a few corrections tonight. Such as ... lowering my center for sankyo and such. I think I was getting lazy because my partner was so much taller than I. I didn't need to get low to do the techniques.

As for helping my partner, I usually like to keep my mouth shut and let the instructors do the teaching. The only thing I said to him the whole class was that he was supporting my wrist for the sankyo. I showed him the difference when you grab the wrist and when you don't. When you grab uke's wrist you can't get the torque as easily.

Excellent class. I feel good.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Nikkyo Koshinage Night

What an interesting class. I'd almost descrive it as a very technical class. There were a lot of details.

We started with some warm up ukemi. Then we did some ukemi over a padded object. It was pretty small. We breakfalled over it and did weeble rolls over it. Oddly enough, my weeble rolls improved a bit from this exercise. I was forced to bend way over which made them softer. They weren't all there when I tried to use them during a practice but that's ok.

The koshinage were interesting. There were a few versions. One of the more memorable versions was one where you drew uke in by taking your hand and pushing at the back of their elbow while keeping your other hand on theirs. Basically, using their arm as a lever to get them closer to you. When they were near your hip you could do the throw.

For nikkyo, I've always been able to apply a decent one by getting someone's hand to my shoulder and either stroking the arm, pushing the elbow, bowing, shifting my whole body to obtain a z and applying it, or even using my hand(tegatana) to cut.

This nikkyo was different. It was a floating nikkyo. You basically have the setup similar but the hand is in front of you instead of against you. I only really got this maybe 1 out of 8 tries. You have to really set everything up well for it to be as effective as possible. One of the best parts of that was learning to pay attention to uke's arm. Depending on where it was dictated the most effective way to cut down through uke. If done properly, all you needed was to rotate your hands over and down in a very small motion. When the instructor did it to me, I hit the floor instantly. It was one of the very few nikkyo that actually delivered a sharp pain.

Achilles tendon stretched a bit somehow. Feels ok though.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

He Screwed Up... He Trusted Me !!

I don't think I mentioned this so here goes....

About three weeks ago, Eric watched me take a few koshinage. When Peter asked if he had questions, he raised his hand and said "I'd like to not do that". After some smiles we switched techniques.

A couple weeks later I attended a Sunday at Shodokan with Eric in attendence. Peter gave us koshinage again. This time, Eric felt comfortable enough to take a few lifts without the throw. After a few of these, we switched partners and he asked to do a throw. I was doing pretty well that day overall. I was keeping my knees bent while keeping it low and gave uke lots of hip to work with. Eric took his first koshinage and did fine. It makes me feel good to have helped someone along.

Sunday Morning Cancelled..... I Headed to Beverly

I showed up this morning to Salem. The door was locked and no one was answering the phone. Since I was the only who was waiting I'm assuming there was a notice posted or more likely a verbal cancellation. They could have shouted it to the rafters and I wouldn't have heard it. I haven't been in to Salem since last Saturday and that was a free practice. My current situation hasn't changed much. I hope the regular instructor is ok.

I managed to get over to Beverly for a practice tonight though. We did several versions of iriminage, kotagaeshi, kaitenage, suwari waza shihonage.

I can;t say I was doing particularly well. I did make some small improvement in a couple areas during the class.