Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ok... So It's Been A While

I haven't posted in a while. So much going on right now.

I've probably been to a dozen classes since my last post. Most at Salem and some at Beverly.

The classes that stick out in my mind are the choke class....

Yep. We spent one night just doing choke techniques where poor uke is getting choked. I actually don't mind these too much. A got a few good ones in. The biggest part of these chokes is to get that knuckle right on the neck in the right spot.

Another class that sticks out a bit was the recent Friday night class with Alan. I was lucky enough to get the kendo instructor for a partner. He's absolutely amazing, and his ukemi is so good you can really apply a technique and not have to worry about hurting him. We did some awesome iriminage. We had each other spinning around totally offbalanced the whole time. Some times you can miss things when you go fast. The couple things I was messing up he helped me with. At one point I had him so off balance there was no way for him to get out. In other words, I was doing the technique well at that moment. I also remember doing hip throws that night. I got Eric as a partner which is getting to be a good thing. His hip throws have been improving steadily, and his ukemi has been getting better as well. This particular hip throw was one of the easier ones for me. I spent the whole time trying to make it better.

Another class that sticks out was Monday's class in Beverly. In fact the past couple of Monday nights have been interesting. Lots of tae waza. Lots of otoshi and ogoshi. He's working us towards something. I believe it's called makikomi. I'm guessing that there are many ways to get there but you start off with a close body connection and come down on top of uke (leaving some space if you like their ribs intact) and you are in a dominant position on the ground. More judo than aikido I'm guessing but still fun to learn. Along the way are the slews of otoshi and ogoshi we've done. I can see how easy it is but somehow it isn't percolating 100%. I just don't get down low enough for most of these. I know it... and yet... I am still not fixing it. I'm wondering if this is a lack of concentration on my part. It's one thing when you don't see a problem. It's another when you see it, know what you should be doing, and don't anyway.

Sunday was interesting in that I had a new instructor called Ray (he's actually been around quite a while but hasn't taught in a bit). I haven't seen enough of his aikido yet to tell what his style is all about. I've seen him around a few times over the past couple of years but never on the mat. We were working on controls that day. He kept stressing that uke should never really be comfortable. I love this concept for controls. Particularly sankyo. Uke should feel the control at all times. Never let it loosen.

He kept things kind of light which was ok. It gave me time to work on some things. I'd like to see more of his classes.

My latest efforts are just spending 5 minutes or so on my knees before/after class. I want to be able to move more fluidly on the ground. It's funny. It's so not interesting to most people that you just don't see a lot of youtube video's on it. However, I saw one with a guy speaking Japanese (I think) showing a way of moving around. He was doing it slowly enough to see where he was putting his knees and more importantly, his balance. I've seen a few videos where someone is just cranking around on the floor but no one is showing you how they do it. Now... I can knee walk and tenkan fairly well but not move like that. So... I'm working on this a little. Does it have a practical purpose..... eh... not as much as other things. Still, it's something I've seen and want to learn. This is why I like Aikido, you can spend your life just picking one little thing after another trying to improve something.

After the past couple of Friday/Sunday classes I've been helping Eric still with his test. He actually asked me to uke for him. I'm trying to clear the decks so I can come on a Wednesday for the test.

Wednesday's are near impossible for me. Short of a special occassion, I can't escape for aikido. Lately, I've missed a slew of monday classes at Salem but I've been able to make it to Beverly's later class time. I usually like to do them back to back but I have to help out at home still. At least I'm able to hit the mat for the late class. There are days I wished I worked in town so I could hit Cambridge for a lunchtime class. Think of all the class time I'd get in then!!


At May 23, 2008 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you're training... Shodokan misses you when you've been away

Ray has been training since the mid 70's under Kanai Sensei as well as MIT, and he has been to Japan as well.

Another instructor with more than 20 years teaching experience... he'll be teaching on a regular schedule

At May 23, 2008 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, since he got his blackbelt in 1990 and that was 18 years ago, he did a good job squeezing 20 years worth of teaching into an 18 year span, especially since he hasn't been on the mat for the last 2 years!!!

At May 23, 2008 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm... what type of Aikido training results in such generosity of spirit?

At May 24, 2008 7:39 PM, Blogger Poxbox said...

Well, I'm not totally away from Salem just Monday nights lately. I still make the Sunday morning classes and the Friday night classes.

I miss the training but life is a balance. For now I'll have to settle for classes 3 days a week.

At May 24, 2008 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What type..."
Perhaps the type that does NOT mis-represent facts by being OVERLY generous with them. Nothing against Ray, he's a great guy and would not have exagerated his experience. Just don't hype your story if it's not true.

At May 24, 2008 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and I forgot, your mis-use of the phrase "another instructor with more than 20 years teaching experience..." means there's only 1 instructor there meeting that qualification, and that's Mr. Mulligan. Isn't that correct Mr. 1989?

At May 24, 2008 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As soon as you concern yourself with the 'good' and 'bad' of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weaken and defeat you."

O Sensei

At May 24, 2008 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"good and bad of others..." So truth be damned, huh?

“It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.”
Henry Ward Beecher

At May 25, 2008 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for friendly advice against being "OVERLY generous".

At May 25, 2008 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Poxbox,

How do you feel about two people on either side of the Salem-Beverly split having a pissing match on your blog (over something inconsequential -- sorry - nobody cares exactly what Ray's aikido history is)?

It seems rude to me.

At May 25, 2008 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


…what started out intended as a positive piece of communication which also sought to provide information relative to a statement in the blog, [“Sunday was interesting in that I had a new instructor called Ray (he's actually been around quite a while but hasn't taught in a bit).”] seems to have caused offense.

Sorry... no rudeness was intended.

At May 26, 2008 8:11 AM, Blogger Poxbox said...

Do I mind? Not really.

In general, I keep out of it. I go to all the available classes that I can and I learn aikido.

At May 26, 2008 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


(This is "anonymous #3", by my count.)

I do aikido and read several martial arts blogs because I'm interested in other people's accounts of their training and their thoughts about what they are experiencing and learning during training. I like your blog because it reminds me that I'm not the only one trying to figure out how to do aikido.

Those earlier exchanges seemed out of place to me. Not that disagreeing is bad, just that they hijacked your space for their tiff.

Thanks for sharing your training experiences.


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