Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Had Fun WIth It

One of the more interesting exercises we did in Salem on Monday was just doing a little bit of freestyle with a partner. A lot of the practice was trying to get us to flow from one technique to another. So what we were supposed to be doing is use a particular entry to move out of the way for a yokomen strike and then uke is supposed to attack again in whatever way they felt like. Nage was allowed to respond in any way they felt like.

I tried to mix it up a bit, kotagaeshi, shinhonage (even from tsuki), kaitenage just came up more than a couple of times. I tried not to plan the response but to just react to the attack.

So more than a few times I ended up with uke in an ikkyo after the second attack. I turned this into nikkyo, sankyo, even an udegarami. I ended up with a sumi otoshi at one point. I was even thinking of doing a yonkyo but held off until my partner suggested it first by trying it. He didn't quite get it on me. I was thrilled to give it a shot as it's only been recent that I've been able to get the nerve at all. I did one on each arm on my partner for my turn and then did something else. To repeat my instructors, a little yonkyo goes a long way. I know I got one side better than the other because he mentioned after class that one side still hurt.

The end of class had Bob speaking about the importance of intensity in one's practice.

After sweeping up, I stayed for a few minutes to help go through the 4th kyu test requirements with one of the students. He actually won't have enough hours to test at the end of March but wanted to go over it anyway so I was happy to help.


After this... I headed off to Beverly. It was a relatively light night at Beverly. We did line work the whole time. Really trying to get the movements correct. Bringing uke of balance just right so the throw is easier. Somehow I ended up at the front of the line so I got to watch it one time through before my turn. I only did so-so. I would have loved to go tonight. My understanding is that they are doing some partner exercises with the jo.

One other thing of note. Kim asked me to uke for him for the test at the end of next month. I told him I would be there. Already cleared it with the wife. It's the least I can do for my old practice partner. I'm curious to see how he'll do. His knees aren't in very good shape and there is some suwari waza for that test. I'd like to suggest to him that he focuses on maintaining control of uke. Even if you can't move around too well, you can move around some and show control of your partner.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

What a Ride

We had a class maybe a week and a half ago that made me smile. I got Kim as a partner and were doing koshinage. I thought back to our beginnings in the small dojo in Gloucester. We started out together with my ukemi being the absolute worst and Kim being unable to keep a technique in his head for longer than 10 minutes.

I was wondering if Bob would ever conceive of the day that Kim and I would be hip throwing each other.

I remember I spent a large amount of my time worried that I would hurt him. I'm not sure what changed but I'm less worried now. Some of it is that I know what he can handle. I am also more able to trust most of my partners(not the new folks) to take care of themselves now.

It Seemed Colder Than Usual

Sunday mornings always start off feeling fairly cool in dojo. The mat is a little harder, our muscles and tendons a little tighter. It's on these mornings that it's even more important to warm up a bit and then stretch out a little extra.

In contrast to Friday nights 20 people class, we had 4 students show today. A nice mix though. A 5th kyu, myself, and too god knows what kyu's. These two guys have been around quite a while.

Speaking of old students.... Friday night I saw a guy on the mat I didn't immediately recognize. He looked familiar to me. After a few minutes, I realized who it was. When I first came to Shodokan about 2 years ago, this guy used to practice. I loved working with him. I remember him being excellent, and I tended to improve just being his uke. The reason I didn't recognize him immediately (aside from the two years) is he had a full head of hair. When last I saw him he had short/almost no hair. I believe his name is Chris.

Today's practice had a lot of yokomen strikes. We did several versions of kotagaeshi, udekiminage, kaitenage. The first kotagaeshi we had I had this one guy for my partner (not the one mentioned above. I could never figure this guy out. I think he's like a 1st kyu. He almost never lets me feel his technique. He always eases up to a point where you almost can't tell he's there. He totally disappears). Gentle is nice but if I can't feel the technique I can only benefit from it in a limited way. I don't know if he practices this way for everyone or just maybe in the 'regular' classes. I did a breakfall out of his first technique (to practice ukemi) and he made some comment about it being too early for breakfalls. No such thing in my mind. In fact, as soon as he said it I flashed to a quote I think was in a Dune book (Frank Herbert, yes we all read them at one point). Something about being in the mood is irrelevant when it comes to fighting. I still can learn from him but I would prefer it if he would apply more and worry less.

At the end of class we were allowed to do a little freestyle, respond to the attack with your partner any way you like. He limited the beginning to a tensheen so the first motion would be predictable. I tried a couple of things. when the instructor looked at me and said, "How about a sankyo". Oh Goodie !! I didn't think of that. After the yokomen and my step off line I started going under uke's arm(thinking I could get there with an atemi). After class I was wondering if maybe bringing uke's arm up and back down into an ikkyo, then change to a sankyo would give me more control. In any event the first sankyo I did was a little too strong. I had my uke dancing and tapping like crazy. You can usually feel when the slack is taken out of a joint. I have to figure out if he has sensitive wrists or I'm just killing people. I didn't think I had him that bad.

During class I noticed some things I was doing wrong and attempted to make some improvements. For the most part I was spending a lot of time trying to marry my center to the technique. Maybe I'll focus on that for a while and see where it gets me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm Back

I went to class tonight. Tonight was a lot of grabbing attacks. We did udekiminage, shihonage, iriminage, sankyo, nikkyo, and a few other exercises.

During the iriminage Kim noticed something about my hand position and asked about it after class. He said... I do that too. Why do we do that? I told him... it's because that was what we learned when we started in the gloucester dojo. I'd like to think that, this is also what was being taught at the time but seeing as it was my first 6 months of aikido at that stage, who knows.

I worked with Mark for the sankyo. Big guy but for some reason he never really gets a good sankyo yet, and what he does have, he lets go totally as soon as any movement is started.

For nikkyo, I worked with Serge. His technique is very strong. I had to really watch myself with him. He did go through a phase a while back of taking it easy on his partners but I think this has passed. I was a willing participant in it all and did fine but later on he did something to Kim that had him verbally crying uncle.

Not much else for this class. It was fairly tame(its a shorter class only an hour). Made me feel real good though. I missed a few classes. It's good to get back on the mat.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pears Are Obviously Bad For You

I went to class Friday night feeling fine. Somewhere in the middle of class I felt kind of nauseous. I asked the sensei if I could sit down for a bit to rest.

I just assumed I was somehow having a wimpy moment. It never even occurred to me that I was sick. It came on so sudden. The class was basically designed to help us practice breakfalls. Kotageashi, shihonage, sumi-otoshi. I had people asking me to join in but I just couldn't. So, I sat and watched.

I headed home, took a shower, got comfortable, and.... barfed. I felt tons better, thought I was cured as I figured I just ate something bad. Since I was craving sugar some, I grabbed a pear and ate it, then sat down for a little while. Then I got up to .... go barf up the pear.

At this point my wife, asked with amazement if I really ate something. At this point even I was willing to admit I had something. I spent the entire weekend hiding from my children drinking a few sips of water once in a while to keep hydrated. I had chills and probably a fever. Some kind of stomach bug.

This all started Friday night. It is now Monday night. I skipped Sunday mornings class and tonight. I did feel well enough to go but my stomach is still a touch swirly and I'm just plain tired.

I'll try to make it to class tomorrow night.

What's all this got to with aikido.... well not much I guess other than to log the fact that I missed a couple of classes.

There are a couple things I've noticed though. My basic personality is so easy going, that even while getting sick with the worst wrenches of my gut.... I was still in a relatively good mood. You don't have to like getting sick.... it's just part of the process.

I can't say the weekend was fun but it really makes you appreciate the days you feel good. Which for me is almost all of the time.