Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Friday class and Monday

Couldn't go to Salem's first Monday class. I couldn't make the 6pm start time. Disappointing but out of my control.

I did make it to Monday night at Beverly. Since it is still fresh in my mind. Matt taught. We worked on kotagaeshi and nikkyo variations. We also did a kokyunage which I need work with more.

We also did a little yonkyo. Just a tiny, bit of yonkyo left in my arms today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What a Great Monday Night

I managed to get two classes in Monday night. I like to get two in a row in whenever I can. Both classes were excellent.

First class in Salem was interesting. We did a good amount of suwari waza. I found the iriminage almost easy to do which means I'm probably not noticing my mistakes. I found doing the armbar easier on my leg. This is what was being taught. A couple of times I tried to do it across my center and bring it forward for the armbar. It seemed harder for me to do.

We actually had an injury in Salem. This is relatively rare. I mean, everyone gets a pulled muscle or bruise once in a while but it's not often a student has to sit down and rest something. This particular student had a history of hyperextending his knee. He tried to take an ukemi on the left when nage was throwing towards the right. He ended up passing left and partly over nage but his body was twisted a bit and he couldn't take the forward roll he was comfortable with. He fell kind of sideways. He had a look of discomfort on his face and when he tried to get up, it was with great pain and effort. A good number of people were watching him for a few seconds and sort of just stood there. I reacted first and moved to him to support his weight so he wouldn't have to fall or step with the injured leg. After that, people sort of snapped out of it and someone else came over to help me get him off the mat and into a chair. She may have been headed there anyway but I asked one of the other students to fetch an ice pack.

He sat there for the class just letting the knee and leg rest. I'm wondering how long it will be before he's able to come back to the mat. Something like that can be easily annoying for a couple weeks or longer depending on how much he tweaked it. I guess since he's done it before he's sort of used to that kind of injury at least.

After he was settled in I went back to the line to practice. The interesting part about that line though was that I could have used it later in Beverly. It was a 2 hand collar grab from the front, nage would do a tenkan on uke's forward foot while using your arm and move/extend forward. When Serge(our blind student) had his turn as nage, I grabbed him aggresively and he smiled. I told him it was me (so he knew he could throw harder if he liked). He did the technique so well, I had to do a breakfall. I landed fairly well and even was able to continue the ukemi after the fall to roll to my other side and come up in a ready posture.

Not related to aikido or anything but this reminds me of a story. While in college, my roomate had some friends come up. One friend was his partner for a landscaping business he ran at home. He and his friends were in our apartment for 10 minutes, cracked open their first beer when the landscaper friend decides he needs to sit down....... on our glass table. He of course falls right through and the glass cuts his leg pretty badly. They are all standing around scratching their heads thinking drinking more is the solution, so I go to my room and grab a small clean towel and bandage for him to apply pressure on it. It was soaking through the bandage... through the towel and it still didn't register to these guys that this needs stitches. So I tell the guy to keep pressure on it while I drive him to the local emergency room. As soon as they saw the amount of blood, he was fast-tracked, got a bunch of stictches and headed back to the apartment to continue where he left off. Certainly not life threatening but how much do you want to bleed.... really.

Come to think of it, I've also seen a knife wound to someones hand(nasty slice) because the place I worked at got robbed. I spent time applying pressure on that one too waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Interesting thing is... the local newspaper beat the police and the ambulance to our theater.

Anyway... enough of my mind wandering... back to aikido....

Also in Salem I had John for nikkyo practice. The problem I have with John is that he is a huge, strong, inflexible guy. he doesn't really do smooth ukemi. He just can't get to the ground easily.

So if you are trying to do a nikkyo ura. The first problem I had was that I would get the arm, do nikkyo and try to take him around in a tenkan. At this point he would straight arm you and turn his back to you. Now, I know that in a defense situation he's just offerring me lots of tempting targets but I really want to try and figure out how to move someone that resistant to where I want him to go. So I feel like I'm left with two choices. Either make due with what he gives me (apply pressue to the elbow, etc), or push, off balance him, and move fast enough so that he doesn't attempt to immediately regain balance. Of course if I do that, he will most likely take a hard, not so smooth fall. So, I've been making due rather than hurt him.

Later on we had a hip throw to practice. At one point he started resisting me just to mess with me. So, I put a light nikkyo on him to get him down just a bit, and then let him up. As he was coming up I used that up motion of his to do the hip throw. Definitely a tough guy to work with at times. I do like it once in a while. Someone has to keep you honest. One thing that was mentioned by Bob in this class that stuck with me. He spoke about leaving some space between you and uke so he is falling towards you for the hip through. I was aware I wanted that motion. It didn't occur to me that it's easier to get if you are not right next to uke. A little space is a good thing.

Afterwards, I headed off to Beverly for a class. We focused on rondori. This is actually only the second time I've ever specifically practiced this in Beverly. The first time was just one brief exercise.

Mike started us out just learning how to slip past attacks. We practiced getting past shomen, yokomen and tsuki strikes. He wanted us to start with the basics. Then we all got on the mat and one person in the middle tried to get past his attacker, staying in his blind spot and reengaging or moving on at a good clip away to face someone else.
After this he added the beginnings of a technique and had us practice this, with the suggestion that we use the first exercise if we get stuck at the edge of the mat or even worse, in a corner.

After this we moved on to trying to do techniques while trying to stay out of harms way. A few of us would have taken shots to the back or head had this been real. I cornered myself against the mat at one point. Salem has done rondori practice. For a while we were doing quite a bit of it and I even had a class or two where I felt I did ok at it. At Beverly, for some reason I was totally lost for a technique. I couldn't really think of anything to do at that pace so I mostly just slipped past people as best I could. There was one moment when Jim grabbed my collar with two hands from the front. Where the heck did that line technique go from 2 hours before I have no idea. I seemed to remember a class where you could wrap an arm around uke's two arms and throw him but I couldn't do it. I think I would have been better off to either do a kokyunage or ignore his second hand and go for a quick nikkyo. Easy to come up with ideas 2 days later.

I will say this for myself though. There were more people on the mat then I am used to having to keep track of and the pace was a little quicker than what I've done before. So, I'm not overly disappointed. I did well enough and I had fun.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Mat Wasn't Hard

The weather is finally turning warmer. We've reached a point that the mat isn't hard from the cold. Sundays are really turning out to be interesting. Peter has stepped the class up a bit.

Today we worked on shihonage breakfalls again which was great. We also did breakfall practice during the ukemi practice.

We covered kaitenage which is great because even though this is a relatively simple technique, I need lots of practice with it. We did a lot of throws today. Not much in the way of controls. This made for a very dynamic class.

After class I took a look at Kim's ukemi for a bit. For some reason he said when he takes ukemi for a kotagaeshi it hurt his knee quite a bit. I was puzzled by this as I don't hit my knee at all. He said breakfalling was easier on his knee. So we looked at the ukemi for it for a few minutes after class. I had no idea what I did for just 'falling down' without a breakfall. Kim was coming straight down to one knee which is why it hurt his knees. We looked at what I was doing. I allow myself to be put off balance by the technique and apparently I do a sort of side break fall without the slap. I just roll down on my shin/leg/hip. No impact to the knee at all. So... for good or bad Kim was trying to do it that way. Then we spoke briefly about the breakfall version.

My wife's relatives are in town which gives me a break. Good chance I can make the first class in Salem tomorrow night.

The latest change in my classes... I noticed I started paying more attention to technique again instead of ukemi. Trying real hard to get kazushi.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Oohhh... That's What We're Doing

We started with a simple exercise of 2 hand grab, tenkan, j-step, atemi, go under the arm and project uke out and down. There is a guy who shows up now again. His name is ??Greg??. I haven't seen ??Greg?? for a while. He grabbed me after the demo and he really focused tons on moving me with his center.

One technique we did was ikkyo. My partner was one of the new folks. He was getting the ikkyo more or less right. He was messing up the beginning a bit. 2 hand grab, move uke around with a tenkan, j-step. Rather than dropping his elbow and moving me around. He was leaving the whole arm down and tried dragging me around. I was wondering if he'd pick it up from me. He didn't but after a few rounds, Alan came over and gave him a correction.

The last technique of the night, Alan asked me to help demo. I actually had no idea what he was going to do. 2 hand grab again. He brings me around does a j-step and before I realize what's going on I'm in the middle of a hip throw. Because I was caught off-guard I didn't think to put my hand on him to help myself. I did however do a textbook fall. It was quite comfortable. After that I started putting my arm where it belongs so he can pull me up at the end.

After the demo Kim made a beeline for me. I guess he prefers the known evil of my hip throws to someone random. This is mixed for sure. Kim has bad knees.... knows he has bad knees... knows he's supposed to keep his feet together but can't. As a result, Kim doesn't give you a hip to go over. He hauls you over his back. So the throw is higher. He also has a tendency to forget to let go of your slap hand. He hung on to it at least a half dozen times.

Great class. Nice to get back on the mat. I was disappointed class was over actually. I could have kept going.

After class I grabbed this guy Eric. Eric wants to go for his 4th kyu test soon. So we went through the whole test together. He remembered most of it which is good because I guess he's been away for a while.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Couldn't Go Sunday Morning. Probably Can't Go Monday Either

I had an unveiling to go to. After a relative dies you come back in a year and 'unveil' the headstone. There is a brief ceremony.... smack dab in the middle of Sunday's aikido class.

Priorities for this month have been killing my training schedule. It will get better I'm hoping. There is no hope of my getting to Monday's class in Salem. There is a chance I'd get to Beverly's late class but it's unlikely. My parents are in town for just a couple of more days and want to see me that night.

As I've said in previous posts.... family comittments are really hammering me right now.

What stinks the most about it is that Aikido is one of the things that de-stresses me. I am a generally calm person in general but practicing makes it such that I can stand a tornado of stress and just sit in the calm center.

Friday, April 11, 2008

:( No Aikido Friday Night

I couldn't make the early class tonight. Very sad indeed.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Monday Night

I was needed at home once again so I couldn't make it to Salem's 6pm class. I did however make it to the late Beverly class.

Mike stretched us out and had us doing ukemi. For this particular class he had us doing Ikkyo, Nikkyo, and then Sankyo.

It was nice to practice these. I worked on my timing and tried to figure out if I could get my hips involved in any of this. I can't say why but I love nikkyo and sankyo. For the Sankyo, I think Alan noticed last Friday that I let myself get next to uke instead of moving down in front of him.
I've seen different sankyo's. In both Salem and Beverly (no surprise here) they both teach that you keep uke's upper arm sort of parallel to the mat with the elbow at a 90 degree angle, and you use it as a lever to help get uke moving where you want. You retreat in front of uke and go down with him(make sure uke is going down first though).

For the nikkyo I was doing a fairly good job of finding it. There was a class in Beverly a while back where I did an "aha!". This was after seeing Mike demo it again. Ever since I now at least understand the geometry on how to get a good nikkyo without resorting to huge movements.

Hopefully I'll be able to catch the early class in Salem this week.

Sunday Morning

Playing alittle catchup with the post here....

Sunday morning was VERY different. The past few months of sundays we worked on a standard set of techniques from different attacks and openings.

This Sunday was very different. Actually, I noticed the instructor looked a little more warmed up that morning during stretches even. I noticed it but didn't think much of it. Then we changed up the ukemi warmup practice a bit. I would call it a little more rigorous.

Then we went on to breakfall practice. We were practicing falling out of shihonage. To make life easier, we did it from hanme handache. I did a few of these with no problems and then for some odd reason, Kim started to throw me funny. This made the fall a little more difficult to do. Sometimes he thinks he's helping when he isn't. He should just do the technique.

After that we moved on. The set of techniques included kaitenage which I need practice with. That throw that's sort of like an otoshi of some kind. We did lots of more unusual stuff for a Sunday. I can't say I did everything well but it was nice to shake things up a bit.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Gosh... I'm Spoiled. 3rd Kyu Techniques

We did a few 3rd kyu techniques tonight. Suwari waza nikkyo I had a clue about but got some good practice in. yokomenuchi kotagaeshi... same thing really. For some reason the hand change is a lot more natural than it used to be. We also did yokomenuchi iriminage so I was able to work on that a bit. A lot of these techniques I think I just need some time to work the kinks out.

The last technique however... hanmi handache kaitenage. I haven't done this in a real long time. I'm curious how the standing version is done for soto.... or is that uchi....

I got home to find my wife on the couch after having fallen down the stairs. She was banged up pretty bad and she was telling me how bad a job she did falling (she doesn't practice aikido). I asked her if she hit her head and she said no. I told her she did a great job falling. I'm pretty sure nothing is broken but she banged herself up pretty bad.

My DAPI: 1
Wife DAPI: 7