Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Managed To Improve Something

Went to class Monday night in Beverly. We started with some basic tenkan practice. We added in some footwork (stepping off the line) and sword cut motions. Eventually this led to some shihonage practice.

After a bit of this Mike had Diana and I crank it up a notch. He had us use a more dynamic attack and a breakfall for the ukemi. This is the first class I think where I've done a full set of shihonage breakfalls from a standing position. I had done lots from hanme handache on Sunday morning in Peter's class. For the most part I was comfortable with it.

I worked on my ukemi and as nage I tried to get nice and low without bending over. I'm not sure how successful I was. I hardly ever catch myself bending over when I do it.

Also in the class we did the 5th kyu kokyuho. I managed to get myself to be more stable. I actually improved at this as I practiced it.

Tonight I worked a little bit with my bokken at home. I wanted to get the simple sequence that I struggled with so much while I was in Baltimore. I smoothed it out a bit. I'm curious to see what happens if I try it again in a couple of days. Will it still be smoothed out or back to being a mess?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Was On Vacation

I headed down to Baltimore for a little while. Since I knew I would be down there I decided to find a dojo and take a class down there. I ended up at Baltimore Aikido.

http://baltimoreaikido.com/

I was curious to see if there would be many differences in the practice since they would be influenced by different shihan.

I stayed for two classes in a row. We started with back stretches, moved on to a rolling exercise where nage sort of has two unbendable arms out and windmills uke as you move (trying to put some hip into it).

We also did something very similar to a waki gatame but instead of focusing on the elbow (which is what I've done in the past) nage seems to be more focused on the shoulder. Nage ends up in a stable, sprawled position lying on top of uke and the mat. I wasn't sure how to apply pressure to uke for this one.

We did a shihonage that I've done in classes before where the head goes down as you rotate around (uke's elbow at one point is over the shoulder for a possible armbar). Continue around and you get a nice shihonage.

Bokken were brought out where I wrestled with a simple exercise. It took the entire period for me to even come close to getting it right. It was a simple blending with the attack, step offline and then cut uke. I think I need to pick my bokken up more at home.

We did some other stuff. One of the cooler exercises we did was a cross hand grab. Nage would turn his palm up and affect uke in cool ways.

I had an absolute blast in the class. I can only hope I get back again.

Check out their web page and head down for a class if you can.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another Look At Tenchinage

I've had bunches of all great classes in the past few weeks. Tonight I noticed something I hadn't seen before.

We were doing tenchinage. After class I had a quick conversation with Mike about it to sort of confirm what I saw. I didn't have a chance to experiment with it in practice.

Over time, I thought I saw tenchinage one way.... then another. Now, I noticed something else. The heaven hand I always thought snaked it's way up close to uke. I did this in some attempt to get around any possible resistance uke was giving. What Mike was doing instead tonight was cool. He did a similar motion but drew uke forward a little. This has the effect that when uke is drawn back with the earth hand his balance is already broken. Uke ends up in a position where
he is leaning backwards already.

The closest feeling I can think of is when I've done a tenkan version of tenchinage. I've brought uke around and as uke comes foward you can take advantage of that motion. This is just like that but without the tenkan.

Now the scary thing is that at times I have a pretty good memory. I specifically remember seeing Mike do this the same way before. I just never noticed the heaven hand doing it's thing.

Next time I hit the mat I'm going to play with this a little to see if what I saw I can put into practice.