Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Class in Salem

It's hard for me to make it to earlier classes during the week cause of the family but I made it a point to get in so I can see if I could sign up for the test. Bob had me fill out the paper work so assuming there are no surprises I guess I'm all set for Wednesday night.

Tonight's class was nice. We went over a few of the test techniques. It just so happens that we hit the ones I was most concerned about. There are a couple that I hadn't done in quite a while. Bob gave me a couple things to tweak which is nice. You can fix a couple of minor things but if you're testing there really isn't time to do major changes. You'll just screw yourself up trying.

I worked with Joanna tonight. We actually made it a point to try to work with each other as we hadn't partnered for a while. I don't know if we just blend well together or her or my aikido's improved but she seemed to move really fluidly. Frankly, I'd love to have her as uke for the test but I'm guessing that they like to see similar height. I already asked Dave anyway and Kim keeps asking if he can uke for me.

Anyway, Joanna and I had a great work out. She said I was one of the people in the dojo that pushes her and that's why she likes to work out with me. Last time we worked together was a Friday night Alan class. I showed her how to protect herself as uke for udekimenage and also showed her how to breakfall out of it.

One thing I just remembered about that night. Joanna did an atemi and actually would have connected with my face were it not for my protecting hand. Even with my hand in place, the strike pushed my hand up into my face some. It was good practice for me to cover up.

The nerve problem in my knee wasn't a huge issue. We did a lot of knee work and for whatever reason I was able tolerate it fine. At first all the knee work was uncomfortable and then for whatever reason I settled in and it became comfortable.

So... at one point I was working with this guy Chris.... he looked at me during the free practice period and said.... could you do a throw of some kind? I said... sure.. I can do something. So he does a yokomen... I bring it down... and what was my reaction? Otoshi. I had the sleeve grabbed well... brought it up.. stepped through and throw.... On a good night I can do those in a relaxed manner. Because we were practicing for a test I didn't go all the way down for the throw but I did lower my center. Don't know where that came from.... it just seemed like the thing to do.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's Otoshi.... Or Is It?

Did a bunch of techniques from yokomen today. Tony has a tendency to capture your arm whenever he gets the chance. It's a holdover from his MANY judo years. The technique was some kind of otoshi. I felt my arm get pulled in, a familiar throw and then he floated me a bit too. It was kind of a neat throw.

We did kotagaeshi, gokyo, udekimenage, and a few others.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I've taken 4 classes since I posted last. I'll try to remember highlights of each one.

Friday, Sensei Mulligan said for this class he wanted to allow Serge to train for his test so rather than a normal class he had him working on his test techniques. The remainder of us paired off and practiced for each of our upcoming tests. April 1 was mentioned as the test date. After class I mentioned my interest in testing. My query was met with some hesitancy for some reason.

Sunday, Peter had us doing responses to tsuki strikes. Then had us do a frestyle of sorts asking us to try and use each one a couple of times. I actually did this fairly well. For good or bad... rather than doing two of these and then two of those, I ended up doing them mixed up. The reason was because of the timing. I would receive an attack, not think too much and respond with what felt right. I didn't plan on doing it this way. Actually, I planned on doing them in pairs so I could keep track. All that goes out the window in a freestyle for me. I suspect this is a good thing though.

Monday, Was able to get to Beverly. Mike had us do some ukemi practice using a jo. We also did some jo techniques that were meant for nage's benefit as well. I don't remember much but we did practice a otoshi and ippo seoi nage.

Friday, this week. I manage to get the kids down to bed and head off to the late class. Mr. Mulligan had us working on what we 've been focusing on the past few classes. Two attackers, each grabbing an arm in various ways. I had mixed success with these. There is one where you bring one arm up, turn and go beneath it to draw both ukes in together, then come down and up and over like a wave to throw them. The biggest problem I have is that I lose connection with the uke on the side for the upper arm (the one you cross under). Uke loses his grip no matter how gently, smoothly I do this.

The issues surrounding the upcoming test had me so distracted that I actually missed two demonstrations last night. This pretty much never happens to me on the mat. I'm usually much more focused on my practice regardless of what else is going on.

I saw a few people scrambling last night to get their paperwork filled out as somehow they were not aware of the date. This is not typical but is part of the baggage that goes along with a move I guess. I doubt I can come Wednesday night at this point which is disappointing as I had enough hours for this test about a year ago. So, I'm a little overdue. I guess I'll be testing in the new dojo when we move.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Good Class For Me

We started with some tenkans, which is becoming a more common exercise at both Salem and Beverly lately. Can't really do too many tenkans. If nothing else, they help get things flowing.

We did our ukemi practice including some shikyo which is good. I still have the spot on my knee which I hit regularly. I've had this from a long time ago. It feels like some nerves got damaged or something because there is now a spot on my knee that when it is pushed on just immediately hurts. I have a feeling it will take many months to get rid of this one. So.... if I do backwards rolls it gets nailed. Makes suwari waza interesting anyway.

We ended up doing yokomenuchi kotagaeshi, tsuki kaitenage, ushiro ryokatori sankyo. Yep. These are all 3rd kyu techniques. They know I have a test coming up and getting to practice these over and over is a major help. Jim even went over a piece of the hanmi handache shihonage I'll do as part of the test as well.

We even did a few of the uchi version of tsuki kaitenage. You need really sticky hands for this one. The key for me was to push uke's arm out with my tegatana. That really helped get my hand in the correct position for the rest of the technique.

Although I still don't feel fully prepared for the test I feel a lot better about it. I'd like the test to look as polished as possible. The move for the Salem dojo has the test date up in air a bit. I'm hoping it gets pushed off a month... but whenever they decide to hold it I will be testing.

My thanks to the Beverly dojo for indulging me. Hopefully the other students took something away from the class as well.

Honestly, I like the techniques involved for this test. They are all a lot of fun. Last night was a blast.

Next up I'll be practicing the kneework for the suwari waza and hanme handache stuff.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Lots of 1 Handed Stuff

We did some one handed kotagaeshi. It was very key to get the arm swinging in a particular way to get the grip correct. You have to stay sticky but allow uke's arm to come between thumb and forefinger. You have to focus on moving with your center quite a bit.

Also we practiced... kaitenage, udekimenage, kokyunage. All very fun.

At the end we even did some Kaeshi waza. Nage starts off attacking uke with a shomen strike, when uke attempts an ikkyo, you keep an unbendable arm of sorts, move around the force and come back with your own ikkyo, kotagaeshi, shihonage... etc. Fun practice.

Friday the 13th Class

For friday the 13th's we do special classes. When things go wrong. The attack could be 'wrong', uke's reaction could be wrong and so forth.

It was a great class. I remember enjoying it. Hopefully, my body remembers what we did because I sure don't.

EDIT: Ok... a few minutes went by and I remember something at least. Towards the end of class, Mr. Mulligan had us doing some kokyunage. Uke holds each arm. You try to get out of it. There were a couple of different ways we tried. I didn't do too bad on them.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Practice Makes Ehhhh....

Kim offerred to meet me after class and go through the next test with me. So I stuck around and we went through it. I really wanted to get to a second class tonight but it's been so long since I went through the whole test that I really couldn't say no to Kim's offer.

Overall, I have to say I'm a mess. Some of my suwari waza footwork needed help. I think I figured out the major problems for most of the techniques. It's been so long since I did most of them. The familiar ones are yokomenuchi kotagaeshi, yokomenuchi iriminage, shomenuchi sankyo, tsuki kaitenage. I've seen these somewhat recently at least. The rest I had to muddle my way through. I was having some hesitation with Kim as well. I started with Kim back in Gloucester. Because I've known Kim for quite a while I've always had trouble with him as my uke. His ukemi is fine but even after all this time I feel like I can't do a technique with him for fear of injuring him. The guy is so stiff it's hard to believe he doesn't get hurt more often. I really need to get over that. He's pretty much the only one that I feel that way with. I mean... when you have a beginner of course you have to be careful but Kim has been around long enough I know his ukemi is good enough and yet I still hesitate with him.

Tonight class was different. Dave had us do ukemi and since he had a little extra time he started a line for tsuki sumi otoshi. After this... Bob grabbed a staff and started class with some staff work. After that we moved to an ushiro attack with a tanto. He first said.... turn around deflect the knife hand and see what you can get. My first attempt I got an ude garame. The second time I came around on the open side. I brought the knife hand across in a word draw like move with my hips back and away from the blade then for whatever reason I reversed it, came under and got a nice sankyo. I wasn't too unhappy with this frestyle movement. I felt as though I had uke and knife under control and I was just reacting to the attack.

After a few minutes Bob had us do a more direct sankyo on the open side and on the other side we did a kotagaeshi.

The test is originally scheduled for end of this month but there is a high chance it will get pushed off a month. That would be quite fine as far as I'm concerned.

A small group of beginners started last week. I haven't gotten to help much as yet. Mr. Mulligan grabbed me tonight to take some simple ukemi for him. I would have been happy to help out more.

I hated missing that second class. Maybe I can catch it next week.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Slept Well Last Night

Took the two Friday night classes. Alan was focusing on doing some freestyle practice within set limits. Such as.... uke always attacks with a particular attack. For the most part I was fine. There was one particular attack that I found harder than the others to deal with. I guess I don't have a "go to" technique as yet for that. I was purposely trying to not plan my reaction. I wanted to react to what I was given. In some ways it's easier to do this... and in other ways harder.

Mr. Mulligan had us learning more about dealing with realistic attacks. After that we worked on a set of ushiro attacks which mostly involved at least a collar grab. I had Buddy for a partner for most of this. He was great. Buddy was very good at entering and shoving me off balance, getting an ikkyo, iriminage. I ended up getting some good techniques as well. We even tried a near full speed nikkyo. I was able to turn around and slap one on with control fairly fast. Hard enough to get uke down... not too hard as to do any real damage to him. The best part about it is that I got a realistic reaction from my uke. When I spun around I got the arm but he straight armed me. You can still do a nikkyo with this but in a sense you have to be even more careful because if you do get it, it can hurt uke lots more.

We then moved on to a little bit of sensitivity training. Instead of just a grab... we worked with a grab and push or... grab and pull. We were trying all sorts of variations on the attack. Grab attempt to turn nage and then punch to the face with the other hand.... this was in my opinion a not too unlikely attack. Buddy dealt with it nicely. I had a couple of interesting reactions. Somehow I got into kaitenage a couple of times..... I also ended up with a throw I don't know the name of.... One way to set it up is to do something like iriminage, except when nage is down, don't let him back up... instead force nage's head to continue along the same circle. You end up grabbing nage by the neck/head and throwing him forward. You support the neck to be nice to uke. It's a real tight feeling ukemi.

After the two classes I got home and I felt great. Whenever I expend that much energy I sleep like a rock. WIsh I could do that more often.

I'm supposed to be testing soon. I have no idea if it's a good idea in terms of preperation. I hadn't been able to go through my test much as yet. Kim has offerred to help me out but I don't know if I can be there during the times he's available to help. I still think I'd pass but I'd like to do better than have it be a mess. This is all assuming our move goes well. There was talk that there is a chance the test will be delayed. I'd be all for that.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Got To A Late Class

The bad weather scared me away from practice Monday night. Luckily I was able to escape Wednesday night after I got the kids to bed.

Jim taught tonight. Ukemi practice has actually been annoying lately. My right knee is tender and backwards rolls still make me twinge. I've tried to adjust for it but it makes my rolls funny.

We started with a Shomenuchi Sankyo. Good practice for me. Diana and I were partners. Jim made a point to point out that you can get uke down where you want by cranking the arm.

We also did a sankyo into a throw. After getting the sankyo turn and move their elbow in a circle. They can roll out or breakfall out of it.

We moved on to a shoulder grab nikkyo. I enjoyed this a lot. I tried different variations. So did Diana. I gave Diana a little resistance. She's so far along that giving feedback on whether she's got the nikkyo or not is useful. She started out just missing it on a couple of the variations. By the end of the class she was crushing me. Very cool. At one point I had to move way in and grabbed around her body to relieve it. Then she asked if she got it or am I just going down. Ahhhh... no... you got it all right!

Rob worked in with us on this. It was really interesting. As uke he moved around a bit causing me to have to move to keep up with him to do the technique. It was nice and flowing. Hopefully this was his intent. Overall, I tried to take it easy on the nikkyo for everyone. It's tough to tell whether you have it sometimes.

Good practice.

Everyone Should Be My Size

Friday night, Mr. Mulligan started us off doing tenkan practice with our partners. Basically... do a wrist grab and nage tenkans. The goal is to move in a relaxed manner with your center to affect uke's balance. Sounds easy and in a sense it is except when it's not. I had done lots of this exercise back in my days at the Gloucester dojo. After a couple I got back into a groove of being very relaxed and stable.

I seem to remember going through different sets of exercises that all depended upon our ability to move correctly. One was interesting because of a difference in body type. My uke had much shorter arms than me. I end up wrapping my arm over and behind theirs and try to force them forward with pressure at their elbow. I had trouble doing this because I couldn't get on uke's elbow.

The end of the night culminated in our choice of three throws. My uke didn't want to be thrown so we just fit in. This made some of it a bit harder in some ways but really I should be able to load him up correctly. I decided to experiment at one point trying to combine the earlier armbar movement to get uke moving so I could get him behind me by my reversing my direction for a throw. In other words... arm bar uke's left arm. Once he's moving, turn and take the elbow and wrist as I turn to my right and throw.

Cool idea but the initial arm bar was so hard for me (short armed uke) that it wasn't smooth. I need to figure out how to get that on a different body type.