Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Awesome Tiredness

I really enjoy doing the double Monday class when I can go. It's been a while since I've been able to do it. After the two classes I sleep like a rock and have a satisfying tiredness. Even today I am somewhat tired but I still have that happiness you get from a good workout.

First class at Shodokan. We warmed up a bit. We had a little extra time so I suggested to our senior student that we do some line techniques to practice ukemi and warm up more. After a few rounds Mr. Mulligan borrowed us and had us working with the new students. He had us doing shihonage omote from a hand grab. My partner for this had obviously practiced some other art at some point. I remember when I saw him last week that he was on the balls of his feet more. He also was more formal than the average student. I spoke to him after class and sure enough he has a tae kwan do background. He was practicing forward rolls on his own after class.

Another pair of beginning students were doing some ki tests. Not something I've seen done at this dojo lots but I have read about them. Not to say that ki isn't mentioned or anything, it's just that I don't ever recall seeing the ki tests being part of the class (aside from unbendable arm). One student was sitting in seiza while the other pushed. This was done after class between two of the newer students. So either one of them read about it, saw it, or has some experience with aikido in a different group.

So, while I was doing shihonage with my partner I attempted to 'teach' just by trying to do the technique correctly. He was watching so I didn't feel the need to speak. It was interesting what parts he was picking up on and what part he was missing. He made some improvement in one or two areas. He was more sticky and was getting the twisting/offbalancing better. He also started keeping his hands in front of his center as he stepped in. He was still missing other things. I tried to stress these once or twice but he wasn't getting it... so I went back to just doing a clean version of the technique. He'll learn eventually. No need to get it 100% right in one class. If you give a new person too many things to think about at once it isn't necessarily a help.

After this Bob moved us back into a line for a few techniques. In the end, we did shihonage, kaitenage, iriminage, kotagaeshi, and udekimenage (not in that order). Bob mentioned a few things for each technique, such as cutting uke's hand away for iriminage before the grab is solidified, mentoning that there is actually a strike available for the udekimenage, and so forth. At the end of class he had us go in a circle and have each person attack and nage respond with each of the techniques we did in class. It's hard still for me sometimes. When I get into a position I want to do a second kotagaeshi or a second iriminage and I'm trying to do one of the others. I need to be able to focus a little more. I'm sort of used to just reacting. This is all well and good but I should be able to demonstrate each of the techniques intentionally. Someday, I will have to. I'm wondering if I'm having trouble with it because I was simply tired and losing focus.

I stuck around for a few minutes to talk to one of the new folks and change a lightbulb. Also, after class I practiced that nasty ukemi Rob did a couple weeks back. Ever since I took his suggestion I don't seem to have any problem with it any more. Basically, it's a backwards roll. Why so hard do you ask? Do it from a seated position. Your sitting on the floor with one leg extended and the other out but with a bend at the knee some. You have no momentum to work with so it's all moving your center and pushing with your feet. The first time I tried it I wasn't pushing with both feet and had trouble rolling. So of course I want to practice it. I did a few of these after class again and had no problems.

After this I hit North Shore Aikido for my second class. Mike was teaching tonight. He started us off with some ukemi practice and some jo work in a line. He spoke of the reasons uke want's to be committed to grabbing the end. You either go for it or you don't. Going for it sort of just gets you (theoretically) pounded on by the guy the holding the jo. At one point Alex was holding the jo, giving me a little lead so I moved in a little but I didn't commit because the lead was only slight, when the lead didn't develop he instead resumed keeping the jo up towards my face forcing me back. He did this a couple of times, once I saw a clear opportunity I went in quickly and grabbed it allowing Alex to do his technique. Good practice, and since I can't predict Alex 100% my being cautious about grabbing the end wasn't fake in any way. I really felt some intent from him. Or at least.... I didn't want to get hit in the face with a jo enough to make me cautious.

During my turn I had an interesting time with Alex as uke. He was tough. Frequently he would slide in more and adjust his feet. I got him to take the step. My timing must have started out pretty good. But then... I screwed up. He came in so deep, he set his weight on that foot hard. I had little room to draw the jo back and put it on his other side for the throw. So, I ended up doing it, feeling every pound as I didn't have his balance.

After the jo work we moved on to an exercise in balance. There are some taped lines around the mat. He wanted us to walk along those lines carefully, placing each foot down and raise the other up at the same time while maintaining our balance. Then he had us on one foot, rotating our body to show we are loose and then place the foot down. Notice I'm using the word 'place'. Stepping should be a deliberate act with you shifting your weight to the other foot in a mindful way.

Man.... you really can find anything on youtube. Ok.... this isn't the walk exactly but it came up as a joke at one point.

As for techniques... what can I remember doing..... It's all a bit of a blur at this point. We did one of my favorites, a yokomen version of an otoshi. It's realtively simple. Timing is important. Step a bit, tenkan out of the way as you continue uke's yokomen swing. The hand on the hand/wrist pulls the arm up a bit to take the slack out, the other hand cuts under the elbow and you can push down for an armbar feeling to roll over uke for the pin... or if you really mean it, you can side step while holding the arm in this fashion.

The last throw was taking uke, making a big circle with the hand and undercutting as you go back to one knee. Peter does a one handed aiki version of this. Mike's version was a little more realistic as there is a grab at one point to enforce the connection.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Technique Uses This?

Ok.... saw these pulled out again at NSA last night...
I'm sure I've been to a bunch of classes that I neglected to write about. One of the more interesting ones that I recall was Mr. Mulligan running a Friday night class at Shodokan where he wanted to experiment a bit with us. He had us doing uchi kaiten a couple of times in a row before doing a technique. Not sure what his reason for doing this was but it was fun to do. After a while I think I got something smooth looking going. Could be he wanted to see if we could put two things together in a row.
Last night's class at NSA was taught by Matt. We did some basic movement exercises. Did some ukemi practice such as falling over a jo...etc.
One technique which is good for larger nage's. You relax, tanshin and pull uke way forward with your center to throw with a hand to the hip. Not sure what you'd call it. Reminds me of some form of maki-otoshi? No idea.
Another cool technique where you start off with a wrist grab, nage breaks the grip if there is one and grabs the wrist as he also grabs the top of uke's arm(gi) with the other hand. You do a tanshin taking uke with you, lift it up and around as you pivot almost wrapping uke around your other side then hip bump out. The motion for uke pretty much keeps uke moving forward the whole time, after the pivot, uke's foot is weighted as nage brings the arm across. For nage... the motion reminds me much like some kind of weapons movement. You sort of gather uke in and thrust him out(extend) as you slide forward. The gathering in starts uke's breakfall, the thrusting forward just floats them out as they fall.
My favorite part of this was we were just practicing the off balancing aspect and I was doing something. Then... Matt called for us to throw and I simply locked up. Had to feel it again before the brain freeze went away.
The last technique was the 2nd kyu ushiro kubishime koshinage. It's been a long time since I did this one. With a few pointers I was able to clean this up a bit. One side felt really great... the other side was just ok to start with but I improved it as I went along. I was figuring out what I was doing different. Eric gave me some feedback as to how he thought it felt. Some koshinage are difficult because of the sprained thumb. I don't have my grip strength back yet on that hand. It's improving though.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Monday At NSA

Couldn't make the first class today as I was needed at home. Ah well. Jim taught. He had us doing some kick defense. Did some of the usual stuff such as bending the leg at the knee or pushing a trapped leg back or up to dump uke. One of the things I tried to focus on was keeping an eye on my uke and tried to use my peripheral vision to watch uke's feet. By watching my partner carefully I was able to predict whether I was going to see a front kick or a roundhouse or whatever. Diana was kind enough to show me a hook kick which totally threw me.

For whatever reason... during one of the falls I tweaked my back. Feels better tonight. I'm guessing within a few days it will be good as new. It feels better now than it did this morning.

After this we did some koshinage. It was a simple enter and throw but I was having a few issues with gripping my partner correctly. One of the things I was doing wrong was that I had one hand high and another low.... turned out that for this technique I needed both hands high. Not a great fall for uke. You don't get your slap hand back right away. It kind of reminded me of a koshinage Rob taught us a month ago or so. For his though, we wrapped uke around nage.

Sunday at NSA

Matt taught. He showed us more stuff he picked up from the Tissier seminar. The short version is that the techniques are similar but where pressure is applied or off balancing may be different. For example... we did a version of ikkyo where rather than having one hand on the wrist and another on the elbow and shoving uke's elbow through his face.... instead we went more to the side with the ikkyo. For ura, instead of bringing the arm to your center and doing your tenkan... you sort of meet uke's strike(assuming shomenuchi) as if going sword to sword and cut uke's arm down as you tenkan. That's the best that I can do to describe it at this point. Maybe after working with it more I can give a better description of the differences.

We did an interesting ukigosh. Uke attacks you end up in a nikkyo but instead of the arm being parallel to the floor you let uke's arm drop down. Now when you get the nikkyo, uke is forced backwards instead of down to the ground. So, you move uke back, get in front of him and do an ukigosh. I had some problems as my partner wasn't giving me anything. So if I didn't do it right, it wasn't going to work at all.

Hmmmm remember doing some shihonage too.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Yep... thats all I have to say.

Yokomenuchi, shomenuchi, tsuki. Iriminage for a whole class. I've been out a week or so. I have no idea if it's all the classes I've been missing lately or me just getting more out of shape but I was sucking wind badly in parts of the class. When you do nothing but iriminage for a whole class you are constantly getting up and down. Good aerobic workout. Maybe if I just do something basic like this for a couple more classes I'll be able to get my wind back.

The only thing notable was my uke doing a tsuki and instead of me just entering behind him I guess I was tired and without thinking much did a tenkan, hooked his arm, pulled him around with an atemi to the face. Since we were focused on iriminage, I then used my arm to bring his up , entered behind him and completed the technique. Alan happened to be watching at that moment and liked it enough that he had us all do that one next. Funny.

At one point Sam and I were working on offbalancing uke so that minimum strength is needed to send him down to the mat. Good practice for both nage and uke.

We did a freestyle at the end of class where we were supposed to answer any attack with an iriminage.

Quite a while ago I landed on my thumb and sprained it. It's gotten so much better that I actually have some strength in it now. I purposely work it a little during the day and stretch it gently to try and keep the joint happy.