Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Iriminage Practice

I went to Shodokan last night. We had a visitor. A nidan from the IrAF. My understanding is that she's visited us a few times over the years. Bob had her warm us up. Some of her stretches were different and really nice. There was one I got a great stretch from. Bob gave us some time to work on our ukemi.

I got to work with the visitor for a short bit. There are a lot of people you really get a flavor of their aikido. I didn't get that with her. Perhaps their style is similar enough to our own that nothing stood out. At one point in our kaitenage practice she decided to pick up the pace a bit and as I rolled back up, she'd move towards me ready for me to grab her. We went back and forth a bit before the technique was changed.

The techniques/exercises covered included a kokyunage and kaitenage. To stress the freestyle practice mindset Bob had us practice something at the end of class. Three lines of sorts. One at either end of the dojo and one more in the middle. We were supposed to do uchi kaitenage on one line, soto on the other and the kokyunage on the third line. Also, we needed to practice both left and right sides. Go through the lines twice and everyone is back where they were started. Bow the next nage in.

I always like working with different people so it was fun working with our visitor. I tried watching her with other partners when I could out of curiousity. She was a pleasure to work out with. She seemed to have good control and was obviously adapting to her uke's abilities. You never really know when someone visits how they will be. Some people just lack control.

Afterwards, I headed out to North Shore Aikikai for another class. Jim taught this one. After normal stretching he had us do some partner stretches. These are awesome. I can get some real good stretching in when I have help like that.

We did an iriminage that I had to work on a bit. When I had a larger uke, I was adapting to uke's momentum and moving around an extra 180 degrees. Although I was keeping up wth uke fine and it was smooth, Jim wanted me to focus on purposefully doing the technique and not allowing allowing uke to necessarily drive the technique a particular way. In other words, I should be more in control of uke and myself. I was able to do this although I'm curious if I will consciously continue to do this.

We then did a kotagaeshi from the same attack (a grab and punch). This is an attack we probably don't do enough of really. It really is a very likely attack in a real life situation.

Sunday Was a Major Workout

For the past couple of months Peter has had us working on our freestyle skills. This particular week we reviewed a couple of quick responses to tsuki attacks. We started right off with an taiotoshi and went right to koshinage after that. Then.... we got busy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Kokyuho and Tae Waza

Friday night was a dojo party so no practice for me. Sunday morning was a big snowstorm. My experience in the past pretty much told me to stay home and that if I went I would likely be knocking on a locked door. I was hoping to get to a class that night but was too tied up at home.

Monday night I headed to Shodokan. It was a fairly laid back class. We started out with some kokyuho and did some irimi exercises. Then later there was an exercise which started as a hand grab. I wasn't off balancing my uke well(one of the newer folks) and he let me know it. After a couple rounds of missing it he decided to tell me what he thought I was doing wrong. I think he had the right idea. Before I could noodle around with it, the exericse ended and suddenly... so did class.

Afterwards I headed off to North Shore Aikikai for a 2nd class that night. It was fairly laid back as well. We did some ukemi and worked on that a bit. Mike had us slowly concentrate on one series, one piece at a time.
Collar grab, nikkyo, bounce uke down, as he comes up cut the arm up a bit and grab an arm, step in front of uke as you turn and grab with the other hand, go to your knees and throw out. At the end of the throw pull the arm in a bit. It's sort of like flinging uke out there.

My first throw was pretty good. If you move smoothly you can get a nice throw in. Seems like I was dissecting it more and more. Sometimes I do that a little too much when I should just jump in there and throw. Still. I really enjoyed this particular throw. At the end of the throw Mike showed us a pin/armbar that felt pretty darn effective. He did this one throw for the whole class but did each bit for a while, and had us build up to the end practicing what we did and adding the next component. One of the coolest parts of the class was Mike threw me a couple of times for the technique so I got to feel it. He'll certainly jump in a line when he teaches but doesn't often take a turn in line. When Mike threw me for this I have a hard time describing what it felt like. It was soft and effortless for both of us.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Practicing Slowly, Softly, and Effectively

I've been going to class and neglecting my blog here as usual. One thing I missed out on was a test that was held at Shodokan. There were something like 5 2nd kyu tests that night and I would have liked to have watched it. Rumor has it some video was done so maybe I'll get to see some of it anyway.

Sunday mornings class we focused a bit on improving our freestyle. I'm sure I need the practice. We had been doing techniques by starting them from several feet away. This was forcing nage to deal with real timing but since it was a known attack and maybe a choice of two techniques it made life more managable.

Monday night Mr. Mulligan taught and had us practicing with the newer people that just came out of their seperate training class a week or so ago. They are mixing in with the regular class now. He asked us to practice slowly. This was excellent practice. I was trying to do the techniques correctly and smoothly while going slow.

The guy I had partnered with obviously has experience in some other art. He was pretty good. He was watching me. At times he figured out how I was doing a technique and improved his own. Some times he could feel a difference but didn't know why and tried doing something different but not correct. It was interesting to see how much he was perceiving.

At one point we were doing shihonage and I decided I wanted him to notice something I was doing. Instead of keeping proper positioning for the arm, I let it float up too high. Immediately, he stopped, looked at me, and very politely told me that he noticed that he felt as though he could just turn and punch me. I smiled and said, yes.... that's right. I was doing it wrong once to get his attention. So then he asked me to do the technique again and I did it normally. He felt a big difference and saw the 'hole' magically close up. After class, I talked to him a bit. I wanted him to feel what I was feeling.

So for our practice I pretty much kept my mouth shut while I took ukemi and he observed me while I was nage. If he didn't know how to start off and got stuck, I would do the beginning of the technique again for him to watch and give him his turn right away. I think he was showing some pretty good improvement over the class. I have no idea if any of it will stick but it was still nice to see. I'm guessing he will be learning fast.

For this class I was going nice and soft and slow and yet still effective. By the time I was done I had felt like I had just come out of a massage.

After I went to North Shore Aikikai for a second class on Monday. It was koshinage night part 2. I guess I missed part 1. So we did various forms of koshinage all night for the class. Some forms were easier than others. Sometimes my timing was off... sometimes my foot placement... other times I wasn't low enough. There are so many ways you can screw this technique up. It was a good practice.