Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Curious George Strikes!

Headed off to Shodokan. The focus for this class was to increase our aerobic benefit. We set up into groups. One person in the middle taking ukemi from the people surrounding him. The intent is to finish your ukemi and immediately attack the next person. You keep a pace that you could practice a full class for. Rob and Shira at the other dojo used to do this with me quite a bit. Now that the concept was introduced to all of the students at Shodokan, I'm going to see if I can get some people to practice in this manner. I could sure use the workout. This was absolutely fun practice. The other thing we worked on was moving from technique to technique. Get uke in an ikkyo, change it to a nikkyo, to a sankyo, to an iriminage....etc. Really helps the fluidity of things.

After that ended I headed off to North Shore Aikikai. Mike was teaching. This was an interesting class because just recently Shodokan had some randori practice that was good but I was fairly shaky at. Mike decided after showing us a few techniques to do a session or 3 of randori practice. The three techniques he gave us to use were an ura version of sumi-otoshi(something we do a lot of), an ura version of tai otoshi, and something I guess I would call an uchi kaitenage with a magic hand rotation. The first two I was familiar with. The uchi version of kaitenage I haven't practiced much. In order to get your hand in the right spot without letting go you really need to be sticky and rotate the hand around. For those that aren't familiar between uchi and ura versions.... with ura you take a normal kaitenage, step behind uke some and rotate them around as you tenkan before throwing. With uchi.... you go under uke's arm, bring it down and then up to a normal kaitenage.

Anyway.... The attack was tsuki and Mike first had us do 2 ukes. After a turn he quickly moved it to 3 ukes. For my first turn, I was doing a fair job of rolling my uke into the next attacker. In fact, Mike thought I did good but could have done better if my uke's would press me more. There were some points where I would look up to judge intent and I was seeing them both be a bit standoffish while I was throwing. My plan of course was to throw my uke into the closest attacker. Since there wasn't an obvious uke with intent there was a momentary stop of motion as I kept an eye on both of them and neither moved. After a brief moment, I just picked one and threw and moved to deal with the other. I've had this problem before on other days.

So ok... turn two for me comes up with 3 ukes. They start to press me more. I did fairly well at moving off and making sure I dump one uke into another. My aikido however was starting to fall apart a bit. I was failing to tenkan much for the suggested techniques and the magic hand change which I could do during practice for the kaitenage was eluding me half the time.

I was pretty happy overall with my experience though. There were some good moments where I dumped ukes right into oncoming attackers forcing them to actually backpedal. I really felt like I was controlling them to some extent. My uke's were pressuring me just enough to make this very challenging but not so much that I couldn't get a learning experience out of it.

For right or wrong, I don't really plan much what I'm going to do with uke. Sometimes I'll have something in mind but just as often I just do one of the techniques showed to us and if uke isn't in the right space I adjust for it if I can. For example... I'd do the uchi kaitenage, find out that I'm pointing the wrong way, so I just simply step behind uke and do the ura version to toss him where I need him. I'm curious if this is the way it's always going to be for me or whether I will have stuff muscle memorized to the point where I know which way uke will be sent before I 'pick' a technique. Right now, I'm kind of organic as I'm adjusting as I go along.

Mike talked a lot about planning where to move, about gaining space. I could really see it when it was Diana's turn. On one of the occassions, the attacks where in a bit of a tight circle, and then she settled in and got us seperated(I was uke too) and was able to expand the circle, use more of the mat and slow down the pace of her randori. It was very cool to watch.

The only other thing of note during a randori session was when nage did what looked to me to be some kind of kokyunage and way undercut uke. Uke was flying. Unfortunately, in the process of doing this he turned his back to me and went to one knee as I was headed his way. So I ended the randori..... by jumping on his back like a rabid monkey. Actually, what I thought of at the time was that I could get a good choke in from that position. I chose not act on that though as I didn't really want to

A. Choke someone just trying to practice a freestyle and....
B. Didn't want to deal with the possible response which might just get me hurt.

So I settled for just knocking us both over to the ground.

After these two classes, I was actually physically tired even the next day.
What a great night.


At February 25, 2010 10:03 AM, Anonymous Diana said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, I wish I could say the same.

At February 25, 2010 3:12 PM, Blogger Poxbox said...

Why not? You did fine. We both are wherever we are at this point. I'm not 100% enthused about some of what I did but on the whole it was a positive learning experience.

Ok....ok. I promise to tackle you next time instead.

At February 25, 2010 4:48 PM, Anonymous Diana said...

Yes. I can agree with some of that. No disrespect to anyone ever. Just frustrated with myself!


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