Monday, November 22, 2010

So Close, She Can Almost Roll

The last beginners group at Shodokan started mixing in with the regular classes. For the first time I can remember the new students are coming to the Sunday morning class. So Peter has adjusted the class for them. This past sunday was really interesting. He described 3 different footwork patterns for them. He chose techniques to use a tanshin step, a tenkan, and a tenkan with a j-step. The j-step was really puzzling them.

I asked one of the students if I could help her a bit after class. Out of all the new folks she is the one person with a nice unbendable arm. The only reason she isn't rolling well is simply because of how she is aiming her body. The foot was aimed off to the side and the hands were going down to the side as well. I had her aim herself forward and put her hands down for the roll directly in front of her and she did a couple of excellent rolls. Then we called it quits. I doubt if that one session will mean that she will roll correctly from now on but at least now she has something to think about. She was very happy to get a couple of good rolls in. I myself was having flashbacks of Jim telling me to do some of these things when he taught the Sunday class. They made no sense to me back then. They do now.

We had a weapons night Friday at Shodokan. More precisely, a weapons disarming night. The end of the night culminated in a 3 on 1 session of disarming. Ukes had a tanto, bokken and a jo. I found myself mostly worried about what the jo guy was doing. It has quite a bit of range. For my turn of the 3 on 1 there was one moment where I had one person on their way down and the other two were not pressing me. As a result, I paused for a second waiting to see who was going to move to me first. Maybe next time I should just move in towards one of them. If they were really trying to nail me I doubt they'd just be standing there though. Sometimes I don't think the uke's pressure people enough. Depends on the ukes I guess.

Here is a question. Am I being a tool? One of my partners at Shodokan this week is a 1st kyu who tends to trash people some. In the past he's done everyhing from not giving me my slap hand back to holding on to my arm after a throw and pressuring or pulling out the elbow and shoulder joint. At one point we were doing an iriminage and he specifically choose to do a clothesline version. Worse still he was driving me right into the ground. The force of it was strong enough that I actually bumped my head a little(the first time as I was not expecting it). So, on my turn, I do it his way so he could feel it and plow him into the ground(at maybe half strength) and say.... 'that is what I'm feeling'. He was overjoyed as if I had learned something and said 'yes!'. Ok.... I'm not a strong guy and although some things work better with strength, you really shouldn't need any. I don't want to practice that way. I'd rather practice getting uke's balance. This guy will sooner or later understand that I have no interest in doing things his way.

For the rest of the practice, I gave him honest reactions as uke. If he pushed me down and planted me I didn't make up for that. In fact, in one instance he was telling me to float more except he was planting me. I told him he was planting me and he said nothing after that. My thought was if you want me to float.... float me. What I found was that for almost every throw he was relying on me just falling down or adjusting for him. I was surprised. He was annoyed.

During kotagaeshi he was giving me very tight ones and I had to breakfall very quickly to get out of one of them. I was fine with that. Got up smiling as usual. So I do the same with him and he complains. Why? Because he didn't want to breakfall to protect himself and it was a very tight kotagaeshi. So after that I had to baby him some for those. The difference is that these were tight because of proper technique, not because I was just using strength or hyperextending a joint after the technique was over.

I'm guessing he won't be picking me as a partner much in the future after a couple more classes. I have no interest in being unecessarily beaten on so this is fine with me. He can practice his style of aikido with someone else. To date, he is the only person I met that I really ever wanted to avoid on the mat. This guy is the same one that was rough with me a while back because he disagreed on how an ukemi should be done.

Looks like I missed out on a seminar. New England Aikikai had a fund raising seminar and dinner I would have liked to have gone to. I had other committments.

Further back in the week, last Monday, North Shore Aikikai had a guest instructor. Some gentleman from France who studied under Tamura Sensei. The class was excellent.


At November 23, 2010 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three person randori of any sort can be a challenge. Remember these three words. ENTER! ENTER! ENTER!!!!. Get the point. Never wait for your next attacker. When you choose, you close the mai at your appopinted time. you know which side you present, you know what target they will aim for and where their next step will be. When you wait you give all that to them and you are reactive not proactive. you are not a tool. Your partner should have the sensitivity by first Q to respect how you want to practice, You may not be communicating in a way which is clear to him though. I find that clear verbal instruction such as please project me rather than plowing me downward, or I'm feeling old tonight, please be gentle until I show signs of loosening up etc are more effective than a look, retaliation or body language. hopefully you are just miscommunicating. Just because you can take it doesn't mean you want to. eat too much turkey Rob.

At November 23, 2010 9:35 AM, Blogger Poxbox said...

Believe it or not, my intent wasn't to 'get even'. It was to show him what I was feeling. If I wanted to get even I would have plowed him down as hard as I could. :)
I suppose I could pull him aside and have a conversation with him. I just don't think he is capable of change. He wants to practice this way. He has certain strong beliefs on how techniques should be done and does them his way regardless of what's being taught. In addition, he will encourage his partners to do it his way instead of letting them practice what the sensei is teaching.

In contrast, I usually try to do what the instructor is doing and after a while if I think I have a handle on it, I may explore variations depending on who my partner is.

p.s. The turkey doesn't have a chance.

At November 24, 2010 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Know you are not vindictive. Usally a conversation is not necessary but a quick instruction like I have a sore back go easy or don't trash me I'm feeling old will do the trick. I think it is a small mind that does not try to practice what the instructor is teaching. We all eventually get to a point where we feel good about our aikido but to "encourage or teach something different than the instructor is disrespectful and egocentric. What I love most about aikido is the infinite possibility with in each technique. If he is not expanding his knowlege base as well as honing his own skills he will waste a precious opportunity to see the world through others eyes. When he becomes an instructor he can teach whatever he wants, but when an instructor is teaching you try to learn their version of the story. There is also nothing wrong with experimenting after getting the instructors point but not so much. It can be misinterpreted as disrespect. Rob


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