Thursday, April 29, 2010

Interesting Entry

I've had probably 4 classes or so since I posted last. Lots of good stuff. Since John Rogers visit to Shodokan the teaching there have been several classes revolving around ideas he stressed.

Recently in a Sunday morning class there was the mention of awareness. Peter threw me and started talking about how uke shouldn't be just looking away or waiting for something to happen. Uke should have a connection with nage. Don't take your eyes off him just because you are waiting for him to roll you over for a pin for example. I'm usually pretty good at this.

Since I train with lots of different kinds of people I learned a long time ago to pay attention. At times you never know when someone will do something surprising. I remember one class when my nage all of a sudden did a totally different technique after doing it correctly for several minutes. He spaced out. Luckily I was paying attention to him and followed him with no problem. The surprising thing was that he was an experienced person. I expect that kind of thing from someone just starting out. The beginners can be more dangerous because you don't really know what they are going to do.

The last class I had was a Monday night at NSA. Matt taught. So often in aikido we are looking for way of off balancing uke. Matt had us doing some exercises making me think a little bit about that.

Actually something about this entry finally clicked. A lot of times when Matt teaches he somehow can suck you in before a throw. I could never easily replicate that. It was this class that helped it click. It's not done with strength and yet it feels strong. It's seems to me now that it is done by having nage in a certain position and then using his center.

The entry was something like....
Step with your back foot a little to the side and bring the front foot back. So essentially as the attack comes you are allowing it to continue in a certain direction while you get out of the way. We started off with some static wrist grabs for it. We played around with this entry for a while. One thing we did a little different was do some uchiotoshi. We go into a nikkyo and as uke comes up, lead uke up and out, then go to one knee. I'm used to pushing the hip with the other hand at times for this. I could do this technique all day long and still play with it. It's a fun one. The nikkyo was interesting. Matt had us take the hand in front of us and use our other hand from the bottom rather than the top for the nikkyo. I've seen that but it's been a long while since I've practiced it. There was one other difference in this technique. Sometimes we practice getting really close to uke and the turning in our body helps the off-balancing. In this class Matt had us doing it a little different. We were a little further away.

Rob... you'd be proud of me. I was looking to float uke for this.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Are You Breaking Up With Me?!

We started with some ukemi. Mike even set up something for us to jump over as we did a forward roll.

We moved on to sumi-otoshi. From there we did that kotagaeshi. As uke comes in for a tsuki, you step back off the line, deflect the strike with the opposite hand, pickup the grip with the other hand, and continue in a circle, pivot and throw. I have trouble getting the proper grip at times when this is done at speed. Could use more practice that's for sure.

Mike had us working on our timing. Someone holds a bokken and does a shomen cut while someone else tries to enter and get to a good position.

We did a couple of sword disarms as well. We did one I had done recently. Another was a wakagatmi followed by a nikkyo. The nikkyo was a little hard to find for most of us.
So at one point the person was trying to do a nikkyo to me. I totally forgot and of course as some of you remember I can ignore certain nikkyo positions. For me there is no pain. So just as Mike was coming over to see what he was fiddling with I realized I wasn't reacting at all and said.... Oh... wait it's not you, it's me. To which he replied... "What?!! Are you breaking up with me". After I stopped laughing, I had to explain to him that I can ignore a straight arm nikkyo. Usually, when I feel enough pressure I just tap as most people would be feeling it. Sometimes I forget.

I swear I wasn't trying to break up with him.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

ZZZzzzzzz What? Class?

Wife had to wake me this morning for class. Usually I'm up helping the kids, this morning I was just sleeping. Still, she woke me early enough to get there on time.

Peter had us doing techniques from tsuki. We did sumi-otoshi, shihonage, kaitenage, a couple of different forms of nikkyo, sankyo. We even did a few koshinage. Very nice. I felt really good after class. Worked a bit on my ukemi. I was curious if I could intentionally fall like Matt does at NSA. He tends to do a breakfall but really, he almost rolls across the shoulder some and comes back up. I actually was able to do this on purpose.

Kaeshi Waza

Ok.... more than two hours has passed so I can't quite remember exactly what was done in class. First class Bob taught. No clue what we did at this point.
Helped out with the dojo computer and then went to the in-progress second class. I had some doubts about joining in. I was pretty wiped. So when I jumped in they were doing kaeshi-waza. Ikkyo reversal. Then we did a sankyo reversal. I think there were some kokyunage and so forth. At the end of class Mr. Mulligan gave us a little time to do a little freestyle with our partner. Dave and I were mixing it up a bit. My tai-otoshi needs practice still I think. I'm not getting the distribution of my weight correct.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Test Time At North Shore Aikikai

We held a short class before the tests. We did an abbreviated warmup. Then Mike had us all line up on the mat and all do our ukemi in a straight line right next to each other. I had experienced people on both sides of me so I didn't have to worry too much about one of them rolling off line and coming into me.

Started class with a tsuki sumi-otoshi. We also did some kotagaeshi. The version where it feels more like an ude-garame. Uke strikes, nage steps deflects incoming strike with opposite hand. Get a kotagaeshi grip with the other hand, turn your hips and throw. My biggest problem with this is I was throwing people down instead of out. I can feel the difference myself. I think I know how to fix it at this point but I would need more practice at it to get it right. Rob was doing the technique and not just throwing me out... but then floating me as well. I could see exactly what he was doing. Again, I think I just need a few more repetitions to get closer to what I want.

Oh... one thing during this class that was cool. At one point in practice when I went to do my attack, nage didn't have me but went to put his fist up into my face to make me back off. Without even thinking about it, I deflected the incoming first with my other hand. This is probably from all the jodan tsuki practice we've been doing in Mr. Mulligan's class at Shodokan. Very cool. No thought to that. I just reacted. So there is a chance that if someone threw a punch at my face I might do something other than stand there and take it. It was nice too... I didn't push the fist over too hard but with enough force to miss my face. I think part of the reason I actually reacted to it was that I wasn't expecting it at all. If I saw it coming slowly I may not have reacted as I know he wouldn't really hurt me.

We wrapped up and set up for a test. I took another quick look at the test list. Didn't see anything squirrely so I was happy.

I got to uke for the 2nd kyu test. The tests went well. One of the guys who took his 5th kyu test looked really good. There were a lot of little things he was getting right that you don't often see in a fifth kyu test. Pretty cool.

My nage did great for her test. We kept it at a reasonable pace. I was wondering if I was going to have a problem keeping up but it was no problem. I tried to focus on my breathing and took momentary rests where I could. I was pretty psyched that we blended so well for the test. We hadn't practiced together in weeks. The test went by fast actually. By the end of the test I was in a groove.

I guess for a couple of throws she was really tossing me. There is a chance that someone got it on video. I'm hoping to see it. I'm curious to watch the test. Sometimes when I'm uke I focus more on my ukemi(attacking, being there, staying with her as best I can). I don't get to pay attention to too much else.

I keep meaning to bring a video camara in to a class but I never quite get it there. I'm wondering if I'll see stuff that needs fixing that I had no idea I was doing as nage or uke.

We then watched the other testers do some ukemi.

After this we did the randori portion for the 2nd kyu test. I frequently had a body thrown at me so that I had to hop back. When I did attack I didn't always telegraph it. I waited at times until I was right next to nage and then attacked. It's a little tougher when people do this to you but I knew she could handle it fine. I think all the practice they were doing for freestyles was really helping. I know it helped me improve.

Anyway.... congratulations to all the people testing last night. It was great fun.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Yay.... Chokes

We don't do these very often but we got to do some chokes Friday night. Call me strange, I enjoy these classes. For the most part we are shooting for blood chokes, not wind chokes.

Also, we were doing a simple kokyunage. The same kind of windmilling crap you see when people do their randori parts of their test. After doing a quick line or two of this, sensei had us throwing someone and moving around a bit. For me, this was relatively easy to do because of the randori that NSA was having us do a month or so back. One thing I may want to change though. For some of my techniques, especially if there is a pivot of the hips, I frequently drive off of what becomes my back foot. I'm wondering if I want to try and drive less. If I do less, I'm wondering if I'll be faster because my stance will be different. The question is, will uke still move because they are off balance enough or not? What habit do I want to try and cultivate?