Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sunday, Monday.... Didgeridoo

Sunday Morning at Shodokan
Sunday was a great class. Peter taught as usual. We did a lot of knife disarming techniques. The more interesting ones where uke has the knife up at your throat. The important part was to get the knife away without slicing your own throat. So you move away from the knife as you are pushing the knife away. You do this all in an instant. Now, once you have the knife away you can play around with whatever you like. Since I had Tony as a partner it wasn't long before he found a way to do some koshinage. We tried a few different types. Of course I tried doing a taiotoshi. It wasn't as solid as I would have liked. The throw was good but I didn't like it with the knife. I think you are better off doing a control more than a throw. It's a lot more predictable.

Monday at Shodokan
Mr. Mulligan taught the first class. He had us working on blending a bit. The attack was a push or grab at the shoulder. We move back off the line as the attack comes in. Timing the attack and response was important.

We started simple with an ikkyo ura response. From the same attack we also did shihonage and others. The class was told at one point to see what you can get. My partner and I played around with it a bit and got nikkyo, sankyo, udekiminage, udegarami, wakagatami, kaitenage, shihonage and so forth. Then later on I tried an ukigosh and got fantastic results. My uke just looked up at me and said.... "what was that?". I gave him a two second lesson and he started doing it to me. I did many excellent ones in a row and the one time sensei came over to watch is the one I screwed up. Isn't that always the way. Well.... that just goes to show I don't have it down 100% yet. Still, they were way better than they used to be the last time I tried it.

At some point Mr. Mulligan had us working on a couple different versions of tenchinage. I've seen so many versions of this I'm at a loss as to which to focus on when I have free time. During class time I just do what they are teaching of course.

I had a thought go through my head too. On Friday night I was helping the new folks sort out their nikkyo. It appeared from their expressions that they were both getting it. However, I'd really like to feel what they've got to see if they are really doing as well as think they are. Of course many days have gone by and they may not have internalized it enough to repeat it but I regret not jumping in. I think I'd know a lot more of where they were on it if I got to feel the technique.

Monday 2nd Class at North Shore Aikikai
Mike concluded his koshinage run. What he wanted to do is have us drill koshinage and receiving koshinage as uke. He did this for a few classes. To give us something different to do we've been working on what to do if uke holds on and everyone goes to the ground. We learned a couple of hold downs. including a scarf hold and a nice escape so you can get up safely.

The scarf hold was amazing. When properly applied it felt like a ton of weight was placed on your chest. Mike covered ways of controlling uke as he attempts to move including what to do if he pops.

The first time someone tried the scarf hold on me it was funny. Instead of a scrape across the face to turn the head it was more like an elbow to my face. It was a strong enough hit that it was jarring and I noticed it but really, it didn't hurt.

I can say this. My koshinage got better overall. Even my ukigosh got better which at times confounded me. I found the rolling about on the mat enjoyable. I have no problem getting squished and pinned in uncomfortable positions. It was also a fun challenge to do the same to others.

Weird thing of the night?? One of the newer folks couldn't make it to class but swung by to pick up his girlfriend. Did he come up to pick her up? Nah.... he serenaded us from the parking lot with a didgeridoo. During class I recognized the sound but I was like..... wtf is that sound doing coming from a parking lot outside the dojo in Beverly.

In case you haven't seen one....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Is Here

I got to the dojo tonight. I hang about..... and no other regular students show up for first class. So it's just me and the two people currently moving through our beginners program. This is unusual for a Friday night. I figure it's just too nice out or something. People make plans.

So for the first class I helped with the beginners here and there. I warmed them up and started some forward rolls. Mr. Mulligan worked with them to try and get their rolls to be a little better. After a while he moved them on to nikkyo. Then Mr. Mulligan asked me to work with them some and see if I can get their nikkyo going.

One of the hardest things for nikkyo when you are just starting out is getting the angles just right. So for now I kept it simple for them. I tried to get them to get the familiar Z in the arm but I also tried to get them to keep that arm parallel to the floor. When the whole mess is parallel no adjustments have to be made. The nikkyo is easier to get. At least, this is what I have them doing as beginners. When they have a feel for it them they can adjust the angles as need be. They were nailing it each other pretty good. Each one was feeling pain and needed to tap. Cool. I gave some instruction on how to take ukemi to relieve the pressure and reminded them to tap when necessary.

Second class was better attended. We did irimi entry where we move in with arms raised and unbendable. We went through ikkyo, nikkyo, and so forth.... did wakagatami, shihonage and kotagaeshi. The wakagatami was interesting. I had Alan as a partner. He was taking multiple steps. I moved like crazy when taking ukemi to make sure I didn't get a lot of pressure.

We did other stuff and ended with a kokyunage.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rolling Around On The Mat Is Fun

So we do our stretching and a short version of ukemi. We then start in on last weeks thought. Basically we did ogoshi. We paid particular attention to different aspects. Off-balancing uke, sliding in and down in one motion. Making sure we don't leave our hands behind and then completing the throw.

After some fine tuning we moved on with another thought. What if in the process of the throw uke were to grab at you and pull you down with them?

Mike had us learning a move where we sprawl and attempt to land flat and on top of uke. From there we pin uke's face to the mat by scraping the arm/elbow across it and pinning it down. You then rotate around and end up on top of uke's upper body with uke on his back. Your sort of in a N-S position I guess. You rotate to the point where you are squishing uke's head some. Your arms them go above uke's arm and on each side of his body so you can control him.

I had a blast doing this. Since I have exactly zero judo experience I'll try and mess around with anything. On one run my nage sprawled on top of me but I could feel his weight distributed to one side so I took advantage of it and rolled us over so I could be on top. My judo familiar nage instantly slapped some kind of odd hold on my head. Between my roll and his reaction I actually lost track of up and down for a moment. Still.... it was a blast.

On another run I had a larger, very inexperienced nage. He pulled me down but when he went to do the hold down part was being way nicer than he should have been. My head wasn't squished much at all. I heard Mike told me to try and move around a bit. My nage was able to control when I went left or right. At one point I was able to roll up and get my hip rotated over but all I think that would lead to is nage on my back if he knew what he was doing. Not exactly an improvement. Still.... I know nothing about judo and I wanted to experiment with seeing what was possible.

Seems to me that you need to have a certain body awareness for judo. Not just your own but sensing the balance in your partner as well.

Anyway.... this was all very fun. Between the two dojos I go to I see judo stuff maybe a few times a year. Anything resembling a grappling chess match is uber fun. Hopefully we do this again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday Morning Breakfall Practice

A couple Sunday's ago one of the regulars who attends classes during the week started coming on Sunday mornings. It seems that at every opportunity he attempts to breakfall. It's obvious that it's something he really wants to work on.

So this week when Peter had us doing different techniques, this guy chose to attempt breakfalls for them all again. Usually I keep my mouth shut but I couldn't help myself and gave him some things to think about. At one point I stop the throw, adjust his body position a little bit and then finish. He did a pretty good break fall that time.

He's at a point that he's not afraid of the fall. He just doesn't know how to move his body correctly as yet.

Nage Didn't Need That Skin Anyway

Friday night at Shodokan. We were doing a bunch of interesting techniques. At one point we fall into something like a Koshi Guruma. This is all fine except that my nage is relatively inexperienced. He goes to throw me and keeps my slap hand. As I was going over I had let go of my original safety grip thinking I was ok. Then when I realize I'm not going to be in the correct position or have my slap hand available I regrip. I went to grab gi. Got a handful around the bicep area. As I went down the gi slid down some.

What I didn't know was that I had some skin caught up in that gi. I slid down, no slap hand as that was captured still but was able to keep a proper orientation at least because of my grip. Later in the dressing room he showed me a nice scrape in that area. I apoloized. Then I thought about it and realized that the only reason it happened is because he held onto my slap hand. So then I didn't feel so bad.

The second time he threw me he kept my slap hand again but I was more ready for it. I told him to let go of the slap hand next time. So we tried again and the same result. After that the instructor managed to get him to stop that crap. Later uke's in line were at least safe.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Koshi Waza

A few classes scooted by again since my last post.

The last class was Moneday. Mike taught. We really worked on our koshi waza. We did o gosh and uki gosh. I hadn't done uki gosh in a while but it came back pretty fast. My o gosh is coming along. My timing and placement are better. I still have a bad habit of looking back at uke. One of the things we focused on was completing the throw and continuing to turn. Once we did that I noticed a difference of where uke was landing. I had different partners for this. I found it much harder to throw a larger person.

I think overall my technique has improved though.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Friday/Sunday Practice

Friday night I went to class. Bob had us working on tenchinage and tenchinage reversals. We moved on to something I haven't done in a while. Uke goes to grab, nage steps back drawing uke forward and as nage goes to one knee, moves his arms in a circular fashion attempting to draw uke out and down. Scooping the leg is optional. After a while of this Bob had us practice an exercise where ukes grab either arm, nage falls backward and ukes roll out. This particular exercise had me pretty nervous. Not everyone in the class that day can roll straight every time. So I adjusted my timing so I had a chance to react or at worst would roll away at an angle intentionally so that I could be safer. After this was done we went back to the original exercise. The thought was that we should have the same feeling to move uke.

Sunday morning was fun. One of the regular weekday guys showed up that doesn't normally do Sunday mornings. Peter kept us quite busy with various techniques. My favorite being the otoshi he did at towards the end of class. What a shock, eh?