Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Some Things Just Shouldn't Be Done

Had a great class with Peter on Sunday morning. We worked on henka waza. For the most part things were fine. However.... going from sankyo directly to kotagaeshi is just not a natural transition. Give it a try some time and you'll see what I mean.
No cheating.... go directly from one to the other.

Good Class at NSA

Went to North Shore Aikikai last night. Had a great class with Mike teaching. To remember Sugano Sensei we did some weapons practice and did some techniques with lots of hand changes.

My favorite was at the end. It was a yokomen attack. Bring it down to your center, bring it back up and over into ikkyo, change to a sankyo, bring uke up, bring uke around behind you to the other side and finish with a tai otoshi. My timing for this was really good. I was having a blast with it. I was doing some fairly good throws with no strength. It helps to have an uke who isn't afraid of falling too.

Great class, wish it could have been longer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Results of Test Night

No idea. I assume that Mulligan will pass everyone regardless. We had a 4th kyu test, two 2nd kyu tests and a shodan test.

The 4th kyu test was interesting to watch. Out of all of the tests in some sense, it was the best. Why? Because I could see the improvement in this individual's practice. It was also obvious that he worked extra outside of classes on his test. Did he do everything 100% right. Nah. But he did well enough and certainly did well for him. The biggest surprise was they had him do some ukemi. This guy's ukemi was always pretty bad. He'd been practicing for quite a long while and never could do a forward roll. I've offerred to help him in the past a few times but he always refused. For his test he did a few passable forward rolls. It was excellent to see.

For one 2nd kyu tester I saw some good test techniques and a marginal randori. She's done a randori better in the past and she didn't just stand there fumbling or anything so she did fine. The other 2nd kyu tester's techiniques looked so so but he had a pretty good randori. What didn't I like about his techniques? By the time you hit 2nd kyu there should be a certain fluidity of movement. Techniques should be done without stop/starts in them. That doesn't mean you have to go fast, just continuously. I could almost see his mind working... click...click... foot goes there.... arms go there.

One thing that occurred to me. I was wondering if we quit the practice of doing a pretest before the exams.

EDIT: Someone asked..... The pretests are good because it proves that someone is ready for a test but also if there is a tweak that can be made it gives the tester plenty of time to work on issues.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Test Night Tonight

I'm going to try and make it tonight. So far so good. Despite my knee problem I should be able to help out and be an uke. Should be an interesting mix of testers. I know in one case the hours are at a bare minimum at best. For myself, I think I'd need 200 hours and since I tested about 16 months ago, without looking that's a possibility of around 204 hours if I went 3x week. I'm pretty sure I've missed a class or two at some point(I mean... we did have holidays). No reason to add 'em up. I wouldn't be testing anyway even if I had it. I'm still in no particular hurry. The practice matters more.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lots of Resistance Lately

I've had a couple partners doing the resistance thing lately. It's actually good practice. One of them was interesting. After something like a kotagaeshi he will attempt to spin around and get up right after he hits the floor. I've been ignoring it but I think I'll gently show him why turning his back to me isn't such a hot idea. So far I've done things like let him get up because I have his hand and immediately do another kotagaeshi or something but he's not taking the hint. During class last time I actally did pin his shoulder down to stop the rolling around business.

In class last night we did some sensitivity training. Basically when uke comes in with a push or pull to react with one or two techniques. I frequently find it hard to limit my responses to just the 'expected' ones. Sensei kept saying to not worry so much about the technique. He was wanting us to just feel and react. However, forcing me into a particular movement actually is harder than just sticking me there and saying, just react. Still.... we are supposed to be able to control ourselves so I did my best to keep it to sensei's responses.

I have an interesting new injury. For whatever reason, when I'm down on my left knee at an angle I get what feels like nerve pain right in the knee. Sort of below the kneecap. Doesn't hurt at any other time. So basically, backwards rolls on one side will hurt it or when I get up off the floor from a technique and my body is not squared up.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

True Story About the Nature of Practice

A few years back a friend of mine related this story to me. I see this friend a couple times a year. We head off and flyfish every year. Anyway.... He's a black belt in Taekwondo and has been for many years. He told me that they occasionally do sparring practice in class. During these practices they tended to hold back some. Full strength contact isn't necessary. During one of these sessions he was paired off with a very talented woman. She was known in the dojo as being rough on her partners. During the session she predictably was using more strength then was needed for the practice. My friend was tired of this and pulled her aside after class to have a chat with her. What he basically told her was that she's good, everyone knows she's good and that she has nothing to prove to anyone. That she doesn't have to beat the crap out of her fellow students to prove anything. Well, after that she seemed to calm down. She still sparred and still did well but held back so as not to unduly hurt her partners. People stopped avoiding her and got the benefit of working with a skilled person.

During an aikido practice when you have someone in a control or in a position where you have kazushi it isn't necessary to abuse your partner. I'm all for a vigorous workout. I'm happy to do a smooth (even fast) ukemi to keep up with my nage. It is a different matter however when nage takes uke into a position attained through uke's trust and abuses his position.

An example of this would be if someone pins uke and then after uke taps out, nage continues to apply perhaps even more pressure. This would be one example of abusing uke's trust.

Another and more recent event would be when you take uke into shihonage, stop the technique at the point where nage has kazushi. Uke is bent over with arm curled back to his shoulder for a tanto takeaway. At this static position, after a few moments of nage talking, that is not the time to suddenly (and at speed) wrench uke's arm away from his shoulder and outward in an obvious (and successful) attempt to cause discomfort.

If you really want to show me that you know aikido, show me that you can do the technique with some control.