Monday, January 31, 2011

More Fun On Sunday

No idea why more people don't take the Sunday morning class. The past few classes has pretty much just been Chris and I so Peter had us working on Kaeshiwaza.

The last time was reversing shihonage and turning it into kotagaeshi, nikkyo, sankyo...etc. At one point he asked us to noodle around with it some and I of course couldn't resist trying out a taiotoshi. I found a cool way of getting there. Very early on as you are reversing the shihonage, you tenkan, get a grip and extend uke forward so he is floating forward, step in front of him at an angle and throw. Peter wanted to feel it so he worked in. He was curious how 'real' it was. It seemed a valid way to get there. From your partners perspective, you feel like you have him and then as he tenkans(fivekan maybe) some and leads you forward, you have to let go and you have nothing and your partner is behind you. Then you are being floated forward for the throw. It was working pretty well.

Last Sunday we moved on to henkawaza. We were doing a lot of shomenuchi attack, starting with nikkyo and going to various other techniques. Sankyo, udekimenage, kotagaeshi, iriminage, shihonage...etc. It was a lot of fun.

Hey! My Elbow Isn't Popped

Hadn't put an entry in for quite a while. I've been attending class regularly. During that time I've gotten to work with new people and experienced. Dawn from Oregon came by again for her yearly visit to Shodokan. They asked her to warm up the class. There were a good number of interesting stretches. More interesting was her ukemi warmup. Most of it was pretty normal. One of the exercises though was pretty tough. You need a partner. You start facing one another and keep eye contact as you both do a roll to the side. The tough part is maintaining spacing with your partner. Very interesting.

I actually had to speak to someone after class the other night. During class we were doing something such as kotagaeshi. I did a necessary breakfall and ended up on my side. Rather than turning me over by putting my hand in my face and turning the elbow or by grabbing the hand/wrist and turn it as you sort of dip it, this person held on to my wrist with one hand and was just pushing on my elbow with the other hand.

This was his way of attempting to turn me over. The problem was that he had my wrist at a fixed place and he was just pushing on the elbow. I felt no push/pull sideways to turn me over. What I felt was me being pinned/pushed into the mat with an armbar. Because I didn't move right away(I couldn't), he increased the pressure on the elbow which just pressed me into the mat harder. At this point I started tapping quickly. He ignored my tap and increased the pressure. I tapped very urgently. There was a still a hesitation and then he let go. Afterwards a couple people who has seen this asked me about it. They pretty much never see me tap with such urgency (most people have more control).

I wasn't mad about the incident but safety is involved so after class I went to talk to my nage about two different things. One was what I was feeling as uke and why using an armbar in that manner not only does NOT turn someone over but makes it impossible for someone to do so(maybe it would have worked if the wrist wasn't fixed and he pulled it). The other topic was why he didn't release me after the first tap.

The question about tapping was just replied with a repeated apology. That was fine. I wasn't interested in an apology. I was hoping to hear something like, "I'll be more attentive in the future" or "I'll let go quicker next time", or more to the point "I'll let go instead of attempting to continue forcing something that isn't working but I think should".

For the other issue. I described to him what I was feeling(being 'stuck' to the mat) and why I believed that this is not ever going to work as a turnover and that maybe he should try a different way of turning someone over. He told me then (and in the past) that the way he practices, he likes to think in terms of all techniques and controls as breaks.

So, ikkyo is for breaking the elbow, nikkyo for breaking the wrist, udekimenage breaks the elbow...etc. While we are all aware that the potential for breaks exist most of us don't practice with this on the forefront of our minds (at least as nage). This guy does. He does every technique with this in mind and as a result, working with him can be very uncomfortable. He is very hard on people's joints and takes some people to their limit. After class that day, several students came to me (totally unsolicited) and complained about him.

Although I have no problem with discomfort and don't mind being uke while someone explores some technique, I do have a problem with someone not respecting a tap. When someone doesn't respond to a tap, that tells me they aren't trustworthy as a partner. At this point I don't think I could ever be a good uke for him. I can never trust him and as a result would be very defensive of my joints, possibly appearing to resist in his mind.

He told me that "aikido is all about the breaks". Somewhere along the line, this guy lost sight of what aikido is about and is practicing aikijitsu instead. All the technique with none of the philosophy.

When I practice, I would like things to 'work'. However, my first thought would be for me to be try and take my opponent(uke)'s balance. I would only consider breaking someone's joint if it became necessary. It wouldn't be my first choice.

Class at North Shore Aikikai has been fine. We have some newer people so we started a quick review with ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo...etc. The more experienced people at times were asked to add a throw at the end or something like that.