Sunday, February 26, 2012

Neat Taiotoshi Is Back

Peter had us working this morning mostly on improving our freestyles. We actually got to practice a couple of times. I've gone down hill a biy from lack of practice. The first time I was not entering as often as I had in the past. The second round through I did better.

Also in class we did Tony's killer taiotoshi. This time I picked him as a partner so I could see exactly what he was doing last week. What he does is quite simple. He enters inside and continues in a circle bringing uke through the same line he started with the tsuki. Once he gets a connection with the arm, he basically tenkans in front of uke wrapping him around.

Not much else going on. When Buddy and I worked together I suggested for the kaitenage that he draw uke forward just a bit so when you bring the arm down, uke sort of just falls right into the hole you create. This was shown to me back at North Shore Aikido at some point.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fluidity of Movement

Bob taught last night. At first he had us working on responses to a static ushiro attack. We did a few of these. Towards the end of class, he asked us to respond to the ushiro attack any way we wanted but with fluid movement.

Some students do things step by step. Raise hands... step out... move arm certain way... do technique...etc. Bob was trying to get people to move with more fluidity. To not stop in the middle of the technique.

After class I grabbed someone to try to do that swoopy thing that we did with Matt on Monday at NSA.... couldn't remember how we set it up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Swoopy Excellence

I went to Monday night class at North Shore Aikikai. Matt was teaching and did some interesting stuff.

Two things stuck out in my mind the most. One was the jujinage he had us doing. It was the tightest jujinage I've felt in quite a while. Very nice. I was his uke for the demo. The first time he did it, I felt so locked up, I couldn't roll and wasn't ready I guess for a breakfall. All I felt was stuck... so when he threw me, rather than me takig a nice ukemi I guess I chose to fall to the mat on top of my arms (stomach down) while my arms were still locked in a strange structure. I'm sure the fall looked awful. Oddly enough, it didn't cause any real discomfort. My arms sort of took the impact without jarring my shoulders somehow (my arms were still extended and twisted on each other). Once I got that out of my system I was breakfalling. However, I was having a little problem keeping up at first. Part of the throw, as Matt grabs each arm for jujinage, there is a tiny... and I mean tiny pause where he turns your arm so he gets a good armbar for the throw. During that tiny moment, I took that as a signal to just hang around and relax. Silly me.... no time for hanging around. Eventually I was able to keep up. Replicating that armbar was difficult for me during practice though.

The second technique that stood out in my mind was one where you take uke around (tenkan entry), pull him around and keep everything high. You sidestep and swoosh the hand down feeding it to your waiting hand for a kotagaeshi. I liked that one a lot... very fun. I confused it at first with a similar version where you go under the arm and then do a throw. But this wasn't that one at all. Taking ukemi for this you realize how off balance you are the whole time.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

That Was Fast.... Very Fast.

Morning practice was interesting. Peter had us doing some practice I'm guessing intended to improve our freestyle.

Some of the focus was not worrying about what foot is forward or what side uke is attacking from. This was all good. I usually have no problem with a surprise like that at this point. One of the techniques, Peter had us uncharacteristically staying on the line and simply moving back. Some of it was a knife defense. Basically getting your abdomen the hell out of the way if you are surprised with a swipe while at the same time getting control of the knife hand.

At the end of class we did a technique at speed. It was a bit of a surprise. Peter says.... Tony is going to show us something. Tony picks me as uke. I punch... at a very fast speed Tony quickly does a taiotoshi. It was one of those throws that was so fast, I wasn't entirely sure what the hell he did. I just felt pulled forward... then my feet were stuck... then I instinctively started a breakfall and found myself on the mat. So we practiced that one and ended the session.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Garume Galore

Was at Shodokan's Friday night class. Lots of garume this class. A lot of us had trouble getting someone of them. There was one in particular that was puzzling me. Once I saw all I had to do was reach under uke's arm it was a piece of cake. I still had trouble with a couple of the garmume hold downs he was showing. I know a few but there were one or two that night I hadn't seen before and had trouble getting.

These aren't going to be my 'go to' techniques for sure.

At one point we were doing an entry on the open side(turning your back to uke) with an elbow strike to his stomach with the thought that this will bend them over some. Reach up and grab the head/neck. Pull down and slide back and down with the same side foot for the throw. I was chuckling because I just did something very similar in one of Jim's classes at North Shore Aikikai.

My partner for this head throw was a guy who is very tentative on the mat. I do have to say though that his side training in judo is helping his aikido a lot. He was concerned on the throw because it looks like your affecting the head/neck area in a bad way. Really, all nage is doing is supporting uke so his head doesn't impact the mat. So I worked with him on his ukemi a bit. When he first started out he was falling sideways because he was afraid of the ukemi. By the end I had him going more head over heals. Because of all the focus on the ukemi, I tried improving mine as well. After a while of taking ukemi I started putting my arm down sooner for a smoother ride.

At the end he had us practicing some touchless throw which is basically moretetori kokyuho but you move before the contact. In reality I don't think you'd ever get away with doing this in a real situation. The natural reaction of someone with intent is just going to crash into you.... not follow the arm like a hypnotized lemming. Still... it's fun to practice and very flowy which I like.

It's also my belief that an untrained person is not going to flinch when you wave a hand at their face. Most people don't have the reactions a trained person has. In a real situation you'd have to make some light contact for an atemi.

Every time we have a test as we did recently at Shodokan, the teachers get a little feedback. This is why the previous classes I've been seeing on Sunday's have had a lot of entering training. Although this has never been an issue for me, more training couldn't hurt. I only wish we'd do some test techniques once in a while.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Speeding Up a Bit

Went to North Shore Aikikai Monday night. Jim had Roger and I speed up a bit on a couple of techniques. I think for me the practice was good because I got a chance to attempt techniques moving at a better speed. For Roger (my partner that night) he got the same benefit but also I think Jim was trying to get him to think less and do the technique more smoothly.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Practice on Entering

Peter had us working on responses to shomenuchi that requires an irimi. Seems like he's hammering this home the past couple weeks, trying to get people to not do tenshin (stepping back off the line) as a first reponse to an attack. It typically isn't my first response but it never hurts to practice.

Also included was attacks from unexpected sides. So uke's choice as to which hand he is going to attack with. It's up to nage to adjust. This is all meant for freestyle practice.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Test Night For Other People

We had a test night tonight. We had a 5th kyu test and a 3rd kyu test. 5th kyu test was relatively uneventful. He did a good job. The 3rd kyu test went well also. They shouldn't have involved me I guess.

At the end of the test we had a quick freestyle with 2 ukes. Myself and Chris. Since the tester has been around quite a while I decided to telegraph my attacks a lot less. Too often people make it quite obvious what the attack is going to be. Peter has us practice this on Sunday mornings. The tester has been around a LONG time so I figured it was ok. He was doing fine and then I did a shomen attack..... and hit him in the head. My hand impacted the top of his head, slid down to hit his shoulder. I pulled the strike as soon as I realize he let it go. I was surprised he didn't do something with the attack. He was alone and had already gotten rid of his uke.

My thought was ... ah crap.. he actually let me hit him. At least you can't say that my attack wasn't committed.

After the test he did mention that he didn't realize he was going to do a freestyle which means that he probably didn't spend much time working on it. He did fine though.

I have no doubt that both testers passed.

Maybe if I can continue seeing test techniques in classes and work a bit after class I'll be ready to test the next time one rolls around.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Best Student in Class Last Night

Well..... I was the only student in class last night. By some weird fluke, lots of people got sidelined and were unable to make it.... so it was just me with Jim teaching.

Jim was kind enough to go over the 2nd kyu test with me some. Seems like there are some things that I need to do different. Unfortunately, imbedding them into muscle memory will take some time.

One of the differences was that for kaitenage ura.... I was stepping behind uke before the throw. The way Jim had me doing it showed that it is sort of an unnecessary step. You can tenkan on the foot taking uke with you and throw along a single line defined by uke's approach.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Sunday Morning

Peter had a good class. We worked a bit on some freestyle with limited attacks. We did a few techniques. All a around, quite a good class.

There were was one person in class who was constantly doing tanshin step which means stepping back. After seeing this Peter stressed entering for techniques. In retrospect I was pretty much entering every time myself but the conversation made me think about it.

After class I grabbed Chris to ask him about a couple of the test techniques I will have to do for a 2nd kyu test. One was a relatively easy once I saw it. The other, I always had a little trouble with because the hands can be a bit fiddly.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Friday Night Class

What did we do this class?

We started out with the 31 step jo-kata. Did that for a while. Then we want on to do a few different techniques. Nope... nothing related to anyone's test prep. Just techniques. Fun class.

In any case it was nice to see Bob teaching a class again. I hadn't seen him in a while. Could be he's been busy or he's just there on nights I'm not. Hopefully, I'll see him teaching again some time.