Thursday, August 30, 2012

Whole Bunch of Classes

Family went away so I managed to get to 5 classes so far this week(in four days). It's been a very nice aikido blur.

Last night was a workout and a half since I went to two classes. First class was at Shotokan. Was pretty much a run of taiotoshi from different positions. So that was excellent as far as I was concerned. I could do that for weeks on end and not get sick of it. It was however a big workout. Nice to have that for a change. The warm weather has slowed the pace of classes down but I was able to move from partner to partner and keep a nice pace going with each of them.

At one point I got a rest working with a guy named Richard. He's an unusal person to say the least. He's older, comes to aikido and doesn't seem to absorb tons at once but was on a pace to slowly getting better. He actually has really nice hip throws as far as positioning goes. He started taking judo and it seems like ever since he doesn't want to take ukemi. Not even a roll. He will attempt to hop out of techniques. I talked to him several times over the past couple classes I've seen him. Trying to hop away and not roll is how you get hurt. I sprained my ankle doing something similar once. So I nagged him until he started rolling out of the taiotoshi. When he was ready I threw him for a breakfall. He fell well and got up and said that it felt ok. I told him he did a great job on the ukemi. He told me that he didn't really do anything. Then he asked... is it supposed to be that hard a fall? I answered jokingly... "when I throw it is". So I dialed it back a bit and we practiced a short while longer. By the time we were done I had him doing pretty well at the technique. He wasn't getting the pull up at the end but everything else was getting better. He was even starting to use his body and timing the throw with his drop.

We also did some responses to headlocks. One was to reach back with the inside hand and use the blade of your hand to the spot under the nose to scrape uke up and back away from you as you stand up out of the headlock. Another was to step in front of uke and pull him over your opposite shoulder in a taiotoshi/seoinage kind of throw.

Then.... I went on to North Shore Aikikai. Rob taught last night. We warmed up with a few line throws. Then we moved on to partners. There were two similar techniques that stick out my mind.

One starts off similar to kaitenage. You slide in with one foot, the other foot comes forward and shoots back to the other side of uke. You want to keep extension, use the 'kaitenage' arm as a lever and push that over as you place your 'heavy' hand on the opposite shoulder and pull him past you as you pivot out of the way.

We then did a shortened version of this from a yokomen attack and stepping in immediately for the throw. I really like this quick throw as I can see how fast it can be in a freestyle situation. We also practiced getting into someone's blind spot as they are taking their ukemi so as they get up and attack again you are in a good place. I was not placing my self in an optimum position. Need work on that.

Between the two classes last night I was fairly wiped out.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Big Workout

Friday night I was at Shodokaans class. Got a terrific workout. Why? We did a lot of knife disarming techniques. Mr. Mulligan had us cycle through partners a couple of times. For most of the class I was paired up with a guy who likes to practice with resistance.

At this point, I kind of like knife disarms with some resistance. More than a couple of times it degenerated into a judo/jujitsu/wrestling match on the floor. I wasn't helping matters when early on my uke who has his back on the mat decides to grab his knife in boths hands so I can't easily turn him over and take it from him. My reaction was to put a knee on his face and neck(I didn't put my full weight on him) and use that to help pin him down while I used my two hands to free the knife. So much for being gentle.

Although each time I was a bad boy and went to the ground with my uke I still tried to use very little strength and use leverage and body weight. Worked for me because the next day I had no sore or achy muscles at all.

One of the hardest things I found to deal with was when someone comes at you with a knife in one hand but uses his free hand to initiate contact. You can easily go for the free hand but you won't have control of the knife. The easiest thing to do in that case for me seemed to have me enter. Backing up got me nowhere because the position doesn't change and you aren't in control of the mai when uke is moving in for a stab.

We did practice some actual aikido in between. At one point Mr. Mulligan came over and jokingly told us to stop making it too real.

Monday, August 13, 2012

That Was So Cool!

So I may have seen this video in the past but it didn't click how cool it was until I tried it in class. Tonight's class at North Shore Aikikai had Matt teaching. He had us do some exercises he saw at a Donovan Waite seminar. Then moved on to some jo take away exercises.

Then at the end of class we did this fantastic variation. So Fun! It starts at around 0:14 or so.

You set someone up for a kaitenage like throw but instead spin them around and end up with what seems to me to be a tae waza.

I did a couple decent ones before class was over. I think with some practice this is one of those techniques I could be quite good at. It's a fun throw and a fun ukemi.

This throw is rated.... Super cool.

Sunday Morning New Faces

Sunday brought a surprise. Two of the students that just finished their 8-week introductory course came to class on Sunday. I hope to see them again. It's fun to work with different people. At the beginning of class Peter had me work with them on their ukemi for a short while. We just worked on their forward rolls a little. The girl was quite relaxed but tended to start her hands down in the wrong place which the roll a bit off line. The guy... was having more problems. He needed to really look forward and not off to the side. His focus was so far off to the side that he tended to barrel roll. So they seemed to make some small improvement.

For class Peter mixed us up. Some times we were working with the beginners and sometimes we worked off to the side. Which is perfect.

One thing I noticed right away was that the guy doesn't hesitate his way through techniques. A lot of new people tend to do things step by step. Go to here... stop.. go to there... stop... and so forth. He was doing a lot of things smoothly and continuously. Not always perfect but with a nice fluidity.

At the end of class Peter threw me a few times with a high fall so they could see what they would be doing at some point.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Was I Low Enough??

I managed to get class tonight. Rob taught. Hadn't seen Rob in a while so that was nice.

We did some Kaitenage and some tenchinage. The kaitenage version was interesting. You go under but the other foot then comes back and put behind uke. Then the other foot comes back and then forward in a j-step. At the same time uke is pulled around with a yokomen-like cut. I had trouble incorporating the j-step. When you've been doing something a certain way for so long it takes a lot of concentration to do something else. I started out without the j-step and just collected uke up with a tenkan. Fine... but not what we were trying to practice in class.

For the tenchinage I was trying to get unreasonably low for Rob. Rob stresses the use of flexibility(if you have it).

I saw lots less hesitation in one of my partners. He tends to stand there and overthink. Not tonight.