Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Dogs Name Was Indiana

There is a test scheduled for Friday this week.  One of the testers is the beginner I mentioned in an earlier post.  I'll likely be his uke for the test.  The guy who originally volunteered, really has somewhere else to be.  The instructor suggested we go over the test at the end of class.  While we are running through it there are two experienced students watching and constantly offering corrections.  Too many in my mind.  I hinted that they were giving too many corrections.  I think my hint was lost on them.

Overall he was doing a lot of things really well for a 5th kyu test.  If it were just the two of us in the corner I might have mentioned one or two things at most to tweak and let him just practice.  When you give someone 20 corrections from the peanut gallery it isn't helpful at this stage.  It's hard enough remembering the techniques when you are starting out. 

Perhaps some people would disagree.  If someone develops muscle memory for a mistake then it's all the more difficult to make adjustments.  I get that but I think there is a good balance there between corrections and letting someone just do repetitions.  Isn't that what they mean by "polishing".

The beginner is catching on fast.  I know he is watching me.  At one point I altered my position when he came in for a grab because I didn't like where he was grabbing.  By moving the target, he was forced to lean forward a little when I started my technique.  He noticed this.  Since I know he's watching, I try to make the techniques as plain as day.  I do turnovers like he would be doing on a test rather than other variations of turnovers.  etc.

For some reason he came in really fast for one attack.  Without thinking I sped up to blend and match his speed but I slowed it down right before the throw.  I'm unsure if his ukemi was up to it.  I'd rather err on the side of keeping him safe.  The more I work with him the better feel I'll get for where he is at for ukemi.

One of the other testers is an old time judo guy Tony.  He's going for his 1st kyu.  He's grabbing Chris for a partner.  Interesting match up.  Chris is always a little nervous around Tony (understandably so).  Often times in practice when Tony loses track of things he just responds with a judo throw.  If you're not ready for it, or on your toes ukemi-wise, it can be a bad situation.  I've worked with him for so long that I know that if the throw is udekiminage ura, you have a good chance he will just turn it into ippon seionage.  Heck there was one week that he started the seionage throw, rotated and threw me the other way.  That meant that mid air I had to change direction of my fall.  Although a surprise, it was actually fun for me.

This week, Tony finally did something that freaked me out a little.  We were doing shihonage and he decides to reap me.  Now.... the reap wasn't the problem.  The problem was that he had my arm extended way out in an unsafe manner for that kind of fall.  When he reaped, he did not let go of the shihonage.  It really sucked as uke.  If he did that to someone more tight in the shoulders he could have injured someone.  Worst still was he actually got some encouragement from someone suggesting he do it more.  This time I made sure I was in a position to breakfall and didn't let my arm come away.  I was a lot more active in my ukemi for the next couple throws.

Here is a funny comment.  This morning in class, Peter asks if there is any part of the test he'd like to go over.  Tony says, he'd like to practice the 5 koshinage.  Everyone in class including Peter just smiles and can barely stop from laughing.  Tony is a koshinage machine.  His timing is freaking perfect.  He doesn't need uke's cooperation.  You can be standing there, just static.  He comes in so low and so smooth, you just go right over him.  I love his koshi.  What he didn't realize is that for the test you need only do 5 koshinage from different attacks.  Since he can do it in his sleep, this isn't part of the test he should concern himself with.  So this morning we practiced other parts of the 1st kyu test.

Buddy showed up for this mornings class.  You can tell by the abrasions on my arm.  :)
Buddy was trying to grab me for a technique so hard that he scraped a bit of skin off my arm.  I really don't mind it actually.  No one has done that in a while.

Buddy has to use aikido in his job once in a while and treats every throw as life or death.  So, he tends to use a lot of muscle in his techniques.  For some of them, he just puts you right down on the ground immediately.  He did a couple this morning that felt great.  A couple others were not so good.  Buddy wants to know when something isn't working so he wants some resistance.  I gave him some this morning.  Unfair to him since I know exactly what is being done to my body and know which way to move but he wants this.  So, there were a few techniques that he couldn't complete.  He tends to do the same thing for me as well.

There is a problem though.  He resists so stiffly, that the ukemi is really rough on him.  I do my best to keep him safe but it's tough when someone is that stiff.

One of the exchanges was funny.  He pulled an Indiana Jones on me.  I had a tanto and his disarm failed.  He took a step back, drew his imaginary firearm and fired center mass all in one practiced motion.


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