Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nothing Special

The beginner over at NSA is coming along well.  She's building up muscle and flexibility with every class.  Matt did a simple but cool technique.  Definitely a fun one for warm up ukemi practice.

The attack was a wrist grab.  You end up leading and then pushing that hand forward and uke takes a forward roll.  I'm not 100% sure I remember how it went though.  Hopefully We'll see it again.

Sunday morning with Peter was good.  We did more work with the jo.  Started with kata and then moved on to jo-disarms.  There is a real simple one I like but we don't practice it.  You can do it from any attack.  You enter placing one hand near the end of the jo and the other way up.  Draw uke forward over his toes a small bit and then bring the jo up and around in a circle over uke's head.  No idea if I saw Matt do this one day or a video or what but I like this one.  It's very direct.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Aikido Beginner and Exploring Principles

Was at class at NSA last night.  For class we did a few of the regular Rob techniques.  I'm still struggling entering deep enough for one in particular.  I'm not sure but after I do a j-step to bring uke around I run out of room and it seems like I can't slide in deeper because my foot is literally stuck.  I can jstep deeper and that helps but I still get stuck.  Sooner or later I'll figure out why this is happening.  I just need more practice.

We had a beginner on the mat last night.  Her very first class.  She seemed quite nice.  It looked like she had a good class.  If she sticks with it I have no doubt that she will have improved flexibility and leg strength.  She looked like she was really working to get up and down off the mat.  I'm hoping she sticks with it.

From what I'm told another pair of students showed up.  A parent/older child showed.  They seemed to have a lot of interest but the late start times didn't work for them.  The NSA folks suggested they check out Shodokan as they have earlier start times.  Maybe I'll see them over there.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Stay Safe

Friday night

Tony and Chris couldn't make class yesterday morning.  Two other people did come aside from myself though.  Sunday morning isn't a popular class.  It's hard for most people to want to get up in the morning and get moving that early on a weekend.

Chris has had a problem with his knee lately.  I've noticed that he has trouble even sitting in seiza.  He was ok for a class Friday night until he was called up for a demo.  The instructor showed a technique where he pinned Chris's foot before the throw down.  Apparently that fall had tweaked something bad enough that Chris had to quit the class.  Thing about this though..... the instructor had him in this position for many seconds before the throw.  Plenty of time to speak up.  Instead of speaking right up Chris stood there and said nothing.  He was mumbling a little and had a finger up as if to signal wait a second.

Part of taking ukemi is keeping yourself safe.  There is no way someone is going to know that a particular throw is going to cause uke a problem unless you speak up or put some tape on something.  If your knee is that bad off, you should protect yourself in some way.  Maybe put some white tape in the shape of an X on the hakima.  Anything to give your partner a hint that something is up.

Taking ukemi does not mean you have to take a beating.  If you're injured, no one expects you to take ukemi you can't handle.  It's up to you however to communicate in some way to your partner.

I feel bad for Chris getting hurt but in my mind he's more responsible for aggravating his injury than anyone else.  I hope he gets better soon.

One of the interesting parts of class were the sword disarms.  I hadn't done this in a while.  The most common disarm was one where you enter to the left(partners right side) and just use your left hand to get at a grip on the handle.  One thing about that disarm that I did remember was once you get a grip and you follow the sword down, you angle the sword away from you by rotating your hand up.  This twist makes it so that your partner can't turn the blade in towards you and cut.  Dave and I were the only ones that I noticed doing this.  I started off by grabbing from the top.  The instructor offered a correction where I need to actually get in below the right hand.  I'm wondering if I just forgot that or I learned it differently from someone else.

After class I spoke to Dave and commented on the twist out.  He said that Serge suggests that not only do you twist out but somehow there is a brace against your partners elbow.  I'm assuming that keeps you safer as well.  I'll have Dave show that to me next time I see him so I can play with it.  Again, Serge is good at keeping safe and forcing uke into a position.  In this case, where a sword is involved it may be very useful to look at what he does.


Sunday class without Chris.....
Peter started us with the 31 jo kata.  Although better, I still don't know it yet.  Also, I'm sure that some of my movements aren't right either (both foot and hand work).  Spending a short time on this every Sunday is helping tons.

Peter had us doing kaeshi waza.  Some were easy and felt natural, some felt alien.  haven't done that in a while.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Had a Few Classes Since My Last Post

Friday night there was an open mat night.  We pretty much just did line techniques for the class.  Chris picked many of them.  Then after a while Mr. Mulligan came over to keep an eye on us.  At one point he asked us to take turns coming up with different kokyunage.  After a while you have difficulty coming up with variations on this.

One of the techniques I did we used to practice quite a bit at the other dojo.  It's more like kaitenage then kokyunage but I slipped it in there anyway.  I was curious if Mr. Mulligan had a comment or take on it.  He didn't say too much about it.  Actually the first person to attack me was Tony.  He came in pretty fast with a punch to my face.  I reacted quick enough to redirect the punch and do the technique.

Chris commented that he thought an atemi was important before the technique.  After a little discussion I found out that he and maybe two other of our senior students are big fans of Serge's Monday night class.  They are convinced that the most effective way to do aikido is Serge's way.

Serge's version of aikido is more about putting uke in a position where he has no choice but to comply or his joint breaks.  To an untrained person however, this means that they have no idea which way to go to relieve the pressure.  Most likely the natural reaction would be to stand there in pain.  Either totally still, collapse at the knees, or fighting/struggling as they don't know what else to do.  Nage is safe but at best may have uke struggle and injure himself.  This flavor of aikido isn't taught by anyone else at the dojo.  I'm curious to see what happens to the dojo as a whole when these 3 high ranking students actually start teaching.

This isn't the flavor of aikido I like.  I'd rather that I unbalance uke and they find themselves on the ground not knowing how they got there.  There are ways to do techniques where uke doesn't feel anything so they don't try to struggle or fight.  That's not the case with everything of course but I prefer this thought while training.  In fact, I'd rather start a technique and if it fails because uke responds, have me move on to a different technique.  This to me is a better result than forcing something to happen.