Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Less Is More

Rob taught Monday night.  We had a good class.  Did some stuff that would be on Jeff's 5th kyu test.

It's always good to go back to some of these more basic techniques.  I'm looking at them with a different eye.  Rob had us doing tenchinage.  I must have seen many versions over the years.

One of the versions involves entering keeping the sky hand close to uke and turning your hips for the throw.  I noticed something right off.  That uke is able to just lean right in.  I had a tendency to pull uke into me.  This is happening for perhaps a couple of different reasons.  One is that by not keeping extension on the sky hand, I'm pulling uke there.  Another thought is to find the spot that uke can't line up and resist the sky hand.

Rob also had me practicing to make sure my earth hand was being put in the right spot.

After we did the version of this where uke is resisting the throw by pushing forward the whole time.  We are supposed turn our hips and let them fly.  For that night I found myself pushing also with the sky hand.  Matt tends do that sort of thing with some techniques.  In this one though.... it isn't appropriate.  Rob showed the technique with and without the push.  I could clearly feel the push and it gave me something to push against.  When he didn't push, you simply fall.  This is the case of less is more.

Such simple techniques look different to me now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


So Rob taught last night.  Not sure if he was having pity on my left knee or it was just time to do some basic stuff for their newer student Jeff but it was sort of a simple class.

We did a nice round of stretching and warmed up with some ukemi practice.

We did some tai no henko.  This is the "sort of simple" part.  You could play with this for a while.  The focus was on trying to allow/force uke to keep a nice solid grip.  In a lot of videos you see the grip shredding.  I can easily do this exercise without using strength.  However, the trick is doing it without shredding the grip.

It seems like the initial angle of the grab can determine in a major way whether the grip will shred.  So, you have to present the hand/wrist at the correct angle.  Oddly enough, it's the simplest, most natural angle there is.  You end up with a grip across the palm somewhat diagonal.  If uke has something that looks like a sankyo then you have the wrong grip.  As soon as you tenkan it will shred.

Then we moved on to shihonage.  I saw the version Rob did for his demo so I tried to do that one as I had Jeff as my partner and I wanted him to learn it the way it was being taught.  So Jeff got my version of what Rob was doing.  Hopefully it was close enough to help him make forward progress.  For the most part I thought he did well enough.  He needs tons of practice in basic techniques and controls at this point.  He needs to build up the muscle memory that we all have.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Katemaenuchi That Was Actually Fun

Peter started us off doing katemenuchi techniques.  I generally don't enjoy this particular attack.  It's actually a likely one.  Someone grabs your shoulder/collar with one hand while they try to punch you in the face repeatedly.

Peter had some techniques for this that were actually fun.  Nothing was amazing.... it was just flowy.  He went from one technique to the next and had us repeat him.

Tony was his usual unpredictable self.  I was setting myself up for a roll from a particular technique.  Tony never let go of my wrist.  So I'm midway into a roll and I can't reach out as my hand is trapped.  At this point there is not much I can do, so I instinctively curled up into a tight little ball and rolled starting past my shoulder.  From then on I knew he was holding on so I just did breakfalls as that was easier.

Did Some Bokken Friday Night

We did a few things and then Bob had us doing bokken exercises.  He was moving us along from one to the next pretty fast but by the end I had more or less caught up.

Great class.  There is a certain focus you get when facing certain students.  Some are a little unpredictable with regards to speed or the path of their blade.  If nothing else I make sure I don't get hit.

There was one series we were supposed to do and I blanked out, but I didn't just stand there.  I deflected the incoming attack and attacked back.  Just not the way we were supposed to.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hello My Little Friend

Went to North Shore Aikikai as usual Monday night.

Matt taught.  He did some ikkyo, and went over the uki otoshi we did last week.  Nice to see the same technique a couple of classes in a row.  That's the downside of visiting this dojo only once a week.  They often do repeats of stuff on other days but I don't see it.

After class I tried out a different ukemi.  It's a form of feather fall.  I finally found a video that really does a nice job showing/explaining it.  I did a couple.  It started to improve a little bit.  I think I'm not bending at the waist enough.  You have to really reach for the floor.

I had lost a belt a while back.  I think it's been about a month almost.  It was no big deal.  I have several belts in my gi bag and usually grab the one on top.  This was one of my older belts.  I like having a more worn belt when I go to seminars so people usually figure out they can whomp on me.  After class I mentioned that I lost it and they said that a couple of belts were found a while back.  One of them was mine.  Nice to have the belt back.  It's nice and soft at this point.  Unlike my head which goes "TOK".

Monday, April 13, 2015


What is "Tok".  That's the noise the jo makes when it hits me in the head.

Peter was showing a jo disarm.  He completed the disarm with me on the ground and let the end of the jo dip.  Made a nice noise.  No bruise bump or anything.  Nothing up there to damage anyway.

We started the class off with the 31 jo kata.  Did some interesting techniques.  Peter was doing three of the same technique each with a different entry.

Then we went to jo disarms.

Tony had a new jo.  He bought it from Kingfisher Woodworks.  Nice looking jo.  I'd love to know what diameter it was.  I'm guessing Tony doesn't know.  I'll have to ask him.  Maybe measure it.  The default on Kingfisher's page is diameter doesn't matter (either 15/16ths or 1").

The arnis folks looked like they were doing some interesting knife disarms.  I've watched them before.  They tend to take up space and do stuff close in.  Some of the locks looked familiar.  That's the thing about martial arts.... there are only so many ways a joint will move so regardless of the art the locks look similar.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Friday night, Tony Joanna and I showed with Chris showing up late(as always).  Bob was tied up so I thought we'd have a nice open mat night.  I was wrong.  Joanna goes and asks Chris to teach the class.  This isn't a bad thing except that instead of getting to noodle around with whatever we want we really need to follow his lead.

We did a bunch of techniques, mostly centered around a katemenuchi attack.

There were two fun parts of the night.  One was when he said we could do whatever we wanted and I worked with the uki-otoshi (that thing Matt made up ;) the other night  ).  As soon as I did it, Chris says..... that has Matt D's fingerprints all over it.  He's right.  All the action is in your center with a throw completed by moving your center and letting uke just fall down.

The other funny was when Joanna grabbed me.  She tends to be talkative during class and not always about aikido.  This time she grabs me and then turns around facing Tony and Chris and starts talking about something.  I wait... still talking... wait more.... nothing... wait a little more.  She's still talking to them.  So I reach out with my hand and push her head.  She ignores it and continues to talk.  I push her head again and she's still talking to them and paying no attention to me.  So then I took the hand that was grabbing at my shoulder, rotate it right on the shoulder and do a nikkyo. 

End of discussion.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

You Just Made That Up Didn't You??

I went to NSA Monday night.  Matt taught.  We focused a bit on doing wobble rolls for ukemi.  Trying to bring Jeff along.  It's always good to practice too.

We did some unrecognizable techniques.  One I swear Matt just made up.  That doesn't mean it wasn't effective, or fun..... it just seemed like something he made up.

Uke does a tsuki.  Nage scoots back to the open side at a 45 degree angle but not too far.  Assume uke is striking with the right hand for my description.  You use your left hand to come down from the shoulder and under the arm.  You can actually lock the shoulder that way.  As you are doing this the right hand is on the wrist/hand of uke.  Both hands move down.  You are drawing uke a bit over his toes and moving down at the same time.  the left arm then not only locks up the shoulder but provides some back pressure.  Uke is almost leaning on nage at this point.  Then nage will put his left knee down while bringing both hands down.  Matt does it in what I call his ole' finish.  Uke just goes right by.  There is actually a hip bump with your free hand if you want it.

Now in a self defense situation I wonder about the wisdom of going to the open side like that.  If anything on the throw goes wrong you are toast.  You're open to attack from the other hand, your crotch is exposed, you're down on one knee....etc.

That all being said.  It's a very fun throw with interesting aiki principles.  Toward the end there I was starting to get some of it right.

I still have feather falling ukemi stuck in my brain.  It's been a while that I've worked on it.  I saw a video tonight that really explained it well.  I may give it a shot after class some time.

Monday, April 06, 2015

No Class Sunday?

Too many times I have gone to the dojo to find it closed.  So, I stayed home on Sunday since it was Easter.  I don't actually celebrate Easter but other people do.

I did try and send an email much earlier looking for info as to whether we'd be open but I never got a reply.

I'm hoping I didn't miss an actual class.