Sunday, May 24, 2015

Finally Some Controls Improving

Still Memorial Day weekend but the usual Sunday crew came along with Peter teaching.

Peter had us doing some kaeshiwaza.  We did a few different combinations.  Then we did one where Kotagaeshi leads to nage doing a nikkyo.  We did a couple of rounds of this and then I got tired of moving for people when they don't really have the control.  These folks don't need repetition at this point, they need to polish.  They are all very experienced folks. If it were a beginner I would likely just go along so they can learn the technique.

So even for Peter I was just standing there, sucking up his nikkyo.  I started talking about what was going on with his nikkyo and he noodled around for a bit.  After a little more of my talking about it he made the correct adjustments and then just crushed me.  His nikkyo was 1000 times better.

See, for most people even if you do a sloppy nikkyo, it works.  For me you have to have it just right or I can ignore it.  Which means I can be an excellent person to work with to polish this particular technique.

Tony was getting me every time anyway.  In an odd way but I can't argue with results.  Chris was doing "truck driver arm" which means that you put your arm on top of uke's.  The problem with this method is he drops his weight on the arm which pushes it down.  Assuming I let him push down and don't just push up because I can, this changes the angles on everything and he can never get a nikkyo off on me in this fashion.  He usually changes the nikkyo into a gooseneck version which involves grabbing fingers and so forth.  At times I will feel this pretty strongly as he's good at it.  He said he has to cheat with me.  I told him no..... you don't have to cheat you just have to do it differently.  He made no attempt at making adjustments.  This was not a day Chris was open to learning.

This is what I was talking about in an earlier post.  When his technique didn't work, Chris would just push harder.  Rather than giving me an arm to push against, I'd rather not be there at all.  I'd rather all my aikido technique just work and uke not know exactly what the heck just happened to make them fall down.  In other words, they don't feel me ever pushing them around but rather leading them or causing them to lose balance through technique.

During my mini-lesson I showed how if the elbow is up, the tendency is for uke to move in one direction.  If the elbow down, uke moves in the other direction.  However, if you like you can still pin people in place with these odd angles.  You start off with the hand perpendicular to the wrist for the rotation and then change the angle and cut through their center.  Sort of a curve motion.  That starts the nikkyo that moves them and then pins them in place.

After class I apologized to Peter for interrupting class.  He seemed very receptive to tweaks at the time and was very open to learning my way of thinking on the subject.  Otherwise I would never have tried to adjust everyone's nikkyo.  He said it was excellent that I tried to keep us all honest.

Shodokan folks in general could use polishing with their controls I think.  I'm just tired of moving for bad nikkyo.  For experienced folks who don't need the repetition I think I'll start being more resistant.

Ignoring my interruption, we had a terrific class.

Friday Night Memorial Day Weekend

As one would expect there were just three students to show up.  Bob probably had plans for the long weekend as most people do so he wasn't around to teach.  So we had an open mat night.

Sean wanted to work on his shodan requirements.  So we started out just warming up with a jo kata.  Then we did some taichitori and jotori.

This was all difficult as we hadn't seen many of the weapon disarms lately.  It's been a while for most of us.  So we each remembered what we could.  We didn't do too bad actually.

I would have liked a more ambitious class with lots of throws but Sean was obviously not into it.  When I suggested we move on he opted out and wanted to just do jo kata by himself rather than join Tony and I in doing some easy throws.  So we went back to more weapon disarms so we could do stuff together.

Slow paced class for sure.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Missed Monday But Went Wednesday Night

I missed going to class Monday night but somehow made it to Wednesday night.  I would have loved to do a double and go to an early class as well but that's impossible.  So I went to the later class at North Shore Aikikai.

They have a new student starting up recently.  He has a background in some other hard arts and seems to be picking stuff up very fast.  Very fun to work with.

I tried a couple of feather falls after class and didn't manage to repeat the 2 soft ones that I did last class.  Don't get me wrong.... the falls aren't loud or huge impact.  But the two I did before were whisper quiet with no impact whatsoever.  I'd like to repeat those.

During class we did some nikkyo, kotagaeshi, and kokyunage.  The pins at this dojo are absolutely killer.  Matt really makes sure that everyone knows how to pin well.

I worked with Joe for nikkyo.  Joe's nikkyo was very good.  I had a realization come to the foreground while working with him.  If someone doesn't do nikkyo correctly I can use my whole body to absorb it somehow.   One of the things I often see is that when someone is doing nikkyo on me and it's not working, they tend to keep doing whatever they are doing and try just pushing harder.  Most often, it's not about doing it harder.  It's about the technique.  Some times uke's elbow is too high or too low.  Some times it may not work because of the distance between uke and nage.  How the nikkyo hand is gripped.  Whether nage is supporting uke's wrist.  It's about the technique needing adjustment.  It's not about pushing harder.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Some Success

Peter gave a great class Sunday morning.  We warmed up just each of us doing whatever we liked with the jo..  Then we did some kaeshiwaza.

Last week while we did some of this I remembered something Peter said and reminded him about it.  For one particular response, once you start the reversal, you end up in a situation similar to a morotetori attack.  Once you think of it that way all kinds of possibilities open up.

So this week, Peter had us do a moretetori technique and then followed it up with a kaeshiwaza version.

The best part though was after class.  I actually did 2 proper feather falls.  They were whisper quiet and low impact.  The only thing I really changed was that I relaxed more for the fall.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fun Wednesday Night

Got to a class at Shodokan on Wednesday night.  I wish I could get there more often those nights as this is the night that Mr. Mulligan teaches.

We did some kokyunage.

Did a flavor of kotemawashi.that looked like this....

One of the kokyunage I had terrible trouble with until the end.  I was getting it more correct just as we moved on to another technique.

A new person came in to watch a class.  I believe she expressed interest in joining.  I just hope we don't lose her before we scrape together a beginners class.

One of the things Shodokan does.... for good or bad is to have a separate class just for beginners.  They are taught the basics of behavior on the mat, terminology, basic ukemi and aikido techniques.
After 8 weeks or so they are moved into the regular classes.  It's a great idea.  The downside to it is that people are told to wait until next month, over and over, until a beginners class can be formed.

There just aren't that many people interested in learning aikido popping up at once.  So at times people are pushed off for months at a time.  Some people go away, some go elsewhere for their aikido.  Hopefully, this girl will be patient.  I think the concept of a separate class isn't a bad thing but if no one joins up, I see no reason to not start it and grab someone out of the standard class to help out.  Of course.... it's not my call, so all I can do is watch.

I know I like working with beginners.  They give you that natural response.  Also, since they are learning basic stuff first, it gives you a chance to practice the basics.  I swear that most of the people I encounter on the mat need help with their controls.  We could all use some refreshers.

My last class at NSA we did nothing but Tenchinage for a whole class.  Weird thing is.... I wasn't done noodling around with it yet.  Maybe after a few years of playing with it, I'll be happy.  Maybe not.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Another Sunday Morning

Had a great class this morning.  Tony wasn't around but Buddy showed up.  I made certain not to push Buddy too hard.  I'd like him to come more often and I want to make sure we practice in a way that he can handle.  His ukemi is definitely better.

Speaking of tough ukemi..... Friday night we had a class where we were supposed to do something from a two handed grab.  I did an irimi tankan, broke uke's grip so I could get an ikkyo and then raised uke up and down in what I thought was a small arc.  I did this with Dave because he's been around a while and is in terrific physical shape.  He's been practicing longer than me.  Something about the throw wasn't right.  I'm not sure if I brought him down in too much of an arc.... I thought he could just simply take a simple sideways breakfall.  Dave was pulled right off his feet and came around at a bit of an angle for the breakfall.  I'm not sure, but I don't think I pulled him that far off the line.  In any case, it didn't look like a comfortable fall.  Made me cringe. 

I was doing something like this.

Not anything I was shooting for when the technique started.... it just made sense to me at the time.

Friday night was funny because it started off with tenchinage.  This is the technique that NSA did on Monday night.  Sometimes the dojos channel each other.  We won't do a technique for a long while then bam... they do the same one in the same week.   It's really interesting as I may attempt to apply something I liked from one class in the next.

Anyway.... back to this morning....
We did some kaeashiwaza that was fun.  We found all kinds of replies.  The attack was yokomenuchi and uke was supposed to try for a shihonage.  We did a couple of different entries to do the reversals.  The most common was an irimi tankan.

In honor of Tony who was missing I found a couple of his favorites including aiki-otoshi