Monday, June 15, 2015

To The Left, To The Left

I actually managed to get to a Donovan Waite seminar this past weekend.  Fantastic seminar.  It was actually lightly attended which is good in that it means there is plenty of space on the mat.

I may actually edit this post and add more as I remember stuff.

Given the warm temperature it was mostly a laid back class.  Most of the stuff he was doing was very linear.  Uke attacks on a line and you keep uke moving on that same line.  Very minimalist.

We started out with some suwari waza.  Uke would do a shomenuchi attack.  tenkan irimi, bringing uke's hand down and across the front of you.... then reverse it for a kotagaeshi.  We did a couple others from suwari waza with a similar start.

Then we did some deceptively simple throws.  There were three variations for this throw.  All of them similar in that you keep uke moving in a straight line.  Uke goes for a moretetori attack.  You keep your hand high, tenkan irimi and do a roll out arm to throw.

Another one was let them grab and bring it low, Bring it down, up, tenkan irimi, then throw with roll out arm.  The last one was let them grab, tankan, bring it up and throw by bringing it down.  The important part wasn't to collapse anyone or do anything fancy with your hand.  Just simply bring your arm up and down and let timing handle everything.

Then we did another set of throws that kept uke on the same line.  Something like a rodeo throw.  There were a few versions of this.  Then another where it was like a Peter throw where you cast someone out and then suck them in so they tend to want to breakfall.

It's around here that my memory of things is a little wonky.  I somehow managed to get my pinky toe of my left foot stuck between mats during a roll.  The toe twisted and I put my full weight on it.  Totally my fault.  No one did anything strange.  I knew immediately that something wasn't right.  Without even looking down, I bowed to my partners and  left the mat and then looked down to find my toe was at the very least dislocated.  I asked a couple people and found someone who works in ER's.  He said he could help me out so I was fine with that.

We go off to the side and I sit down.  He tells me that it's going to hurt.  So he does his thing and it lines back up with the other toes in a more normal angle.  I had him try again to make sure it was in the right spot.  He said that for most people there is a big pop he feels when these things go back into place.  For me he felt a very small movement.  No difference after the second attempt so we figured it was in the right spot.  It actually didn't really hurt for him to pop it back in.  I'd call it mildly uncomfortable.  What you do is kind of pull it out and move it back into place to get it back into its normal position.

I wrapped one of the dojo ice packs in paper towel and started icing it down and kept it elevated.  Then I taped it to the next toe.  The toe had no strength in it whatsoever.  It hurt to move it.  When I got home I took some ibuprofen to reduce swelling.

The next day I kept off of it for most of the day and just let it heal.  Today there was a lot of improvement.  I now have strength in that toe and can wiggle it.  I'm keeping off it as best I can.  I'm massaging the area to increase blood flow.  I have a hell of a bruise on the top of my foot.

I may be off the mat for a bit while this heals up.  No experience with this kind of thing.  Not sure how long it takes for something like this to heal up.  I hadn't hurt myself on the mat for maybe ten years.  It's been a while.

Despite the toe issue, it was a fantastic seminar.  At times Sensei Waite would come over to give me a correction and I was able to make adjustments.  Then he would look excited because he saw that I was picking it up.  Sometimes he would just look at me and nod.  So either I had it or was at least on the right track for most of the seminar.

Now that I think of it, there was one technique that stood out.  Nikkyo.  We did a nikkyo with a truck driver arm.  That's when you have the hand pinned to the shoulder and the opposite hand comes over on top.  I never liked these because I always felt as though I could push up as much as you push down and I want effortless aikido.  So this is one of the things that I had Sensei Waite correct me on.  I was thinking of someone putting their arm on top and push down.  But it's not like that at all.  The thought was entirely different.  It was more like you line everything up in a straight line, your arms is over and wrapped around and you do something like a side ways step while bowing a bit to bring uke down.  In the past what I would do is try to pull uke in and what that does is drop uke right next to you into your space.  By making a sidestep and bowing you are bringing uke into an empty spot.  As far as effort goes my uke was telling me it was effective and I was barely doing anything.  So, here is an example of a technique I never liked because I didn't realize that there was a better way to make it work.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Another Potential Student

Seems like new aikido students are coming out of the woodwork.  Someone came to watch a class tonight.  She was young.  However, this 16 year old showed incredible patience and watched an entire class.  Most people only stay for about 10 minutes or so.

After she asked a few questions about what she might be learning in the beginning.  I could see her sticking with it.

Mr. Mulligan taught tonight.  He had us do a variation of kaitenage, some shihonage, kottagaeshi, and kokyunage.  The kokyu nage was escaping me until he told me to lower my center(aka bend your knees).  I instantly was able to do it properly.

An old face appeared.  This guy Peter.  He shows up every few years, practices for a while and then disappears again.  He's been doing this longer than I've been around.  I must have seen him maybe 3 different spurts of aikido in the past 10 years.  He's back in class.  He really needs to breathe better in class.  He holds his breath a lot during techniques.  He was getting gassed.  To be fair to him it was a busy class on a hot night but I had no problem keeping up.  If he started breathing better he'd likely be less tired.

Chris also was running out of breath at times.  He looks over at me and says, "You're not even breathing hard".  He uses too much muscle.  He's an excellent partner though.  We were giving each other real feedback during class.  If I didn't get something right, he'd tell me.  Although usually, I can tell when something isn't working.  I may or may not understand what to do about it.  So I try different things until the teacher comes over to fix me.

Great class night.  Hope the new girl starts up.  It's good to have younger folks picking up aikido.  starting at that age, she could be amazing.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Who Knows

Went to class Monday night but at this point it's hard to remember details.  We did some actual techniques again I think.  Got to work with the new folks.  That's always good.

Here is why you must be careful resisting a technique.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Good Feedback

Sunday morning was quite busy.  5 students.  that may not seem like a lot but the Sunday morning class is not well attended.  It's early and most people would rather stay in bed than get up early to work out.  For me it's good because it fits in with my schedule well and I feel good for the rest of the day.

Peter had us warm up by doing some jo exercises.  The thing that mostly stood out was after class broke up, Chris and I worked a little longer on some stuff.  I have been making it a point to give him honest feedback.  He was working on some techniques this morning.  Nice to see he's still working on stuff.  I thought he gave up a while ago.  In previous classes, he would just keep doing the same thing over and over.  Never bothering to change anything.  He was assuming that my not rolling out was because I was just being difficult.  But really, I was trying to give him honest reactions.

When he did a great technique, I had to roll out.  When he did a bad one I just stood there.  A lot of his techniques he tends to disappear right before the throw.  He's gotten into his head that for some techniques you get low and move back before throwing.  That has the net affect of you standing flatfooted with both feet wondering where he had gone off to.

He had one of two techniques down really well though.  The kokyunage he practiced was excellent.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

So Fun

Never mind anything else we did..... we worked on what I would call maki-otoshi.  It's such a fun throw and a fun fall.  I was still tweaking things a bit even as we were moving on to another technique.  We had stayed in it this one a while giving us time to work on stuff.  I started with the though of making it a linear throw where you lead uke forward and high the whole time.

I also had my feet different than the instructor.  Although I would argue that it's still a valid finish.  However, I tried to do it Matt's way.  I was fighting muscle memory.

After a while Matt had us try it the way he was doing it where there is an initial dip for uke and as he comes up, you do the throw.  So the throw is more up and down then out.  I know I'm on the right track when I do the technique, realize that I had my hand in the wrong place and then the instructor tells me the same thing.  It's a good sign.  It means I'm still thinking about my technique.  Still analyzing, and still trying to learn.  I'm not just showing up to class as you would a gym and do a work out.

The last thing that I had to work on was the timing of my drop down.  I was dropping before establishing a good connection with both hands.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Missed Some Class

Monday night I didn't make it because home life got distracting enough it wasn't in my mind.  Friday night I went out to see an improv show.  It was excellent.  Bummer that I missed the Friday night class but I got the impression that had I come, it would have just simply been Tony and I doing an open mat night.

Sunday morning Peter taught.  Great class.  Did more kaeshi waza.  Feeling more tired than usual.  Could be because I hadn't been in class for a week.  As usual, had to take some interesting ukemi when Tony was throwing.  He tends to keep an arm or hand to make you turn your roll into a breakfall.  He also did a bunch of hip throws at one point.  He's just amazing at them.

We tried some resistance with each other.  For me, I didn't use active resistance.  However, if Chris didn't throw me, I just stood there.  That happened a few times.  On my end, Tony stiff armed me, when I was trying to do a technique.  I immediately felt that I couldn't do kotagaeshi without an atemi or muscle, so I changed instantly to a wakagatami.  It didn't require any thought.  I just instantly changed with muscle memory.

Makes me think that this may be why the Tomiki folks don't do much kotagaeshi during competitions.  At least I don't see them very often.  I'm sure they don't allow real atemi.  I don't know their rules though.  I'm just guessing from what I've seen.