Saturday, October 29, 2016

Smaller Class

So Friday nights are supposed to be for the up and coming dan tests prep.  Despite that very few people attended last nights class.  I think there were five of us eventually.  It started with just two of us.  Now normally that would be an ok sized Friday night class but the upcoming tests have people coming more often.

We did some tantotori.  We also did some exercises with jo and bokken.  One bokken exercise in particular I remember doing 11+ years ago at Bob's dojo in Gloucester.  We only did it once but the exercise stuck in my mind for some reason.

Doing weapons gets rid of the complication that one of the people now showing up for the friday night class is a relative beginner.  She can't roll yet.

I think they are starting a beginners class on Tuesday.  Maybe she should join in with them for the rolling portion of the class.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Feeling Better

I'm not sure why but I was not too happy before class today.  Even had thoughts like why am I still practicing.  Maybe it was due to Friday nights experience.  I don't know.

I felt much better after class tonight.  We didn't do much.  Warmed up, did a couple jo techniques.  One is particularly fun.  My partner was this girl Andrea.  She has no qualms about striking with intent so when she has a jo she has my attention.  Unfortunately, she wasn't making a committed strike at first.  She was bringing the jo up horizontally, waiting a bit and then thrusting forward.  Since she knew what direction I was headed, she was even tracking me a bit.

Was good practice for me to get out of the way.  Could use more practice.... also, gave her some pointers on making the jo attack one fluid motion instead of a 1- 2 thing.  She was getting it.  She was getting the jo technique for the most part too.  A little inconsistent but that's just practice.  She was doing great.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

It works better if you're bald

So years back we used to have this visiting sensei come from Japan every year.  One of the exercises he would have the students do is to put a round wooden block on your head.  Then you are supposed to maintain your posture as you attempt to move around the mat, do tai no henko, or even do a technique like kaitinage.  Peter likes doing this kind of practice.  We did way too much of it in this mornings class.  I think if I had less hair it would be easier.  Perhaps when my balding is more complete I'll be able to keep the thing up there.  I do pretty well for moving around but when I have a connection with someone I find it difficult to keep the block on my head.

We then did a couple of other techniques.  Nothing special.

I need to find a seminar to go to.  I don't want to say I'm bored right now but aikido has almost turned into a chore with the upcoming tests.

Next week I think should be a test night.  No idea who is supposed to test.  Actually, I'd really like to know how the test schedule was set.

Explosive movement

No....  Wasn't me.   It was my kid.  We were out an about in town today.  There was a booth set up for the local tkd dojo.  They were letting kids break boards and doing promotions and such.  My daughter  is asked if she wants to break a board.  She says sure.

The chief instructor holds the board, she puts on her mitten for a little padding, takes a stance and pulverized the board with a very fast punch.  The instructor clearly wasn't expecting that much power from a skinny little kid.  What he didn't know is that my daughter has been training in tkd for years now and is very close to a black belt at this point.  The strike was so fast, the speed surprised me actually.  The instructor holding the board actually flinched back as board pieces flew in every direction.  I also heard a couple "wow"s from people nearby.

Of course these were kid boards.  Dried thinner boards that anyone can break with a good punch.  That doesn't take away from her good technique.  More proof that I have her in the right school.  I think her instructors would have been proud of her.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Nights Are Prep Nights

I think Mr. Mulligan asked Bob to teach Friday nights for a while.  Not sure how long he'll be teaching but I'm sure he'll stay at least for the time being while we have all the 1st kyus practicing for their test.  Maybe it's a permanent thing.  No idea.  It's very generous of him to take the class over.  He's been teaching for a couple months maybe.

We actually had a beginner join us on a Friday night.  I think this is excellent.  Up till now, beginners weren't allowed as it was an advanced class night.  I see no reason not to mix the class right now.  People at different levels will practice at their ability.  And if someone wants to really throw the crap out of someone they can grab a more advanced person.  Although, between injuries and lack of ukemi, I can't think of too many people I can just throw without holding back.  More on this later.

I suggested to Bob that I or someone work with the beginner at the beginning of class to try to work on her ukemi a bit.  We can get her rolling hopefully.  He was concerned that it would cut into our shodan prep but I don't think its much of a problem.  I told him I'd be willing to help her.  As far as I know, I'm not slated to test for a while anyway.  In fact, I sometimes wonder if Mr. Mulligan wants me even training at his dojo.  Today he got bent out of shape over a misunderstanding about a check I sent in.  The comment field on the check clearly states that the check was for the purchase of two gis.  It was in small print and hard for some people to read.  But the point is, rather than asking me about it, it was more like an accusation.

Considering my 11+ year past with this dojo, it was kind of insulting.  There was a period of time when I was out of work.  Mr. Mulligan was kind enough to allow me to train for a period of a few months(for free) until I found a job.  After I got my financial footing again,  I started to repay the dojo for the missing months.  It was not expected.  I didn't have to do that.  I did that because I appreciated the help, and I wanted someone else to be able to get the same break I did if they needed it.  I really don't think it was necessary to call me over tonight by giving me the finger and start accusing me of trying to cheat the dojo.  I tried to explain but couldn't get Mr. Mulligan to understand.  I just looked at Bob and pleaded.... "Some help here".  For some reason when Bob told him the same thing I did, he started listening.  The experience was most disappointing.  Once he understood that the check was for two gis and not one gi and dues, I then was called a greedy bastard for buying two gis.  This is his odd way of acknowledging that I didn't do anything wrong.  Some people find it charming.  I find it disrespectful.

Now, If my purchasing two gis is a problem, I would normally volunteer to pick up more for the dojo.  However, my desire to go out of my way was quashed by our conversation.  Not fun.  Not fun at all.

An interesting conversation occurred a week or two ago.  There is a 1st kyu who will be testing for shodan soon in class.  He attended a seminar up north.  When he came back, he came back with a couple cool tachitori techniques.  He did make one comment though.  He was amazed at how good the yudansha took ukemi when called upon to take ukemi for demos.  He said they looked fantastic.  He expressed some concern that once he passes the Shodan test that he will attend a seminar and get crushed because he didn't think his ukemi was up for it.  This thought was not lost on Peter.  So the following week, even though the 1st kyu wasn't there, we worked on ukemi a little.  Peter had us doing some breakfalls.  Nothing I need to practice really.  Always willing to work on ukemi though.

One other bit of interesting tonight.  There is this guy named Alex who trains by himself just before aikido starts.  He works out on the wood karate floor.  He's in incredible shape and is often practicing weapons,  If there is ever any trouble I plan on hiding behind him.  He's often taking on impossible poses, and doing insane push-ups.  One of his things the past month or so is to work with an oak staff.  He's pounding the crap out of a support column.  Most of the strikes are fine but he was doing this one strike that was end on.  Sort of acting like a battering ram on the support column.  You could hear it reverberate throughout the whole building.  I suggested to him that maybe he might not want to strike the support column with that much direct force.  If it's cement filled, I have no doubt that he's shattering the cement inside.  He said that maybe he should skip that exercise.  I'm surprised no one's told him to cut the crap.  Bob made a comment a couple weeks back but it wasn't direct enough for Alex to take the hint.

Monday, October 03, 2016

A couple good jo techniques

Went to class at North Shore Aikido.  They know that I will be testing at some point and have mentioned I need brushing up on weapons so we did a couple of Jo waza that I really want to remember.

One was, nage holds the jo.  Uke grabs.  bring uke down and to the left, then around to uke's other side, then post up (uke is holding the jo but is extended upwards) as you tenkan, then throw.

Where this is different than any one I've seen before is that the jo goes from low to other side low and then to high.  What I've seen in the past is jo going from low to high and tenkaning inside or outside after uke is posted up.  Loved the variation he showed.

The second jo technique is when uke does the tsuki, you step a bit off the line to the right.  With your forward hand you blend with the incoming jo.  Run your hand forward along it's length until you get to the right spot and slowly grip giving uke a feeling of being pulled forward in a gently manner( as opposed to snatching the jo and pulling immediately).  So you make contact and close your hand in front of you and turn your hips, pulling uke forward and hopefully past you some.  Then bring the jo up in an arc, flipping it around using your other hand to push forward for the throw along with moving your whole body forward.

And.... we did some other stuff.  But these are the two I really liked and am going to try and remember.