Friday, June 02, 2017

Had A Great Class Tonight

There have been many excellent classes since I last posted.

Tonight's class was great.  Why?  Cause I taught it.  Can't complain about the teaching.  Well.... I suppose I could.  We only had 4 people show tonight.  Everyone else was busy or otherwise occupied.  I wish there were more regulars coming Friday nights but life gets busy.  Especially when you have a family.

2 of the other folks started aikido before me, have seniority and are also Shodan.  (although I may have more time on the mat as I am more consistent).  The last guy is 1st kyu but was doing martial arts decades before I ever thought to start.  Despite this they all asked if I would teach a class tonight, so I obliged.

When I asked what kinds of things they would like to look at I got person asked for no breakfalls... she wasn't up for it.  So I asked if they would like to see something different.

We warmed up stretching.... then I had them do an exercise I first saw at a NY dojo for warm ups.  Sort of a hanmi handache.  At some point I think I had seen this at NSA as well.  You offer your hand while on live toes.  When they grab, you lead with your elbow and draw it across your body.  Then you flip your arm over.  This gives uke a feeling of being drawn forward and down.  Great for rolling out warm ups.

After we were warmed up I had everyone working on j-steps.  Pretty much everyone at Shodokan...... Everyone!   Is not doing a real j-step.  Annoys the crap out of me.  I mentioned it once or twice over the years to teachers.  So.... I showed everyone a j-step.... had them do tsuki sumi-otoshi with an actual j-step.  Got everyone thinking hard about it because they are all fighting muscle memory on that one.  The other footwork is fine if that's what you are shooting for.  I just told them that if they are going for a j-step they should be mindful.

I had them do the same tsuki attack.  I entered the same way.... had them do a j-step, pull uke around and then go under the arm taking a sankyo.  Then run the sankyo up their center for the throw.  Simple.... but has the same j-step footwork.

Did a technique that I picked up at NSA.  I don't know if it has a different name but it's like a jodan tsuki kaitenage.  You lean forward a bit to help blend with the incoming strike.  Using the opposite hand(left on right), bring the strike up almost above your head.  You are attempting to draw uke forward.  The other hand goes up at the same time and reaches for the same shoulder.  The should hand tries to draw uke up, you then push the punching arm down(at about 45 degrees to the body) and up again behind uke.  (The initial down is to stop people's shoulders from binding up.)  Sliding in pivoting continuing to push.  Uke will roll out.  It's a fun technique.  The point of it is that you never actually grab..... you just continue to push with extension.

After that I wanted to keep the same feeling.  So... For the next technique.  I started out with a wrist grab to uchi kaitenage.  The difference is that after you go under you step behind across uke's back and do a kaitenage.  After they got that feeling we changed it so the entry is the same but instead of cutting down..... you cut yokomen and keep entering on the other side.  While you do this you can push the arm similar to the other technique we were doing.  The hardest part for me is making sure I continue to enter to stay in uke's blind spot.

These last couple techniques were practiced at NSA regularly for a while.   They've moved on to other interesting stuff.

We also did some techniques where the hand goes to the top of the head....saw lots of this in Donovan Waite Seminars in the past.

Then at the end of class we separated off into pairs.  I had them work on 6-7 responses to one attack.  I took Tony as a partner because he can be random and often does judo throws.  I did this so the other person would be comfortable practicing.  She didn't want to work with him when he's unscripted and can do anything.  Often if he's pressed he'll do hip throws or ippon seoi nage.  She didn't want to breakfall.  For the most part, Tony kept it tame... He asked for yokomen.  He did iriminage, kotagaeshi, a couple of kokyunage's, aiki otoshi, udekiminage, etc.  Then for sure he did a couple of hip throws.

Then I ended class as it was a few minutes over.  Bowed us out.

I'm hoping that these advanced folks will take what I said to heart about j-steps.  If you are trying to do one... then do one.  if not, then that's fine.   Be mindful of actually doing the j-step if that's what you intend.  Also hoping that they carry this to the beginners.

After class I pulled a red crash mat out and tried a couple falls on it.  It's like hitting a pillow.  If we do an ukemi class some day and there are newer people learning breakfalls,  I might pull that out.
Would love to teach a class at shodokan on tightening peoples controls and pins, another on the nature of ukemi(it's an active thing not something that is done to you).  The question is..... would the more advanced students find it valuable?  No idea.


At June 03, 2017 1:43 PM, Anonymous Rob said...

Hmmmm that sequence sounds vaguely familiar. Nice job. You must have channeled me because I did a similar class wed nite. A nice way to help the other advanced students understand the importance of this type of practice is to share this important quote. " If you practice at 50 like you did at 30 you will not be practicing at 70. M Sekia. Many of these people are probably at least in their mid 40s and are waking up stiff and healing more slowly.hopefully they get the point. Good luck

At June 04, 2017 9:36 AM, Blogger Scott Zrubek said...

Sounds like a great class!

Do ya'll not normally use crash pads when teaching more advanced ukemi? Or even ukemi to beginners? When I started aikido they pulled out an old queen sized mattress for me to fall onto for about 3 months before I got good enough and confident enough to fall on an unpadded floor.

At June 05, 2017 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on teaching your first class. Sorry I missed it. Is this going to be a regular thing or are you just filling in for a no-show instructor? A J-step is a critical skill. What to the other teachers say when you brought it up? If you have a choice between developing good muscle memory and bad muscle memory I recommend building the good memories.

At June 07, 2017 8:40 AM, Blogger Poxbox said...

Not a regular thing. Instructor that night couldn't be there. First time anyone at Shodokan has asked me to teach. Really it wasn't even Mr. Mulligan that asked, it was my peers. They seemed to enjoy it.

Folks at NSA asked if I wanted to teach long ago, before I even tested for Shodan but I refused. I get too much out of their normal classes for me to want to give that up. In fact, about half the class I taught used stuff I learned at NSA. This is because my aikido more easily meshes with the ideas they pursue. Everyone's aikido is different.


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