Sunday, March 26, 2017

POW!!!! BAMM!!!!

Aren't those the noises you'd see in the batman tv show?  Sure are.  This is what Aikido was like this morning.

Peter was teaching a nice class.  He was focusing us on henka waza.  At one point we were starting with tsuki kotagaeshi and changing it into other things.  So I have David (a 3rd kyu) as a partner.  David isn't new but he can be a little random sometimes.  Most of the time he focuses on stuff really well and picks stuff up pretty fast.

For whatever reason, when David came in to strike he leaned his head way down.  While I was doing my tenkan and grabbing the top of his wrist I must have had my arm bent a little.  Between his head being down and my bent elbow, I solidly connected my elbow with his face.  It was a real solid hit.  Didn't hurt my elbow.... apparently didn't hurt David at all.  I caught him just under the eye.  Right on that bony ridge.  Left a small mark.  I ran off the mat and fetched an ice pack for him and had him chill out for a few minutes while I kept half an eye on him.  It's not bad enough that I managed to hit a fellow student.... he's about 15 years old.

I apologized profusely to him.  Then when his mother came to drive him home I let her know so she could keep an eye on him.  It really wasn't painful for him but I still felt bad.  I also suggested to him that when striking he not over commit quite so much.  If he were striking more realistically, his head would never have been there.

He finished out class no problem.

The other Chris showed up to class this morning.  He was looking for kazushi and when he couldn't find it, rather than searching for it he would use an atemi to create it.  Obviously I have no problem with atemi but really... we should be looking for other answers first and add the atemii later.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Poof .... Another Week Went By

Was thinking about the last Friday night class a lot and I think I may know a way that I can get Bob's kaitenage to work for me.  And the thing is.... he may have been doing it and I never saw it.  I still don't think that would be my "go to" version but I am going to noodle around with it more to see what I can get out of it.

So It's been an interesting week.  Monday night, Rob taught and I was psyched to do a bunch of ikkyo again.  By the end of class I was making a lot of improvements.  I still don't have it down probably but I'm getting a lot more right about it.

Friday night this week Chris taught.  I like occasional cross training.  There is a lot to learn from other arts.  Chris has been cross training in Arnis for a while now.  I think it's really good for him.

However, I'm not sure what possessed him to spend an entire Aikido class teaching Arnis to us.  This is the second time that he incorporated Arnis within an Aikido class.  I think it's because he's been training in Aikido so long he finds the Arnis new and interesting.  For me though.... I find the aikido I'm striving to learn new and interesting.  Heck.... I'm learning ikkyo again.

So we worked on Arnis knife defenses mostly Friday night.  Not much to say about it.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Another Week??

Don't know how the week got away from me.  Sunday, Peter taught a good class.  At the end he wanted Chris and I to throw each other and practice breakfalls.  Chris really needs the practice so it wasn't a bad idea.  At one point he was getting more comfortable with them.  Then lately he's been tentative again.  If he's interested in learning to be comfortable again I'm happy to work with him on it as much as he likes.

After class, Peter(the student) and I worked on his breakfalls together.  Nice to see someone hang around to try and learn ukemi.

Monday night was just more confusion as usual.

Tonight, Bob taught.  It was a weird mix of students.  It used to be that Friday night was for advanced students only.  This was to give the more advanced students a chance to really work on stuff with people that can handle it.  I'm of a mixed mind on this.  On one hand it would be nice to be able to not worry so much about hurting folks.  On the other... I like working with less advanced people because when I see something I perceive as wrong, I may question what I'm doing.

Tonight we had Rich in class who is a 4th kyu who doesn't take ukemi well.  We had John who although is a 1st kyu, REALLY doesn't take ukemi well.... some of that is age and a lot of it is that he never really learned proper ukemi.  He barrel rolls a lot.  Always did.  I don't think I've ever seen him take a high fall during practice(at his age, may be a good thing to avoid).  But hell... he really should learn to roll so that he isn't hurting himself.

So at the end of the class Bob has us do a randori practice with this group.  Never a bad thing.  But it was kind of tough when I get Rich in a shihonage and he's in a position for a breakfall.... I have to let him go because he can't take that fall and I'm not going to finish the technique and hurt him.  Then John, just simply doesn't want to take ukemi and fights with you(resists technique).  I try real hard to do things to him that would be effective and not hurt him.  It's a real challenge.  All I want to do is slam him but I can't/won't do that.  Heck during class I had to back off just doing a regular kaitenage to him.  His ukemi just isn't there.  Sometimes it's annoying because he often thinks your technique just sucks.  He doesn't realize that people have to back off to stop from hurting him.  Maybe I should hurt him a little to get him to stop resisting.  I'd rather someone teach him better ukemi instead.  Now that I think about it... when we were doing kaitenage from a wrist grab, you would sweep down and he would let go rather than bend over.  If this happened in a situation, I would change to something else instead.  The other thing I saw him doing was using muscle knowing where you were headed to try and stop you unless you did it the way he wanted you to.  I'm at a point where I understand what is working and what isn't and why.  He just isn't a great partner to work with.

I had two interesting moments for my randori.... one was when it first started, I chose to ignore the first persons attack by suddenly speeding up and changing the mai.  Happened so fast, he didn't have time to react.  So I pass him by and went to the next guy.  The second interesting part.... I had someone behind me and I was dealing with Rich in front of me.  I did something like a kotagaeshi and then twisted inward and ducked under for a kokyunage.  Not bad... but Bob had what I think was a good suggestion.  To let go of Rich and back up(duck under) the person behind me(for ikkyo or something).  That would have gotten me to the outside of the circle and dealt with the guy behind me quicker.  Good idea I think.  I don't think someone in Rich's position could react fast enough to follow me.  Especially since I had the guy behind me to interpose.

We also did some line work earlier in class.  Bob showed his way of doing certain techniques.  I tried very hard to emulate them when they differed.  Still not convinced that's the version I would change to instead of what I'm doing now.  Still, it's nice seeing another point of view.

Also worked on brush blocks to the midsection and face.  A lot of focus on atemi again.



Friday, March 10, 2017

One More Time

Bob couldn't make it tonight so Mr. Mulligan taught the Friday night class.

He picked some techniques and stressed to us how he would like them taught in the future.  This class is the batch of yudansha will be teaching future students.

Was a pretty good class.  One of the things that struck me.  For a yokoment response, Mr. Mulligan asked us to sweep the hand down to our center and take it low.  I saw how that worked to take peoples balance.  However, because of my other training where we attempt to dissect technique, I think I see why.  It's really the ever-expanding circle concept I've seen before but the circle is in a different direction/orientation.  Very cool.

Mr. Mulligan was kind enough to use each of us for various demos.  He had me lead people through the 31 jo kata.

At one point Mr. Mulligan had us practicing with uke moving in from a distance quickly to deliver a roundhouse(yokomen).  The entry he wanted us to do though is not the first I'd think to do.  A little more challenging.  It's the one where you enter inside the strike and turn your back to uke.  I got some soft throws in from this position.  A couple of kokyunage.  Kotagaeshi.  A hold from behind.  Then at one point I fumbled what I was doing, smoothly went into a sankyo instead.... which uke turned into (arm behind the back) so I used that to pull him down.  To me that is a big part of aikido.... make lemonade out of lemons.  You need to be able to flow from one thing to another.


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

What Did We Do??

Ok.. it's been another whole day so I don't remember exactly what we were doing in class on Monday.  What I do remember is working with Joe at one point for his test.  He's got a 1st kyu test up next.  Not soon but it doesn't hurt to work on stuff.

In a sense the 1st kyu test can be daunting for some people because there is a lot of freedom in what you can do for techniques.  You get that feeling of... what do I do.  So I did a few techniques at one point.  Then he did a bunch.  Helps to see stuff to get the mind churning away.  I also suggested to him that he try different ways to enter.  That will often get you to do a technique you weren't thinking about.



Monday, March 06, 2017

Sunday Morning Practice

I came in a good 20 minutes early so I had plenty of time to wrestle my hakama on.  Peter dislikes students getting on the mat late.  So I get there and Peter is cleaning something so I join in and start cleaning.... then I start cleaning the kamiza.  By the time I finished, I realize that everyone had already headed to the dressing room and now I'm running late.  Putting the hakama slowed me down a little so I get waved in during stretching.

I remembered how Bob was suggesting I tie it.  His way which he said he learned from Sekiya Sensei was easy enough for me to remember.  I actually like some aspects of it.  Glad I got over my impatience and learned something when he tried to show it to me.  Can't remember the little finishing knot at the end but one thing at a time.

Peter had us doing mostly cross handed grab for an attack.  We did a bunch of stuff that all made sense to me.  Then he found his way into a hip throw I didn't get.  I found my way into several hip throws but none of them were the one he showed.  It's so hard to think on Sunday morning.  Just not awake yet.

I had one amusing thing happen.  Peter (the student) has a healing shoulder that he wants people to watch out for.  So he has it marked off with red tape.  So, when I do kaitenage on that side I don't lever his arm up.  Instead, I'll tuck his arm to his hip and push his hip.  Twice, when he took the ukemi, he didn't stay ahead of me and tumbled to the ground.  He didn't take ukemi.  He just let himself get pushed to the ground.  So, on the next round I stopped so he could have some time to take ukemi.  On that one he did fine and rolled out.... but then told me that my technique had a gap where I paused.  I internally shook my head.  I paused so he would take proper ukemi.  I mentioned this to him.  I told him he should try and keep up with the (no so fast pace) of the technique.

So here you have a case of someone who has been around a while and still had zero sensitivity for ukemi.  We really need to teach people ukemi.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Another Quiet Friday

For a moment I thought I was going to be the only person showing.... eventually, a couple more people floated in.

Bob was teaching tonight.  He saw my horrible attempt at tying up my hakama and showed me what he does.  At first I was mildly annoyed but I got over it and after a while I realized he was just trying to help me.  I didn't want to undo the thing and start over.  But I did, and it was worth it.

I appreciate anyone trying to help.  I'm pretty sure I can replicate what he showed me however, there is a little knot at the end I'm not sure about.

We did versions of shihonage, wakagatami, udekiminage.  They focused on breaking joints.

The shihonage was the one where you use your arm to lever up uke's arm by getting underneath it.

None of these variations are my style but nothing wrong with practicing them once in a while.  They seemed to fit in well with many of the other students viewpoints on aikido.

There was one thing about the wakagatame..... when one of the other students did it, I could feel this huge hole in his technique.  His technique had nice timing and flowed awesome but never quite got the elbow.  I was taken off balance and then put back on balance as he started for the wakagatame  As a result, I really feel like I could've just stood up.  I didn't in this case, though as he was working on other aspects of the technique.  But... what that did was make me more aware of what I was doing.  I tried to make sure I didn't have the same hole.

Then... when he went to do the udekiminage he was doing a different variation than the one being shown.  He was doing the one where you throw by applying force to the shoulder and not the elbow.  When Bob suggested he try it the other way, he attempted to get the elbow and then totally stopped again.  Not sure if he stopped because he gave up trying or he just couldn't do it.  In any event, the couple times he did get it on the elbow he didn't apply any pressure whatsoever.

I enjoy working with the guy on the mat but now that I think about it, he was bailing on the wakagatame.  We'd start with an ikkyo like beginning.  Rather than moving with nage a bit he would just collapse on the floor.  Made it hard/impossible to do the rest of the technique.  Now,, if that happened in a real situation you would just say great I'm done.  But in class we are trying to practice a given technique.  It would be nice to be able to get to it.