Saturday, December 30, 2006

It's all coming together.

At the moment my measuring stick for tegatana is rated on how many steps i make versus how many falls i make and lately it's about half and half, but i'm practicing on it. The main troubles that spring up is speed and that falling isn't 100% stuck in my head yet.

Tegatana spawned some exercises on speed and the size of a step. 3 or 4 small shuffle steps can cover distance much faster than a single lunging step forward. There's a shorter recovery time before the next fall and it can flow right into the next fall. Since a smaller step is faster Pat had us work on evasions with a smaller step, giving tori just a little bit more time to neutralize uke's attack. It was really cool to see just how it worked in nijusan and everywhere else in aikido for that matter. The smaller the action in aikido the more effective the end result.

Today was pretty cool and i think i did well. It must be the belt.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A neat thing to learn.

Pat showed us this cool litte manuver where you can flick an arm away with your fingertips like in tenkai kote gaeshi or shihonage. It's pretty cool that such a small thing can provide big results, i'm sure i could draw some sort of comparison with the rest of aikido with it but today you can build your own.

John's been telling me about some of the things that have been going on with his training down in florida. Neat stuff. He and bryce are fiddlin around with some of the things in hanasu like #1 where uke pushes down and it causes the fall forward step instead of stepping (which was something that had sorta snagged in my head recently). They're also doing some things with being attacked and different angles of attack and John says that's going pretty well.

I picked up Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere finally saturady. I own Secrets of the Samurai (the writer's other book) so i know i'm in for some extremely DRY reading but sheesh, it looks like it's going to be a slow going. Still a good book though. Some neat ideas.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My time at Walmart ain't wasted.

I had some free time at work tonight so i played around with tegatana no kata. I went through it once as normal though the second time through i made sure to slow it down just enough to notice each shift and fall and how falling forward works when turning. I did a bunch of moving forwards and backwards with the ideas we went over saturday that the move will naturally place me to the side instead of straight forward.

Something that sorta stuck out in my head as i went through the kata a few more times is how the way i was doing Shomen te Gatane (the straight hand blade) was affecting that drop forward. I was sorta pushing the arm down/forward and it would cause me to step differently. So i went back and forth trying to figure it out and realized that when i bring my arm all the way up and then fall to the side naturally my arm will drop forward with the rest of my body and it ends up in the right place. I thought it was pretty cool. It sorta makes the arm ilrelevant at points. I was going to start going through the kata again and see at what point whichever arm is being used "exsists" and what points its "not there" but i had to leave for the night.

I'm gonna play around with that tomorrow and see what comes up. No wonder all the higher ups can spend all their time on the yellow belt stuff and learn all kinds of things.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"There's something about that BELT you're wearing....."

I was the only one in class today so i got 2 whole hours of aiki to myself. I noticed in tegatana that with the way i'm currently walking through it my toes tend to point better on the turns than straight forward but that may be because i'm not falling through right. I'm not sure. When my knee is feeling a little less wonky i'll play around with it some more. Pat broke down the steps into shorter and longer ups and downs and showed that the forward and backwards naturally throw you into a diagonal movement.

We did hanasu and Pat asked which one i wanted to work on, which right now seems to be all the even numbered techniques. Since the ABG i've been trying to work on not anticipating which way i'm going and breaking #2 down through different parts of what can come out of it and what movements flow into helped alot.

So, the dreaded rank test! It wasn't as bad as all that, though it did appear in a form i didn't realize until class ended. We worked through 6-10(a&b) a bunch ending each with a pin. I'm still not real clear on which is actual "kata mode" though; each technique with a pin and disengage or 6&7 8&9 and 10&10? Number 9, ude heneri, is one i haven't QUITE gotten a total hang on yet. My arms sorta throw a wrench in the works. But in the end i passed.

Pat asked me what i thought and my reply was more or less that i can do the moves but proficiency seems to be something that weaves in and out of everything i've learned so far. It's hard to define proficiency from my end anyway but i'm more concerned with at least being able to apply the principles (or maybe just understand what the principles behind technique X are). Thankfully it was described to me that it's not uncommon to feel like the higher up i go the less i understand because i'm trying to measure up with what's on down the line than looking at how far i've come so far. On that point i can say that i do atleast feel more capable than i did at gokyu and that can be judged as improvement. On a 1-10 i think i'm at 6 on what i've learned so far. Pat thinks i'm doing good so i'll go along with that!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

That's the way to do it.

Today's class was great, almost everything clicked. My rolls weren't calamities and they didn't feel that way either.. which is a personal best for me. I need to work on nijusan and get a bookmark in my head on doing 6&7 then 8&9 then 10 and 10 for kata mode but i've got the individual stuff down except for 9*edit*. 9 still sticks out because of the way my arms have to be placed but it'll get there. It's nice to be able to actually ALMOST agree with Pat when he blogged that i did good today.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I have 1 and 1 but can't seem to end up with two.

Late post due to a late movie showing.

Ukemi is something i have trouble with. Sometimes i fall right and don't realize it because i feel awkward, and sometime i fall wrong and feel awkward because i (and i'm sure everyone else) realized i fell wrong. It doesn't help when i draw attention to the latter. I was looking forward to the extra ukemi practice but along the way tonight in class i began hitting some major frustration walls. Frustration is something i'm dealing with a lot lately and i hate having it pop up in aikido but the moments where i'm not exactly catching on immediately makes it worse. Afterwards on the ride home i get the chance to reflect on what worked and what i did wrong and what Pat was trying get me to understand.

A major part of my learning of aikido is trying to remind myself of a few points:

1) I'll get better or understand it given enough time so ease up.
2) -=insert technique=- may not have been as bad as i think.
3) everyone else is learning too, maybe not the same thing, but something.

I'm positive that there are more but that's all i can squeeze out of the rock at the moment.

To get back on track, though the execution might not have shown it i did come away from tonight's ukemi practice a little wiser. On my forward falls i'm sorta blank as to a specific thing (other than more practice needed) but on my backward rolls i definatley walked away with something to noodle over. Pat got me to rock back and forth with my knees curled up to my chest and then over my shoulder, so the theory stands that if i start flat on my back then curl up then extend over i should be able to pull them off. Atleast i think so.

That was really the main thing i had in my head tonight. I stumbled through tegatana and hanasu and tonight's chain but i'm writing it off to the after effects of disease wether it's a wuss plea or not. lol. Another thing i have to work with is slowing down and/or keeping the same pace. Most of the night's "toe-stop taoshi" exercises would have worked out better had i not rushed. I have a decent sense of where uke's foot will be but tonight i was caught up in " gotta put my foot down" mode and jumped the gun more often than not.

Overall i so don't feel competent enough to be a green belt, much less a 3rd degree brown which should be right around the corner. Will i ever feel competent in relation to rank? I think i'll be the dumbest feeling black belt ever when that rolls around. And yet, oddly enough, the way my aikido training seems to make everything else but my aikido fall in place nicely is something i wouldn't trade.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

You can step left, or you can step left.

It seems like i muddled through half of class last night. So much stuff going on with school and work it took me a while to actually be there. Tegatana was not even near the top of it's game for me last night.

Hanasu got a re-edit in my thoughts again. I usually think i have the problem of stepping in the wrong place when in actuality (as with everything else in aikido) there is no right or wrong place, just a difference in the way the situation is reacted to. The thought popped in my head that i really like 9 and 10, it seems that stepping off to the side that the mirrored hand grab would come up more often. We also focused on uke grabbing tori at the worst possible moments. That was interesting with how it all comes together. I think tiredness is making me be vauge.

Pat shook up ma'ai some last night. Instead of starting ma'ai off in the comfort zone, we moved in palm to palm and evaded with spider sense already alert. Neatness.

I'm not sure why or how.. but ever since the ABG night with jo throws my falling and rolling have taken a spiral downwards something fierce. Seems like every one is a crash more than a fall. It's something i have GOT to work on.

Looking forward to class saturday.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fire it home!

This weekend was the Aiki Buddy Gathering. It was awesome. There were a lot of things i fumbled through.. some call that learning. Pat wanted me to write down every single thing that happened this weekend but with all the stuff that went on my brain is still sorta smush on it all.

Some things that stand out right now are the extreme differences of pressure that come up when doing a technique. There's the incorrect way of just bully-ing through the motion which i still go through sometimes when a push/pull situation comes up (more on that in a minute) but then there is the eye opeining difference between dead arm weight and a practically feather touch. I know that that may seem an obvious thing but untill Sensei Rich showed me how i can be moved around with a pinky finger and when chris and i did some of the nijusan stuff i didn't even begin to think just how much of an ocean of difference it made. It seems that whenever something like that becomes apparent to me the figurative half full 8oz glass of water that is my brain suddenly gets empty. SO MUCH TO LEARN! And the bonus is that i'm no where near close to dying of old age.

The other thing that came up was the aforementioned push/pull idea. This came up alot when we were doing number 6 and 8 of hanasu. I've been having some trouble with this for the last few weeks but nothing can throw in the monkey wrench quicker than a new idea. We've been doing it where we follow an uke through to the arm turn but starkville does it where uke stops as soon as that contact is made (Just had a question pop up: Why would an uke stop in mid motion if there's no resistance? If he's coming forward at me as i step off the line what would incline him to suddenly change direction when his foot comes down? At the moment it would seem like a extra effort to do that) and then changes direction 45 or so degrees and walk in that direction. It's a cool switch from the norm but when i was trying to re-orient myself with uke i ended up pulling outward when i should have been pushing. Sensei Rich brought this up during one of our sessions that pushing was a better idea to have because as your arm is moving out you can't exactly pull away from your center of gravity easily. I also think that it's an easier thing mentally to get in the habit of doing, atleast in my case i feel less complicated to push and follow than pull and follow.

Both of these things that came up seriously altered the way i look at aikido. I think my extensions are better because of the pushing thing and my ideas about leading and moving got yet another callibration, though as usual it was greatly needed. I began to see just how the pushing movement made any motion in an upward direction that much more offbalancing for uke and i also noticed how it fits into jodo or just about anywhere for that matter. Not just offbalancing though but less complicated. That's another thing i just sorta noticed... though there is more for me to learn and work on certain ideas seem a bit more..sure i guess? Or a better way to put it is that there's less clutter in my thinking right now.. i just hope unlike my room it stays that way.

The randori session we had was really great. I have a greater appreciation for just how light Kristof's movments are now. Something that became glaringly obvious was that i have got to keep my arms centered when i move. I was having a embarasingly bad time keeping that straight so halfway throught the weekend i made it my mission to start practicing more on tegatana and keeping my arms in the right place, i just hope that i can keep it in my head not to try and keep them centered by force or all i did this weekend will be shot.

I can't really do this weekend justice by saying it was awesome. It was definately a unique experience and can't wait for the chance to do something like that again. I met cool people, made some friends, and learned really cool aikido. Definatley.

Though i am a bit disapointed that Woodhenge actually exists.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It is not logical, yet it is so. - Spock

Today's tegatana was a little off for me, i felt like i was contstantly moving along a different beat from everyone else. I noticed that on the balls of my feet the up and down motions generated by movement in the kata is excentuated and it helps give me that little extra forward motion in my arms to move them into postion properly. Of course i also noticed that my foot spacing was off as well as having a few blank spots on what was next. One step forward one step back.

Ever since last saturday my training has fallen under a sligtly different angle. Kristof and i were practicing aigame ate (i'm starting to remember names, Excelent!) and his shomenate kept poping up at the right time to cause my feet to slide straigt out from under me, planting me pretty harshly. So we were about to move on to the next technique when Sensei tells me to have one more try at Kristof to get revenge when the thought pops into my head, " but i just want to get the move right". I thought it was a pretty cool way to look at it. And yes, though it falls under that whole "Transcending victory and defeat"mantra who really understands what that hell that even means untill you come across it on your own?

So today also had me deal with changing the way i do hanasu #2: Hon soto te osu ( i cheated on that one). Instead of Uke grabing my arm and pushing away with it as i walk around and let him have it i need to move into the technique like number one then step off and behind. Sensei brought up a great analogy about a rope but it escapes me at the moment. I'm going to have to ask gary to work with me on it a bit.

Off balancing was more or less the name of the game today. As we played with Ni Ju San i was instructed in the more subtle motions of the moves. Instead of just moving the attacking arm off to the side as uke steps in with a shomenate and leading it around untill i can throw up a shomenate or an ending offbalance, i need to make that first step off as close as i can to an offbalance between uke's legs as he steps to recover and if that doesn't release him into the ground then continue around in shikaku (sp?) or behind the arm untill something else occurs.

We also played around with the two "lost releases" from hanasu. It took me a while to catch on to... the purpose?.. or something, but once Sensei explained that the main release we were working on comes from me countering an attack with a two handed shomenate and then uke grabs a wrist things began to fall in place a little bit easier.

Once again i would like to appologize to any readers i have as to the confusing descriptions of the techniques i describe. It makes sense to me, lol. As a parting gift i give a blurb from the Hagakure. Granted some people consider it the romantizied ramblings of a samurai at the end of his life but i like the book, plus i'm feeling all sage-ly cause i'm watching The Last Samurai on amc. Enjoy:

Master Yagyu once remarked: I do not know the way to defeat others, but the way to defeat myself.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New blog title! Now with more T's!!

I was killing time in class and realized that my blog said "sudent journal". Geeze.

This page is a great place to look at techniques. I was going through the hiji waza in my head and couldn't remember if waki gatame came before or after hiki taoshi. The moves have gotten jumbled in my head since saturday. Also, for anyone out there who thinks i'm a master of technique names, look no further than here for the source of my power. I'm just glad i have a while before i have to know all of these by heart.

Today, concerning a discusion with a fellow student, i realized that practicing uke moves solo might not really work. As uke, once that initial attack happens, your offbalance determines what happens next (for the most part) as tori moves around you, so trying to do hanasu as an uke kata might not work. Don't know though, my thoughts are definatley not aikido law.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Comments between comercials.

Right now i'm watching Heroes but realized i didn't comment on anything about class. So i'll make this quick.

We worked on Hanasu through the filter of "kata mode". Mr. M and i paired up and it sorta broke down into "experiment mode". Mr. M was having some trouble with the first 4 techniques, more or less experiencing the same problems i had once upon a time with hand up hand down. It was pretty cool to be able to help someone that has the same problem i did.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Zen and Uke

First, the Zen:

Joshu asked Nansen: `What is the path?'
Nansen said: `Everyday life is the path.'
Joshu asked: `Can it be studied?'
Nansen said: `If you try to study, you will be far away from it.'
Joshu asked: `If I do not study, how can I know it is the path?'
Nansen said: `The path does not belong to the perception world, neither does it belong to the nonperception world. Cognition is a delusion and noncognition is senseless. If you want to reach the true path beyond doubt, place yourself in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not-good.'
At these words Joshu was enlightened.

As we did hanasu last night the age old question of: "Which one of us is doing this wrong" came to mind. Sometimes with some of the class mates it feels like uke sort of just lays his hand on my wrist so i get no real downward force or forward momentum to move around or respond to so i sorta stumble around the guy in an effort to atleast do the techniuqe and it just turns to an awkward mush by the end of it. But then again, maybe that's how it's supposed to be and i've been doing it wrong the whole time. I don't think that's it but it IS possible. It especially happens on #2. And when the whole thing feels awkward i get a little flustered and then the whole fishing reel really begins to unwind.

I don't know if i'm good at uke or not, and it's quite possible that everyone else is thinking the same thing about me, but i don't think i'm screwing up that specific thing atleast. Hanasu never turns out that way with Pat Sensei or Gary. Maybe it's a mass thing or height thing? Don't know.

We also did hanasu in "kata mode" last night and doing the tecniques in "non-experiment" mode is something i need practice on. Hopefully all of us student types can get a grasp on the polished side of things before the big aiki buddy meeting. It would be bad +1 if we all looked... a little less knowledgable.. on our home turf.

Air falls are something else i need to work on, or atleast mentally prepare for. It was interesting to play around with how the lead arm's rigidness affected the fall. Weighlessness seemed to go a long way and the arm seemed to get shorter... sort of like only the elbow up realy had any sense at all in determinging my direction but the shoulder definatley played the bigger part. I need to buy a crash pad.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

You've probably been to an Aikido class or two when..'re watching The Matrix Reloaded and subconsciously pick out when Smith walks into Neo's ma'ai.

Also, when fighting 500+ agents, wouldn't Aikido have been more efficient? =D

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Philosophy at 3am on cold medicine

Forgive me as i ramble:

As is often the case with the people i hang out with, an interesting thought came to me a moment ago while reading a comic book. It was an issue of Street Fighter ( Street Fighter Legends: Sakura issue 1 for anyone who cares to know). The comic series, and the Street Fighter mythos in general, often brings up the question "Why do we fight?" It deals with martial artists of all sorts of different styles and various levels of skill running around the world fighting each other with the somewhat vague goal of "getting better". Something about this always appealed to me for some reason, though i probably couldn't explain why.

For a long time i've followed along with the belief that the crazy struggle people put themselves through learning a martial art by punching and kicking and generally sweating themselves to death was, though a hard path to walk on, an eventual door to some....higher truth? or maybe atleast a better understanding of myself. Now i'm not knocking that idea at all, as a matter of fact i've met quiet a few people i respect that have taken that idea to a level that i might never achieve with a cheat code and made it their own. Biljac Burnside Sensei would be among those. Here's a guy that has dedicated practically his entire life to the study of Seibukan Shorin Ryu (very cool style, but a tale for another day) traveling around the world to learn and teach it. He fits the stereotype of "the humble, honorable gentle fighter" and he's a great guy to talk to and a wonderful teacher. If you've ever met him he's the classic example of what i'm talking about.

So anyway, to get back on a track only i may be able to follow, i'm reading this comic book and it dawns on my how different i am from the days of Seibukan and how i've "gotten better".

As demonstrated by the topic of discussion on the Fugakukai boards of "Why we keep training after green belt" Every martial artist, or atleast guys like me who take one since i doubt i could fall under a title held in such high regard, has their various reasons as to why they keep doing it. Why, for instance, they may kill what little free time they have between work and school that they might need to study to drive 400 something miles a week when the car holds up and the money for gas is available to take the trip to learn how to NOT hurt somebody. It's a weird paradox my mind has somehow adjusted too, the learning how NOT to hurt someone as a method of improvement. When you've gotten so used to gauging how well you're doing by the meter stick of fighting and your potential to inflict pain on someone and possibly gaining some grasp on who you are and where you want to be, it's a disorienting mirror image to find that in a relatively short amount of time what you've learned gauging yourself by the meter stick of "get behind the guy and get the hell out of the way".

Every class of aikido i go to seems to break down some idea or another i have about the whole martial arts ideal. I will say that no other experience i've had thus far compares when you're dealing with your own private struggle vs. self. All the punches i ever threw against the Seibukan dojo's makawara board have yet to compare to what i've learned about myself while just trying to walk around on the balls of my feet. I guess that's the reason i have for coming back to the dojo every week, aikido allows me to redirect frustration into self improvement.

God bless anyone who actually made it through my crazy stream of consciousness writing to this sentence.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Luckily, the ground is available for training anywhere.

Class was good today. We did some more moves off of chain #2 and the all time favorite oshi toshi. I think i beat my all time record of number of times thrown to the mat. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Kerry and i stayed for jyodo today and i got a little more practice in on striking. I've decided when i get paid i'm making my own makawara post to knock on. Now i've gotta get my own jo. I really have trouble with the way the strikes are executed on the sword. The habit i have to get rid of is hiting it on the side, i'm supposed to hit more or less straight downward. Enough doses of practice should clear that right up.

We got to play around with a few aiki-tricks today too. The unbendable arm didn't work so well for me today. Atleast untill pat mentioned science fiction then the ki seemed to flow heh. We also did the one where one person tries to push down on a person in seiza and then more people help push to but the seated aikidoka can't be moved.

After jyodo Pat showed me some of the ways to get out of being backed against a wall. Hon Soto Hanasu came up alot, so did Gyaku Soto Hanasu.

I'm getting to go to the Oklahoma City seminar, and i'm super jazzed about that. Hope i do a decent job of representing the dojo. I'm starting to quiz myself on the japanese for all our techniques. You never know. Falling is another thing i want to get better at, especially forward rolls. Of course, all this is but a stepping stone to the aiki-buddy gathering at Mokuren at the end of october. I definately need to look competent in front of the big wigs.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Article blog #1

Here's a cool interview between Morihiro Saito and Gaku Homma

Nothing works in aikido.

Last night was a really awesome class. I learned alot...or maybe i should say i experienced alot. The quick recap of what we did:
"... we moved into the introductory randori drill where uke holds both of tori's hands and tori gets one free move to offbalance uke then tori moves step-for-step with uke to maintain or exaggerate the offbalance. "
That is definatley an exercise i could do for hours. Something that made it especially interesing was that during the exercise i ended up putting myself on the ground without tori's involvment. It usually came from us moving around untill i ended up stepping backwards and once i was walking backward it usually didnt take much time to become offbalance and hit the ground.
As we played around with variants of tenchinage and sumiotoshi and ushiro ate i struggled with the first down and up motion of the 2nd chain. After a while i got the hang of it but Kerry nailed it right off the bat. He did really well and planted me firmly into the mat several times last night.

At the end of class someone brought up this cool little anicdote (i guess you could call it that) about Luke 4: 28-30 and how it could apply to aikido. That's where the title of my post last night came from.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Was turning the other cheek Him side-stepping shomenate?


More on tonight's class tomorrow.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Aikido vs. Kicking

I came across this while i was avoiding studying at school today. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The things i missed.

I got my green belt today. Sweet!

I felt like i did alright on tegatana, but all the way through hanasu i felt something wasn't going right. Not untill hours later did i realize that in #3 and #7 my hand was palm down, not palm up. D'OH!

Nijusan went alright. The one manuver i can never seem to be comfortable with , Gedan Ate, was the only one i felt was dead on great. Ushiro Ate worked alright, instead of getting uke to fall he just spun around backwards. Works for me.

Kerry came to class and he seemed to enjoy the class. Hopefully he'll come back, i think he's hooked.

Later today Gary and I did some standing forward roll practice and played around with some of the #2 chains we worked with in class.

Looking forward to going to the OKC clinic in october.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Being busted by shomeate is cool!

We did some shomenate drills last night in class. Tori would stand in front of uke with a hand in uke's face and tori would walk backwards stopping at some point along the exercise to cause uke's head to lock backwards usually off balancing uke. Pat Sensei got me good with a couple, and though they was barely more force in them than usual i climbed off of the mat impressed.

Randori was pretty cool last night as well. In our style of aikido we stand at ma'ai and SLOWLY move to attack or defend. Some of the things sensei focused on this time around was how force causes us to stop moving. I was amazed how even the smallest ammount created a pause in the movments. Kristof and i generally spinned away from each other when we were partners. Gary and i on the other hand usually devolved into a mess. One of use would either speed up or just switch to something else, often breaking the speed of light as i think it was called. When you're trying to avoid an attack in slow motion that you know is going to connect it's hard to realize "ok, i'm screwed on this on, maybe next time". As mentioned a second ago any force or resistance caused us to stop or pause or generally "not flow" during randori. We tried the first kihara chain while both uke and tori were constantly moving and i couldn't quiet get the hang of it. Uke and tori just sort of seemed to stalemate. After getting into shikaku at point 2 we ended up rotating around each other. I could be missing something.

More on this later. Cafeteria for food then back to class.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The shell revisited

Saturday's class presented a new challenge for me. Trying to do backward rolls without any momentum means that i have to try and breath life into the muscles i have insulated under a protective layer of donuts and cookies over my stomach.

The two new people showed for class and they did alright.

Glad i got to make it since i've been out for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Food for thought

" A man may learn a poem one day, and remember almost nothing of it the next. A few days later, and without and further study, he may suddenly know it perfectly.

We must not become discouraged, therefore, if we find we have slippedback to the original condition at any time; these regressions will become rarer and return to the improved condition easier as the learning process continues." - Moshe Feldenkrais

I kept that in mind all day in class today.

Kristof, the exchange student that lives at Pat's now is pretty good. It's cool to see how two different "ideas" of aikido interatct. Not sure how great a representative i was but hopefully he'll enjoy class.

I'm have some things to work on with honasu but atleast i still have the backward roll!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The neutral zone.

In class yesterday we went over tegatana and hanasu and (from my Kihara sheet) we did pattern number one. Or at least the one where we go from release 1 to 2 or 5 and some of the fun inbetween. Sensei added some more fruit for thought to change what i thought i knew about what i knew. I have decided that the process of learning Aikido is one of deconstruction of momentarily held beliefs causing me to constantly change my ideas on what i'm doing until (and this is the part i assume atm) it's all as natural/comfortable as how i started out. It's like a masochistic learning process but i do enjoy it.

Anyway, the thing that sort of blew my mind the most was during our kihara practice. As we slowly broke down the first pattern i got to see more and more how that little neutral pause at the end of the line works. I have all sorts of theories on it and how my palm being up or down limits where uke will end up but i could just as easily be thinking out of my ass.

Learning, it's a process.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

When you can't go to class, practice!

I've been practicing tegatana to get my brain used to normal stepping. So far i'm getting better at it but im wondering how well i'll do on the mat. It's a whole different balance ball game on padding.

I wish i had another member of the "Hattiesburg Group" to practice hanasu with so i can get my footing down there too. I should invest time in creating one of those B.O.B. dummies you see in karate classes for aikidoka. Wheels on the base and an arm that grabs from a palm pressure trigger. Cool.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Turtle vs. Shell

I'm not sure if you could call it enlightenment and I doubt it's an "aiki moment" but today i achieved a personal victory over my arch-nemesis: the backward roll. I've had trouble with doing this part of ukemi since day one and have never really accomplished any great understanding on getting better. Most of the advice i was given never got past the aggravation buzzing in my ears. Today though, the stuck turtle finally kicked and rocked enough to where he made it back on his feet. Upon retrospect and for lack of verbal eloquence i've just been stiff the whole time making it hard to roll over tense shoulders. Duh.

I think that's one of the major things that keeps me coming back. Sure busting ass is nice and the people i learn with are great but it's those little private huddled moments of improvement where i shine to myself that i get the most energy out of.

With the things we did today in class after that i made mental notes of where i did ok (to me) and where i'm still not quite getting it (to me but readily apparent to anyone).

I need more practice with Tegatana.
Recently the discussion has been normal steps vs steps created by mindset: i NEED to get out of the way/ i HAVE to push through that guy. I think i did better today but my trouble spot was over the sweep and turns. I twisted the foot, unwound around my hip, but placed the second foot to far in which caused me to be unbalanced.

I need more practice with Hanasu.
This one i have two problems with. The first one is getting it cemented in my head which is up next. My mind will wander and even though i know which one we're doing in one far off corner in my head the other distant shore forgets which way my hand should be placed. It's slightly embarrassing and undoubtedly annoying to my ukes. The second problem is more technical satisfaction. #6 and 8 (Hon Uchi Ude Hineri and Gyaku Uchi Ude Hineri for those playing along at home) trouble me almost every time. I can't seem to get my arm to push up when i hip switch so the turn feels awkward to me even if i got into the right position.

Oddly the only thing that i felt alright with today was the Atemi Waza of Ni Ju San. Though i still have trouble with the names the moves themselves i can do without beating myself up over.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The closer, the fewer.

At the beginning of class tonight we took a microscope to tegatana, what did we see and that sort of thing. Each student had(has) something different on their turn but tonight my problem was where I was going while doing the kata. I seemed to be moving through a much wider space going through the moves than some of the other people as I was somehow taking longer/further steps. Sensei brought up a point that people have the idea that while doing pushes we have a tendency to step further out because our brain is in "attack mode" but even with a shomen ate all we need to do is take that one average step forward instead of a lunge. Tonight I also realized I have that problem in reverse as well, I'm stepping further out of the way than I should. The same average step applies to that as well, I don't need to back all the way to ma'ai or further just to dodge an attack.

That led to a discussion of attack ranges and ma'ai spacing. At a distance of 15 feet or more an attacker can do almost anything to attack and the defender can basically move anywhere to get away. But as the encounter distance closes into ma'ai the attacker's choices of things to do to you decreases, i.e. no more throwing things or lui kang bicycle kicks and more down to the normal kicking and punching. But at the same time i suppose it lessens the things tori has to defend against to the point to where whatever attack is executed there really IS only a minimal amount of moving or defense that tori would need to do to counter.


Monday, July 17, 2006

First of a thousand steps.

I originally created this blog to be able to post on Pat Sensei's blog but when i found out i could just place my name when i posted i left the page alone. Recently he suggested that i should start a blog to post what i noticed or learned in class and though i think it will only reveal my limited understanding i've decided to do it. Just keep in mind the whole time that i'm not even a yonkyu yet. Maybe it will help someone else to read how i figure it all out, i have ADD pretty bad so almost anything i learn is like slowly shoving a brick through a cheese grater. Or it will amuse, which may be just as good. I'll also post definitions and such for my own reference. So without further ado:

In Sensei's most recent post he talked about on the line/off the line and i am totally one of the students he's talking about. We were watching one of Geis Hanshi's videos and he was talking about "the line". I've been taking both aikido and judo at the dojo and so "the line" comes up alot and i'm never quite sure where the thing is. One of the things that Sensei explained (as i hazily recollect the conversation so correct me if i'm wrong) is that "the line" comes up more often as different aspects in aikido and judo. Aikido is mostly stepping OFF the line (the attack line and the line usually formed by our centers) to avoid the attack. Judo is more stepping ON the lines of offbalance (perpendicular or parallel) to...well, offbalance them.

It helped clarify it in my head atleast.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Apparently i have a blog now. ok.