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.