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.