Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The things i think i understand

I went to Sensei Charles' class again last night and here are two points that stuck with me:

  1. Get my hands involved with forward rolling.

  2. Have confidence that the technique will work.

After reading the email that john forwarded him Sensei Charles wanted to go over again why he also teaches aikikai ukemi at his dojo. Demonstration: concrete sans mats. A perfect arena to make a full roll to standing. I have to say i was somewhat nervous to try it out, akin to them moving the floor and revealing a shallow indention full of burning hot coals, but after seeing them do it i had to try. I have to say i didn't do bad, i could use some work....but i didn't dive right into the ground like a mangled airplane either.

I've always had problems with getting into a roll and coming up to standing. Putting my feet into a different position than i've been trying seems to work out. (duh, right?) I'm not saying the other fall is some kind of archaic false religion now, by no means, just at the moment it seems to me how the foot and hand slap helps more with airfalls than with forward rolls. It also helped me to look at the roll as something continuous till the end. With the other way i was trying to do it, my momentum would stop fully down on the mat and i would then push myself up over my extended leg to get up. With the new roll i just keep on moving, my arms come in at the right time and guide my momentum (i.e. large bulk) up off the ground.

My final theory is, using the way John put it; Aikikai = forward rolls, Kodokan = air fall recovery. All theories are subject to change due to me only being a sankyu. And just as a disclaimer the Fugakukai way is taught at the dojo.

As we went through Nijusan, it was neat to look at it from the angle of "As you create the offbalance, they will generally go a certain way, so don't worry about it, clear your mind for what happens next." I think this comes from a different idea/perspective and the experience of having done this for a little while. It's took me a little while to really see what it meant, but like in ushiro ate if you aiki brush them off to the side uke will move from point a to point b and that's when the throw takes place. So do the brush off and the rest falls into place.

Last night was the last chance i'll get to go to Sensei Charles' class, as i'll be moving back to Mississippi this weekend, but i definitely enjoyed the time i did get to spend at his dojo and the classes gave me a lot of things to noodle over. If anyone is in the kissimmie, fl area you should definitely check out his dojo.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Oh, and read this....

I dug this story and wanted to link share. All credit goes to AikiThoughts.

Dharmakaya Aikido

After months of false starts and schedule animosity John and i finally headed down to the Kissimmie, FL area to see Sensei Charles Crist at his dojo. His dojo is in his garage which was cool to us given out little slice of heaven downstairs and Pat's dojo back home...the Fugakukai tradition continues.

Sensei Charles is a great guy and even better teacher. The class started off with ukemi and his students are AWESOME at it. I have to say when it came to my turn i was a little intimidated. They were all very fluid in their motion and came right back up and rolled right back down again. I have seriously got to practice more, it was a clear view of what i need to aim for.

Next we did tegatana but the switch from what we're used to came in the form of doing it by the count. It was a different tempo to attempt and i found myself looking around once or twice to make sure i was on the right foot or hadn't skipped ahead by accident.

Then came nijusan. I really enjoyed this part of class (which luckily lasted the rest of the session). Tori would step out on the mat and the rest of the students would line up and attack with a straight arm to the chest at what Sensei Charles called "actual speed". It was a different animal from measuring off at ma'ai and making a single step/lunge forward but i dug it. Shomen ate, Aigamae ate, and gyaku gamae ate were all easy for me to go through but gedan ate, the black sheep, reared it's head again. As we lined up for it i was curious to see how they were able to use the technique in the midst of all this dynamic movement and avoidance. The way they practice it is different from ours...but i think (because i'm able to make this work much better) that it's more effective. It involves the same idea...a "failed" attempt at gyaku gamae ate but instead of getting under the arm for a bumping off balance it uses uke's other arm being turned over the first to cause him to air fall onto the ground.

The one we practice the most often, Sensei Charles said, seems to work best as a linear move instead of happening in the parameters of what their type of nijusan creates. He still has the regular version of it up on his techniques page and all of them are worth looking at.

Afterwards we talked about aikido and whatnot and said our goodbyes. I walked away with a refreshed sense of aikido. Our time in class gave me another opportunity to see how aikido works no matter how it's approached and a few new ideas to use when i travel back home next week.

And soreness...jeeze it's been a while since i've practiced.