Sunday, January 25, 2009

Changing ideas by building better walls.

This saturday definitely gave some things to ponder on.

With tegatana, i need to devote more practice to the kata. As the first kata we learn in our style of aikido it's seems easy, after so many repetitions, to simply zone out on auto pilot as i go through the steps. I don't want you to think that i flop through it without any care as to what's going on at all, because i don't. Generally, i think of the up and down and how the motion of my arms effects the side to side. As i found out later in class i need to keep from losing track of how my feet are acting. When i have to stop and think about it or explain where they go, i run into a snag. "Does my foot turn out or in?" "Will my hand be on the same side as my foot or opposite?" I have to work on making the katas i've learned stand out of the background haze of my thoughts and become something that i can consciously cite whenever i need to.

My hanasu isn't immune to foot misplacement either. Hon Soto Te Osu (#2) and Gyaku Soto Te Osu (#4) have alway been two moves that have never felt.. quite right. Pat gave me another idea to iron them out. At times the way to move off to the side is to make a full step, then a shuffle adjustment then to move behind uke takes another full step and a shuffle adjustment. As always i need practice practice practice.

For me, our nijusan practice was what gave me the most to noodle on from that class. We worked on shome ate and aigame ate.

The entry to shomen ate as uke attacks with his right hand is for tori to step off to the right with a deflecting qucik/small push against uke's arm causing an off balance. If uke insists on continuing the attack tori makes a block with the left hand and then makes a shomen ate forward with the right.

With aigamae ate, when uke makes a forward right handed attack tori deflects the attack to the right attempting to cause an off balance between uke's feet. If uke is able to recover tori stays behind uke's arm making a series of steps to the left deflecting uke's arm with tori's left hand. When uke gets into a position where he can attack it will cause him to stop moving and face tori. Tori then makes a right handed shomen ate to uke.

Now, if you were able to follow my explanation of these two moves ( i admit it's probably very convoluted in it's explanation) then you noticed that there are a lot of switches from the left hand to the right hand and vice versa. As Pat explained, what really places the strength in these right and left movements is the placement of your feet in unison with you hands as a stable cohesive motion creating a wall that won't move. In my case, as far as my hands were concerned, they were more or less on autopilot. When Pat had me pay almost exclusive attention to my feet things definitely came together much better. Even in aigamae ate as i stayed behind uke my left hand would be in place but having my foot work with it i was able to build a better wall each time.

One of the best ways to practice this simultaneous right side/left side together movement is to stand in front of something sturdy and pick a side to some ate against the (let's say a wall) wall. Then as one side makes firm contact roll over to the opposite side. You can do this back and forth however many times you want to help get that idea to become more natural. It's something that Pat had us do every now and then, but it's importance never really clicked until saturday's class.

All this stuff to readjust my thinking of aikido and we got to do some extra ukemi practice too. It was a great class.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I've something to say on the topic of Saturdays.

Made it to class saturday as part of my "no weekend class left behind" program and had a lot of fun. We went through some ukemi practice and i was made well aware of just how little practice i've gotten with it over the last few months as i couldnt do a backward roll from a laying down position. It was personally embarassing as it had previously been a personal hurtle i had (once) finally overcome. So i'm going to have to re-adjust that setback.

We did hanasu 1 and 2 and some chain work. It's cool having the new people in class, i get to work with someone that's even taller than i am and someone that's almost 2 feet shorter. That big of a change between ukes give a lot to sort of noodle out.

As far as anything else goes the writing is actually going, which is nice. The blog i plan on posting my stuff on will be private for a while (indefinately is more like it) so i won't be linking it here but i am almost through with my first short story. So yay me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New stuff for a new year.

This post isn't going to be a whole bunch of stuff. I've been way too lazy the last couple of weeks when it comes to out-of-class practice but i am determined to change all of that.

Though i wont call these resolutions, i am re-dedicating myself to edit the layout of my current life.

First off, aikido. I love it, but i haven't been often enough for quite some time. Saturdays will now be designated aikido day. On call or off, i will be making my fat ass show up to at least one class a week. Tuesday and thursday i can't make the concrete guarantee i'd like because of work, but there will be a significant reduction in: "Ugh, it's been a long day. I'm just gonna go home and veg" on the days i do get off in time when im not on call. Get over it self, you know you're going to feel a jillion times better when you're in class so just GO!

As far as out-of-class goes, one of my gamer buddies is going to an aikikai class in town and recently we played around for a few minutes doing some wrist releases and mainly comparing notes on our differences. He seems pretty interested in aikido and wants to do some more so it sounds like i might have an uke to work with every once in a while, i just gotta clear it with Pat first. My buddy's classes are at the local college on monday's and wednesdays from 8:30 to 9:45 and he's invited me so i'm thinking of checking it out. If nothing else it'll give me two more chances a week for ukemi practice. I have to admit im curious to see how "the other guys" do aikido.

Second off, writing. I used to love to just write back when i was in Jr high and high school but i just don't give myself the time to sit down and jot things out. To remedy this im gonna start a different little side blog (not connecting it to this, dont worry. You, faithful reader, are subjected to enough.) to put my stuff on and it give me a chance to look at it later and see what i think.

3rd, but still important. Drawing. It's something else i used to do alot once, and with decent skill and i want to get back to drawing. John's current escapades into comics and just the general desire to see some of my ideas bear fruit has lit a fire under my butt to get back into it. The writing page may go hand in hand with this, there is one huge idea i've had for a while that i'd like to flesh out and set some standard points on.

This has run a bit long, but thats where i'm at currently. I'll have more to write on during the week.