Friday, August 26, 2011

Seeing where we're at

Wednesday was something of an off day for class. It was a rainy afternoon, which seems to keep most of the students away. Even though the usual back up plan is to get under the large pavilion in the middle of the park it seemed to be overrun with people. I decided to wait and see if anyone would show up just in case and told Jesse we'd see if we couldn't get something accomplished despite everything else.

After wandering the park and finding a gazebo that would do the trick we had a small class. I'll be the first to admit that my head wasn't 100% in the game wednesday. Tegatana was done with a rocky start on my part and a few hiccups throughout but i have to say Jesse has caught on rather well and knows the kata.

Next we did hanasu. To test where Jesse is so far I decided we'd do 1-4 with me as uke to see how much he had learned. For 5 classes he's making progress. Things to work on include footwork and making sure to move diagonally as soon as uke breaks ma'ai.

The next few weeks i really want to focus on ma'ai. I think i've done a bad job of emphasising its importance to the whole shebang. Anyone have any cool and interesting ma'ai workouts?

The rest of the class was nothing but hanasu. Multiple reps of 1-4 and more introduction to 5-8. Our "cool down" was some aiki brush-off and shomen ate play.

Given the weather and the fact we had no light source class was only an hour this time but i think we got some good things accomplished.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Just the basics

This post is for the class we had Wednesday the 17th. I'm a little behind on updating because i've been rather busy with the first week of college and all that entails.

I decided to push our start time to 6:30 to try and have most of class take place towards dusk and it seems to have helped with the heat slightly. Jesse was the only one who could make it so we had a lot of one on one time. After the usual stretching and ukemi we practiced tegatana a couple of times. The first run through was fine and Jesse seems to have the kata down pat. He asked a question about the turns we take in the later part of the kata so I re-explained the idea of having the forward leg create "tension" that unwinds your body into a turn and the third step is more of a recovery to get everything in place. We did a few of the turns until they seemed to be a more comfortable thing then went ahead with a repetition of the kata just to get it all into place. Looks like it's working fine.

The rest of class was almost entirely devoted to working on hanasu 1-4.
Focuses included:
proper footwork
moving diagonally when uke breaks ma'ai
unbendable arm

I'm still playing with the "first step is an escape and the second step is facing uke and where the off-balance is and the third step makes you safe" idea. It could probably use a shorter name. I'll work on it.

We closed class with more aiki brush off randori which is always fun AND educational!

On a side note, after much thought and research, i decided to name my little study group Konwakai "dojo". I say "dojo" instead of dojo for two reasons: it isn't indoors and it really just exists as a study group and not an actual school. I dig the name though as it means friendly gathering which is pretty much the style of learning and atmosphere i'm used to from learning with Pat and the Starkvillans. I'd like to think the people i'm practicing with in my little group feel the same way.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stretching the pieces

After about a month of random delays class resumed last friday. I had John from Johndo show up along with regular student Jesse.

We ran through tegatana a couple of times and paid attention to the same hand-same foot relationship of the movements and how they work like in hanasu. Disengaging our hip and fall-stepping to the hand-foot side works in both kata.

The rest of class was spent working on hanasu 1-8. More practice for jesse and a refresher for john turned into an interesting evening of technique dissection and discussion. I tried to make the overall goal of our practice to be get out of the way with the first step but make sure the second step (where at the moment i think the magic is concentrated the most) focuses on facing uke at unbendable arms length and then the third move ends up behind the arm as just the consequence of uke's continued motion. Sometimes it works like in the first four, sometimes uke makes a second attack like in the last four. As long as the second step is a turn to face uke you're doing alright, or at least you'll be better off.

That was the jist of class: experimenting with motion and distance and timing and footwork. We had fun and i think we all learned something. We did a bit of shomen ate tinkering as a cool down with a splash of multiple opponent aiki brush off thrown in.

No class is happening tonight but our next scheduled class time is Wedensday so i'll update as soon as i can.

As always if you have any suggestions/advice i'd love to hear it.