Monday, October 26, 2009

Catching up!

What a busy couple of months I've had! Earlier this year, due to annual audits, I had to miss about 5 or 6 weeks of training. I was thinking "Well, if I have to do that once a year, I can live with that". But recently, due to a variety of reasons, I've missed about as many classes. Sickness, vacation schedules, family outings....they've interfered heavily with my training during September and October.

To make matters worse, I've been looking for a new job, then I found one, and since then I've been busy preparing for the transition. So I haven't even had the "oomph" to blog.

This post, then, will catch me up on the few times I did go to class recently. I apologize that they won't be as detailed or well thought-out as they usually are (haha), but at least this will get me posting again.

Aikido 9/26/09
We started with tegatana, as always, this time thinking about pushing with the arms, but not the hands.
As we moved to releases, I found I was even more rusty than I thought I would be. I kept forgetting to evade!
In our review of Junana 1-5, however, I was not quite as rusty as I thought I would be, although #4 was not so smooth.

We moved on to an introduction of Junana 6-10. Really fun stuff. This is really almost the first time I'm playing with this stuff, as I only had glimpses of anything beyond #5 at the dojo I attended previously.

As we went over #6 (oshitaoshi), I was introduced to the concept of "getting off the line, at the end of the line". Another new concept for this one was moving my body so my arms fall into place naturally, instead of forcing uke's arm into position.

Junana #7 (udegaeshi) was one I had played with before, but the way Pat taught it blew my mind. It's the same technique, but completely different, if that makes sense. The old way I knew used a lot of leverage, where Pat showed how it used the same principles we've been playing with in the other techniques (kuzushi, motion, blending/following, etc). Pat noted that it's sort of like a standing, walking Americana.

Number 8 (hikitaoshi) was taught as a variation of #6.

Number 9 (udehineri) can be looked at as a standing, walking Kimura.

Junana #10 (wakigatame) can be done from the inside or outside (a shomenate entry or an aigamaeate entry) of uke's arm.

To wrap up, we explored using the "90 degree principle" to overcome uke's strength. That stuff rocks my socks, man. I can't wait until doing that is more intuitive to me!

Judo 9/26/09
I'm afraid the only notes I have for this lesson are that Pat introduced me to 2 throws: okuriashi and tsurikomigoshi. Honestly, the brain-strain of shaking out the cobwebs in my mind left me unenlightened on these throws....for now.

Aikido 10/17/09
Again, we began with tegatana. We moved to releases, and I had trouble with 6 and 8. Pat started talking about how a Release #2 isn't always the full version of the technique we see in kata. It's the relationship of tori and uke's centers and their movement that define it.

Pat then scrambled my brain by talking about the relationship between release 2 and Junana #5: Release 2 is sort of like a looser, more difficult ushiroate. I'm still reeling from that. Things like that make me love aikido even more. It's a genius system.

Next we played with Release #1, turning it into a throw, allowing uke to do a rolling breakfall. Pat talked about how practicing this way develops sensitivity for both tori and uke; uke learns when to "give" enough to stay safe, and when he needs to just roll out.

We spent the rest of the lesson working on Junana 6, 8, and 10, and exploring the relationships among them. We talked about how the Aikikai guys look at Junana 6 as their #1 (ikkyo). We also looked at how Junana 8 is a different flavor of #6, but on more of a "shomenate timing", on uke's body rise.

Judo 10/17/09
We worked on okuriashi and tsurikomigoshi again. That day I was feeling better about tsurikomigoshi than any of my other hip throws. We looked at how getting uke up off of his heels onto his toes, is actually picking him up, even if he doesn't go higher. Pat pointed out that I needed to be using the motion of my whole body to pull uke, not just my arms.

Lastly, Pat pontificated on his recent thoughts regarding deashibarai and its relationship to all the other throws in judo. Amazing stuff.

Aikido 10/24/09
After a round of tegatana, we moved to releases. Pat introduced me to some exercises from Yon Kata. I may not have understood clearly, so Pat, feel free to correct me. As I appreciate it, there are 7 variations....other versions of the releases done as an exercise leading into (or is it part of?) Yon Kata. Once again, aikido has my head spinning.

Lastly, we practiced Junana 6, 8, and 10 again, but this time we worked backwards (10, 8, 6).

Judo 10/24/09
Again, we worked on okuriashi. I think I started getting it a little better after Pat explained how "shearing across" the "train tracks" (parallel lines of uke and tori) helped the throw. Much too difficult for me to explain here (at least for now). We played with a failed deashi turning into an opportunity for osotogari as well.

For the remainder of the class, we did some light newaza randori. I did make Pat tap only once (as usual, with an Ezekiel - my highest percentage finisher at the moment). However, that was my only victory. The other 8 or 9 times we rolled, I was decidedly on the...."learning" end! :o)

We talked about how "switching sides" when you get in a bind on the bottom can solve a lot of problems.

That day (Oct 24), was one of those days I felt severely learning-disabled. Maybe it was a combination of being out of practice and being preoccupied with the new job I'm starting in a couple of weeks, but I felt like I was getting worse at both aikido and judo rather than better. I suppose that's part of the cycle....part of my cycle anyway. It is frustrating at times, but I'm hooked on this stuff. I'll give it at least 15 more years or so.