Saturday, May 28, 2011

Aikido, 5-28-11

After a warmup, we did some ukemi, with emphasis on how to teach beginners to fall.

Walking - focus on not lifting my arms while taking a step, per Pat's recent post.

Releases - We did releases 1-8 and they all felt better today than they have in a very long time. Not perfect, but much better. After my recent frustrations with 2, 4, 6, & 8 in particular, it was refreshing to feel more successful. We talked about the evasion step on 6 & 8 not having to be huge, and it helps the footwork when the step is more reasonable. Again we talked about how to approach the first couple of releases with beginners.

We talked about teaching beginners a lot today, because there's a decent chance I'll be starting a club in my area soon (more on that later, we're waiting on a couple of approvals to fall into place, but I have about a dozen people interested). With that in mind, we brushed up on the aiki brush-off (see what I did there?) and Pat's patented "Cow-Catcher" exercise. The brush-off is to create separation, but sometimes it doesn't work so well; the cow catcher is there to salvage that and still create a little distance while staying safe.

Junana 1 (Shomenate) - transitioned from the brush-off to shomenate, again focusing on breaking it down for beginners.

Junana 11 & 12 (Kotehineri and kotegaeshi) - We played mostly with J12 resulting from a not-quite-right J11. Used the cycle of going back and forth from 11 to 12 and back again. I need to remember to move my body correctly in order to maintain good hand position (as opposed to putting my hands in bad/weak positions just to get the grips).

Urawaza - we worked on urawaza for J6 and J11, which just involved stepping on the other side of the line and countering with J6 or 11 as well.

Randori - I'm getting more comfortable doing randori all the time. Not necessarily better, but more comfortable. I'm getting to the point where I feel like I'm learning from it, and not just learning to do it. There was a neat "wrong-handed" hineri that kept showing up today.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week Off

No Aikido this week, since Pat's been doing his Koryu Dai Ichi clinic up in OKC at Nick's place. Worked out nicely, since my wife had a beach trip with some girls from church and I was at home with our three-year-old, AND I ended up with a bad sore throat for most of the weekend. It was a nice, long, exhausting weekend and I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow.

Looking forward to resuming next weekend. My wife says several of the ladies that were on the beach trip were pretty interested in learning aikido after hearing her talk about it (and she pretends she's not interested, haha), so we'll see what might develop.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Aikido, 5-16-11

During Tegatana this morning, we focused on which part of our arms were the points of contact in the pushing motions. That made the floating throws, especially maiotoshi, apparent in the kata.

Next we worked on Releases. I swear sometimes it's like I'm going backwards. I think as I learn more about the techniques and principles, they keep blowing my mind. Shorting it out and resetting it. Of course 6 and 8 were perplexing as always. Now 2 and 4 are also getting to me, haha. We worked on staying in synch (footwork), maintaining connection, and a couple releases from yon kata. Maintaining the connection seems contrary to what my brain wants. It's tough to override the "Oh crap, he's got you, get out of his grip!" instinct. We talked about how it seems like the art is constantly being broken down and rebuilt / rethought as you progress, and that was certainly the case today.

We worked on Junana #11, kotehineri. My footwork is better on my strong side, so I don't have to compensate with my arm as much as I do on the weak side. I need to remember to let uke react; not to try to force the technique or underestimate his evilness or capabilities.

We took a look at the Aikikai version of kotegaeshi, and Pat showed me a version that's sort of a Tomiki/Aikikai hybrid that was pretty neat. We played with it in the context of not being able to get around uke's arm in release 1, and getting this kotagaeshi in the other direction.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Aikido, 5-7-11

We opened with tegatana, focusing on relaxation and posture.

We played with releases 1-8 for a while, and while certain parts of 6 and 8 still felt better to me, other aspects (that I used to have less trouble with) seemed to give me problems. Sometimes it feels like when one thing gets fixed, it pushes 2 or 3 other things out of line. Ah well, there's time enough to "master" this stuff, right?

We played with our "continuous Junana" cycle, for Junana 1-5. That's really good practice. It just feels way more awkward when done on the weak side.

We looked at a few tai chi exercises to demonstrate deflection, angles, evasion, etc, and that's always neat. This led into a little bit of light randori, and I was amazed at how different randori can feel when you're looking at / thinking of different principles. We stayed in motion, and focused on yielding... "out-wussing" the other guy.  You can't always be stronger than your opponent, but you can be weaker - and neat things can happen when you do that. This art continuously blows my mind.

We worked on Junana 11 quite a bit, from the perspective of it being a modified number 6. I need to focus on taking the slack out of uke's arm and pushing through him.

As I'm hitting stride as a sankyu, I'm really struck by how different the art feels now. Pat described the feeling in terms of learning letters, then words, then sentences (and learning to write in cursive somewhere in there). In any case, it definitely feels different. Sankyu feels as different from previous ranks as white belt through green belt felt different from knowing nothing about aikido at all. I'm very excited about where my aiki will go from here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Aikido, 4-23-11 (Abbreviated)

Forgot to post a training log for April 23rd, and my memory is foggy. The one thing I do remember is feeling like certain parts of my Release 6 & 8 felt better than they have ......ever! It's mostly in the correct footwork at the correct time. That made a huge difference.