Tuesday, May 30, 2006


K.R. and T.D. are going to be testing this coming month.

Another Ikkyu Test

T. decided to stay home and work on school stuff this evening. She missed out watching (and participating in) B.N.'s ikkyu test. But first we worked on katatori menuchi ikkyo, katatori ganmenuchi ikkyo, yokomenuchi sudori, ushirodori jujinage and others.

What a test it was! I was called to do some of the techniques and several exhausting minutes (seconds?) of jiyuwaza. Great randoris. We're reasonably sure he passed but we have to wait until next week to find out for sure. Several of us took him out for sushi afterward.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Triple Birthday!!!

Tonight we celebrated three birthdays: M.R. (not the one who tested Tuesday), M.L. and T.G. After working on some tricky reverse tenkan entrances to munetsuki sokomen iriminage, kokyunage, kaiten nage and others we got down to birthday rolls. We did things a little differently this time (as usual). M.R. started off by doing randori with groups of three so he had a chance to throw everybody. After he was done, everyone else (including Sensei) did a round of randori with M.L. and T.G. as part of the uke team so they could ge their rolls in. I did my best randori ever and sensei complemented me on it! Afterward, we went out to sushi.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

An Ikkyu test

We worked with a lot of tanto dori this evening. Near the end of class, Sensei called M.R. to the front and gave him his ikkyu test. It was a very long test and he did well.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Twirlin' My Jo

T.'s done with her play so we went to Aikido tonight. A.O. sensei lead us in warm ups then we worked on some fine points of some degage'-like parries - left and right, over and under. After that we went through jo kata number 1. Finally, we walked through jo kata number 2. I don't think I've done 2 since last summer so I'm glad I remembered as much of it as I did. We concentrated on the sweeping spin at count 16. I'm glad we did since those usually get me off-balance and practicing it by itself with A. sensei's guidance helped me figure out how to do it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Yonkyu! Woo-hoo!

All three of us passed our yonkyu tests on Tuesday! I felt pretty good. We had a good class, tonight (as usual, of course). We worked with tanto-dori since we have a couple ikkyu tests coming up (not me!). We did udegarami, a sokomen headlock pin, some classic ikkyo - a bunch of good stuff. Fun!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Well, Whaddayaknow!

Sensei said he had a surprise for us and that we'd find on at 8:10. We got down to it fast and furious tonight. We were zipping through techniques left and right. I was tired right from the start, wilting during the warm-up aikitaiso. I got dizzy a little and had to sit down a couple times. Every time I did Sensei said something about how I was doing well or how I certainly had a little more to give. Every time I got up and did some more. Then, after a little mini-randori practice (I sat out), he announced the surprise. Three yonkyu tests. ... That meant me. He called us up - Hai, Sensei! - and we started testing. B.A. and E.L. are in much better physical shape than I am. Miraculously, I wasn't so tired anymore. My brain locked up on a couple techniquest but i carried on. I did the third randori and was pretty wiped but I made it. *Whew*

T.M. and B.N. took me out to sushi aftwards. I feel good!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Jo-Nage to Jo-Dori

We warmed up with some taisabaki to get the blood flowing. We worked our way down lines of ukes doing katate kosadori tenkan and irimi movements. We continued from where we left off Tuesday with jo-nage, again, following what we were practicing by hand with the comparable jo move. We also tried the jo-dori version of some of the throws. The difference between jo-nage and jo-dori is who starts out with the jo. If the nage starts out with the jo it's jo-nage. If the uke starts out with the jo it's jo-dori.

My sore shoulder continued to hamper my participation. Sensei told me only to roll on the other side.

T. was called up for randori. Sensei stopped her a few seconds into the first one because she was trying to out-muscle M.L., S.F. and another big guy. She did much better on the second try.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Relation to Jo-Nage

After S.W. warmed us up, Sensei started off with a variation on a katate kosadori shihonage entrance, or rather, retreat. Nage steps back leading uke forward and attaching to uke's wrist with the off hand. Then nage does an internal tenkan step, stepping under uke's extended arm and ending up with a neat shihonage. Everything this evening proceded from this taisabaki: sokomen iriminage, kokyunage, iriminage. After every version Sensei demonstrated (and we practiced) the jo-nage version of the same technique. Jo art informs the body art and vice versa. Very interesting and enlightening. It helps (me, anyway) to switch between the two because the differences in working with a jo - the ultimate extended, unbendable arm - teach me how the technique should feel when done with my own less-than-perfectly extended, unbendable arm.

Other things that this made me aware of:
  • Stay closer to uke - spinning out too far saps my strenth by taking my center away
  • Don't collapse my arm to get closer to uke - I lose strength that way, too
  • Don't bend over - loss of strength, vulnerable to getting kicked - bend my knees, squat
  • Don't back up - this prevents or interferes with proper extension and I can't create "a throwing condition". This is especially noticeable when doing iriminage.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Jo Kata #2

Nothing like Mambo #5. T's really getting into the jo and bokken so she really likes Monday's classes. Her new yellow shoes beat L's boots for most arresting footgear of the night.

This evening, A.O. sensei started us off by warming up with jo kata #1. He suggested improvements and refinements to our stances based on what the kata was meant to be: quick, fluid and more true to the underlying combat skills. We started learning kata #2 in short segments partnered with someone doing the attacks and defenses that give the movements of the kata specific meaning. We got into the flow and worked so long we had to move off the grass to work under the lights.

My sore shoulder wasn't giving me nearly as much difficulty as I thought it would (*whew*). It got tired faster but didn't really hurt. T's captivating new shoes ended up hurting her feet - we really move around a lot with the jo katas - so, next time, I think she'll be wearing socks.

T.M. told us that K and S's baby was born Saturday morning (May 6) and that everyone was doing well.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More Birthday Rolls!

T. was still to sniffly/coughy to be mixing it up with everybody. We worked on quite a few variations on ushirodori. Unfortunately, my "loose" shoulder didn't get along well with some of them and it gave a little too much. Dang! Since tomorrow is S.J.'s birthday we got to throw her around the mat.

This birthday custom of ours is greeted with nervousness by newcomers and embraced by those "in the family" since we do this in such a loving, accepting way. Sensei is always aware of how tired you are and adjusts accordingly. ("Accordingly" doesn't mean letting you just sit down, though. He pushes you to find your limits... and you do!) We went out afterward for a combined birthday sushi-fest.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Birthday Rolls!

T. was "on-duty" tonight so I came alone. After K.W. warmed us up, Sensei ran us through some variations on katatetori emphasizing using the body movement that K.W.'s warm-ups inspired. (Today is K's baby's due date so he was on call). Sensei emphasized the subtler body movements to draw the uke into nage's orbit rather than the larger moves our usual taisabaki uses. Interesting and challenging. Since it was L.U.'s birthday today we thoughtfully threw her around the room!