Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gokkyu Test!

I got to the dojo a little early tonight so I could work on the kumi tachi we learned on Monday. We did another fast-start warmup with tai sabaki stretches - initial movements leading to stretches rather than throws - then our regular stretches and S.W. special ab exercises. We then went very quickly through all the techniques for a gokkyu test. I was dripping and felt pretty wrung out but I stayed with it. Sensei even called me up as uke to demonstrate yokomenuchi sokomen iriminage. We did some randori and I was uke in two of them - whew! - then we did D.T.'s gokkyu test which went pretty well.

After class, Sensei complemented me on how much my endurance had improved. It really has even though this week I've felt more wrung out because I'm trying to eat less and better. A.O. also complemented my on my will power and the spirit I bring to class. Since I've just recognized a couple weeks ago that I've been resting on my habit of attending class and have been focusing on, well, focusing, staying intent and - a big one - getting up as quickly as possible and maintaining zanshin (another lesson I helped illustrate this evening). Aikido is a spiritual path for me since, as I said in my conversation with A.O., will power and even just being present can't rely on muscle strenth or even thinking. It takes spirit. A.O. said that it is a skill that you have to practice and really work at for it to improve. That sums it up very well.

Weight: 307.5

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Shomenuchi Ikkyo!

Tonight, after a quick warmup we worked on shomenuchi ikkyo. It's a basic art and is on the rokkyu and gokkyu tests that are coming up. We did several variations including a nage version, illuminated with a bokken (tenkan, right hand between uke's hands on the bokken, spin uke around, left hand comes up to uke's right elbo for ikkyo, and slide forward for the throw). We also practiced shomenuchi iriminage which is good for randori.

We also had birthday throws for M.R. and Z.

I was a bit under-powered tonight but never sat down for a round.

Weight: 305

Monday, September 25, 2006

Kumi Tachi 1, 2, 3

We worked on kumi tachi (paired bokken kata) numbers one through three. They're short but, still, they're harder than kata because you have to coordinate with another person. The part that's coming hardest for me is the footwork. (That, and occasionally, I'll throw up the wrong parry - bad plan!) Fun. We'll work on the other three next Monday.

Weight: 308

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ushiro Hijitori Night

T. came to aikido tonight with the twin inducements of sushi and driving. We were a little late so we missed the beginning of warm-ups. After aiki taiso we worked on ushiro hijitori techniques (grabbing the elbows from behind): kokyunage, kotegaeshi, and iriminage. We ended with A.O.'s birthday rolls (25 was the number for the night) and a bit of randori for those who'll be testing in the next couple months. Afterward, some of went out for sushi to celebrate A.O.'s birthday and M.L.'s nikkyu advancement (last week).

Starting now, I'm going to be posting my weight. I am way overweight and it negatively impacts everything I do. It's, frankly, a danger to me on the mat and I need to put as much effort into losing weight as I do when I'm practicing Aikido. My weight certainly played a part when I hyperextended my knee in January 2005 and when I dislocated my shoulder a year ago.

Weight: 310

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Test Prep

Sensei is getting three of the new people ready for testing so the class worked on rokkyu and gokkyu techniques, tonight. I was feeling rumbly in my tumbly so I watched from the door.

Sensei showed something they did at the seminar this weekend called "monkey rolls" (no, it's not something you get at a sushi restaurant). Three people lie down side-by-side. The middle person rolls over toward one of the others. That person leaps over the roller and, lying flat, rolls toward the other person. The third person leaps over the second person and rolls toward the first. It's like braiding. Repeat until laughing occurs.

The class worked on katatori ikkyo omote with a low hand rotation with hip turn instead of the commonly-done high hand rotation. I like it. Next was munetsuki ikkyo omote, munetsuki kokyunage where uke continues straight forward.

The class ended with a lot of katatori nikkyo omote and ura. Sensei also showed variations that don't progress from basic ikkyo to nikkyo called "sword technique" and "spear technique". In "sword technique" nikkyo is applied quickly at the top of the hip and wrist turn like a vertical shomenuchi bokken strike. In "spear technique" nikkyo is applied past the top of the turn and uke's hand and wrist are rotated toward uke horizontally.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Nikkyu Test!

This was the biggest class we've had at the dojo since I started here. There were 27 people on the mat (including eight yudansha) and three or four watching from the sidelines!

After an A.O.-style tai sabaki warmup and aiki taiso we worked on ryokatatetori kokyunage and koshinage. At the end we had M.L.'s nikkyu test. Sensei called me to help with one part. The test went very well and he was promoted.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ukemi, Kotegaeshi, and More

After warming up we worked on ukemi for a bit. Boy, is that something I need! After that, we worked on several variations of ryokatatori kotegaeshi. We did some jiyu waza - well, it was all katatori but still - which, with a big class, took quite a while. That pushed me hard but I didn't give up and I didn't get hurt.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Bokken Kata #2

T. and I went to weapons practice tonight. The evenings are getting shorter! After warming up with suburi we did some paired yokomenuchi practice. We then learned and practiced bokken kata #2 to end the evening.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Iriminage variations, mostly, but some other stuff, too. Tired but not as tired as I was on Tuesday! Fun.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm Back!

I'm back after a family trip up to Oregon. Beautiful coast, mountains, rivers, ... bookstores. We had a new student this evening, plus it was C's 22nd birthday so 22 was the number of the night for rolls, etc. We're also getting M.L. ready for his nikkyu test next week. After warming up (man, can a week and a half out of the dojo take the wind out of me! I did, however, manage to keep myself up through the suspend-myself-on-toes-and-elbows for a count of 22 - twice!) we did some ki testing practice and worked through the four principles of mind/body coordination:

  1. Keep one-point (mind)

  2. Relax completely (body)

  3. Weight underside (body)

  4. Extend ki (mind)

We progressed into katatori shihonage then munetsuki kotegaeshi (advanced people did the hanmi handachi version and ended up with munetsuki iriminage (the expand-the-circle-around-uke kind). We ended with mixed jiyu waza (sort of like one person randori) and birthday throws.

It was good to be back