Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pretest Basics

We had a relatively low turnout tonight, presumably because it's Halloween (that's T.'s excuse, anyway). I was still not feeling better and, not wanting to spread the wealth (of germs), I didn't go on the mat tonight. I did take some pictures, though. Since all the people coming up for rokkyu testing in the next couple weeks were there the class worked on what they would need to know for their tests: kokyunage, iriminage, kotegaeshi. We ended with a little ikkyo and some randori.

Here are some of the pictures I took:

Our Sensei:

Shomenuchi at speed:


Weight: 298

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bokken Fun

Tonight, A.O. sensei went over the kumi tachi with an eye toward looking at effective responses to the various attacks. He told us they weren't AAA-approved. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling up to participating (I didn't want to spread any germs) but T. enjoyed it and I took some pictures:

1 initial attack and parry
2 position for counter attack
3 counter attack

Weight: 299

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Gokkyu Test!

T. was nervous about her gokkyu test tonight. We got to the dojo too late to do any practice before class started. After warm up stretches and aiki taiso we started with yokomenuchi taisabaki. We worked on yokomenuchi attacks all night resolved with kokyunage, iriminage, sokomen iriminage, and shihonage. After a round of soon-to-test randori, Sensei started T.'s test.

In my opinion (which is obviously not binding on anyone else!), she did the techniques better than I did on my gokkyu test a year and a half ago. She did have trouble pulling up a couple techniques and did some iriminage to keep moving. She had the weapons stances and attacks down much better than I did on that test. Sensei called me up so she and I could demonstrate the six kumi tachi and, except for T. getting a bit excited and adding another strike at the end of number four (twice!) we did really well (we forgot to ki-ai several times, too). She got very tired in her test randori (already having done one plus the whole test) but did well even when Sensei sent in a fourth uke.

In circle, after class, we sang The Ryushinkan Chicken for Sensei's birthday. He knew something was up but he even joined in singing for the last half. Afterward, we took Sensei out for sushi. K.W. and S. brought their five month old son, A., and Sensei played with him for a long time. I got to hold A., too.

All around, a good evening. Lots of fun.

Weight: 300

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jo Nage and Related Hand Techniques

Tonight, Sensei did his birthday rolls. We zoomed through aiki taiso but did 57 of several of them - hoo-wee, that's a workout! We started on technique with katateryotetori kokyunage to practice the open hand version of jo nage - throwing with the staff. It's all good!

Weight: 300

Monday, October 23, 2006

Kumi Tachi and Bokken Kata

T. and I went for the last outside night for Aikido we practiced the six kumi tachi and bokken katas one and two. We had a lot of fun working on bokken and jo the last few months. He might ask that A.O. and T.G. to do some weapons on some Monday evenings indoors.

Sensei wants to test T. for gokkyu on Thursday!

Weight: 302

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ryotetori Nights

T. decided not to spread whatever virus she was feeling tonight.
After stretching and aiki taiso we worked on ryotetori (grabbing both hands/wrists) variations: tenchinage, kokyunage, iriminage.

We've been ending class by letting those close to testing do Randori. Since T. wasn't there I got to do it for her.

Weight: 300

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Katatetori Everything

T. and I got to class just barely early enough to run through the kumi tachi once each. T.G. showed us how to properly hold the bokken in waki gamae.

After warm up stretches and aiki taiso we worked on the katatetori tai sabaki. That lead to katatetori sumi otoshi and then the same with a tenkan step as the opening tai sabaki. We then worked on several variations of iriminage and then kokyunage. To illustrate extending on the throw instead of throwing down we worked on throwing two people, one on each wrist. Last, we worked on katatetori ikkyo with some of the same tai sabaki that we practiced earlier. We finished up with a round of randori for the soon-to-be-tested students then did some meditation on creating a better world. Visualize, decide, commit, perservere. Another wonderful night.

Weight: 303

Monday, October 16, 2006

Kumi Tachi

We practiced the full set of kumi tachi this evening. We spent a little extra time on five and six because they're trickier than the others. I've got the basic moves down. Now, I need to work on timing and ma ai. Attending to proper ma ai will also help keep me from overreaching. A.O. pointed out to me on Tuesday that I needed to keep bringing the bokken back to my center and not let it fly out to the limit of my arm's reach which nullifies the strength of my strike. I have to keep in mind that the while the bokken doesn't have an edge I'm still supposed to treat it like it has one. Repeat after me: "The bokken is not a club."

T. drove home the long way tonight.

Weight: 305

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Katatori Ikkyo and Nikkyo

T and I got there a little late for stretching but we got to do the aiki taiso and rolls. We worked on katatori ikkyo and katatori nikkyo tonight. They are on the rokkyu tests coming up soon for four people. They'd also likely be on T.'s gokkyu test, too. These are so basic and so integral to the art that no matter how long or how many times you practice on them you can always refine them, always improve them.

Sensei also had us practice that control hold that starts from ikkyo but, instead, nage slides the off-hand down to grasp around uke's thumb. Curling uke's hand back towards uke's ribs then up under that arm. Nage ends up with a control hold that the uke has no choice but to comply with whatever nage wants.

We spent about a quarter of an hour doing paired technique as Sensei called them out. He was specifically watching the people who are close to testing but he didn't want all the rest of us just sitting around. It was a very intense session and I finally had to sit down (but not until after 8:30!). Last, he ran each of the soon-to-be-tested people through a randori. T. did very well with hers even though she said she was completely exhausted. Hmmm... Maybe that helps!

Fun Stuff.

Weight: 303

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Shomenuchi Night

T. and I got there early enough to go through one round of all six kumi tachi each. Others were working on doing the ushiro ukemi (back roll) up to a standing position without letting their knees touch the ground.

Because so many of us were already warmed up Sensei started right in on shomenuchi iriminage instead of stretching and aiki taiso. We worked on two kokyunage variants, a flying kotegaeshi, and ikkyo ura. We ended with several rounds of randori. T. did one and Sensei sent in two extra ukes!

I almost had to sit out but managed not to have to. Fun!

Weight: 305

Monday, October 09, 2006

Kumi Tachi 5 and 6

A.O. sensei lead weapons class, tonight. We worked on kumi tachi 5 and 6 and then put them all together. Kumi tachi 5 starts just like kumi tachi 1 but continues with a corp-a-corp (fencing term - I don't know the japanese term) leading to a pivoting leg strike and the mirror parry followed by a yokomenuchi. Kumi tachi 6 is... well, harder to describe. We also did some mindfulness training by working on reacting to any attack and finding appropriate counterattacks. T. and A.O. sensei demonstrated. She was really getting into it and doing well.

T. drove home again. She's getting better.

Weight: 306

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Katate Cosa Dori

We worked on katate cosa dori tonight - cross-hand wrist grab. From that starting point we worked on iriminage, sokomen iriminage, shihonage, and kotegaeshi (and probably some others). T. got to do a randori at the end of class, again, and did pretty well.

Weight: 305

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beginning Class?

T. and I got to class with just enough time to practice the kumi tachi we were working on last night before class started. After warming up we started with some ki training leading into katatetori kokyunage (with tenkan). That evolved into katatetori kaitenage. That evolved into... I'm not exactly sure what. After getting uke into the kaitenage position - bent over, arm extended over toward the other shoulder, hand on head - nage, instead of extending farther, steps around uke's head and leading his head the other direction and uke does a back roll or fall almost spinning on his/her back. Next, we used the same setup but switched hands into ikkyo ura. To close, we did some randori. Both T. and I got to do one. I felt pretty good doing mine and others said so, too.

Weight: 305

Monday, October 02, 2006

Kumi Tachi #4

T. and I went to weapons class, tonight. After running through bokken kata #2 we started working on kumi tachi #4. While it isn't particularly hard, it is tricky which makes it hard to get it right. There are several facets to the trickiness. First, the tsuki on steps one and two really need to be straight in toward the chest - not high or low or ascending or descending. Second, the response to the second tsuki relies on proper distance being created during the first tsuki and not being overbearing in the first parry. Third, the second parry requires that the parrying bokken pivot around the point of contact with the thrusting bokken, not the left hand as we often do. This type of pivot is used in when going from a parry across to a yokomenuchi strike while maintaining connection with the opposing bokken. This kind of move is essential to avoid giving the opponent something to struggle or push against. Fun stuff!

Tonight was Sensei's 28th anniversary of teaching Aikido at Standley Park.

Weight: 307