Friday, April 29, 2005

Yamada Arrives

Seminar with Yamada Sensei (one of O Sensei's direct students) tomorrow. This will be my first seminar since joining in January. I'm a little bit anxious.

Trying to practice jo in the mornings before I leave for work.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


We just started jo (short staff) practice on Tuesday nights. It has been years since I have done anything with a jo, maybe as long ago as 1989! We started with some basics and a short kata of sorts--6 moves. I was not feeling as enthusiastic as usual, thinking about guitar practice afterward. Fortunately, once you get moving practice carries itself along.

Going to a seminar with Yamada Sensei, one of O Sensei's long-time students, this Saturday. The place will be packed, so not much room for a lot of falling.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Seminar Almost Here..

Made it to practice last night. Not too many kokyunage's. Sensei seemed to focus on some more basic techniques: ikkyo, nikyo, kotogaeshi, and so on. Of course, there are so many layers of difficulty, even within the so-called simple techniques, that there is always more to learn. I had the opportunity to work with a lot of advanced students, and generally didn't feel too clumsy.

Yamada Sensei is coming for a seminar next week.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Tuesday evening I discovered a technique I am particularly bad at. This means it has a lot to teach me. It is a ryotetori (two-on-two hand grab) kokyunage (ki technique). I just couldn't get the hang of it during class. Afterward I was fortunate to practice a little more with M, and I was able to do the technique on the left side, but not on the right yet.

As I mentioned to my daughter's struggling soccer team, if you know what your greatest weakness is, this is a really good thing.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Back on the Mat

Last night was my first night on the mat in almost a week due primarily to my neck injury. It is mostly better now, though I can still "self adjust" (i.e. crack/pop when stretching it) pretty easily. At any rate it didn't bother me last night. Unfortunately, heartburn from the cup of coffee I had a couple hours earlier was unpleasant, but aside from that, a good class.

High point: during one of the first techniques, a simple kokyunage somewhat in the style of Kanai Sensei, I was able to direct my attention toward the details of my ukemi, the focus of my contact with the mat, my posture, the movement of my partner, K. It seems that in a sense, our level of aikido is related to our ability to break down each movement into it's most minute and refined movements, the exact arc of the hand or motion of the body, the exact timing and smoothness of each part of the technique.

Low point: I'm out of shape! Years of cubicle dwelling have not been kind to me. By the end of class, I'm winded, at times with my heart racing, visibly flushed. Then the analytical brain sort of shuts down and I'm left with my ancient reptilian brain, my habitual responses.

I have decided that it would be best for me to only attend one day of the upcoming weekend seminar with Yamada Sensei. That's about all I feel my body can handle at this point. 4 classes in 1 day will be quite enough for the weekend! What's funny is that before I joined I thought about just starting with a seminar. Sure, I'll just sign up!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Injured Reserve

I hurt my neck, so no aikido for a few days. It seems to have been a combination of aikido (stupid ukemi) and basketball. Go Heels!

Friday, April 01, 2005


Today, 7AM class, another private lesson with JL. Yokomenuchi--a diagonal cutting strike. Start from ai hanmi, a little further back than you'd think, just out of range. Difficult to get the correct motion. You'd think I would know how to do this correctly by now.

Shomenuchi iriminage: enter, cut down striking hand, turn cutting hand palm up, tenkan, slide forward and throw.

Check out this illustration (click)

The nage here is completely giving up her center at the end of the technique, bending way over. Don't know why, but hey, that's what google found today.

Man, this is just a treasure trove of illustrations! Check these out.

Now, of course, yokomen is the title of this post, so it's not the same attack, but uh...

Here are the yokomenuchi techniques.

One interesting note: there are as many variations of aikido as there are aikido schools. One thing sensei recently pointed out is that while we should extend ki into our techniques, we should keep our center, don't extend completely. I have a habit of over-rotating my hips, not having them square at the end of the technique. As this relates to shomenuchi iriminage, at the end of the throw, nage's head and shoulders should remain somewhat above the hips. So from my perspective, the illustration shows some overextension.