Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Recovery Day

Last night was the first time I have worked out 2 nights in a row. A
bonus! The usual soreness today, but all parts appear to be still

SB was visiting from up "nawth". I remembered him from the old days at
Valley Aikido. There are a few people I remember well from back then,
mostly other beginners I worked with a lot. For some reason I always
remember a joke told to me by a woman named Alysse. She was always one
to pass on a good pun (what constitutes "good" is an open question).

There was a hispanic woman who had twins. She named one of them Jose.
She named the other Hose-B.

Kokyudosa is this week's technique-o-death. Worked with SB and also
Sensei a bit. I was trying to move SB's elbows upward, but I was pretty
much out of gas. Everyone's technique is a little different, sometimes
a lot different. I tried to approach the technique as I learned the
night before with C, but nothing doing.

One feature of the last 2 classes has been Sensei throwing us all at the
end of class. Discussed this with R after class. We both want to be
thrown like the "big boys" (and girls), but it's pretty much the case
that we know enough to be dangerous, and we're stupid enough to injure
ourselves. I tried a high fall from shihonage and heard my shoulder
pop. Yep, that's probably not the way to do it!

This week marks the end of my first 6 months at the dojo. I'm getting
in better shape. The first couple weeks of class were pretty scary. A
few times my heart would start racing between techniques. At least I
seem to be past the phase where I could drop dead on the mat!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Beginners Classes are Supposed to be Easy!

Last night I was reminded of the 10-year rule: no matter what I do, some things are just going to take 10 years. Especially when working with "giants", I reflexively want to muscle through techniques, which of course is a losing proposition. Kokyudosa with C was um, interesting, the terror of cluelessness!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Better When Awake

I went the Thursday evening class last night instead of my usual Friday
7AM class. It was one of the best practices I have had from the
standpoint of feeling like I know what I'm doing. It helped that most
of the techniques were basic, not the more obscure kokyunage ones that
always give me trouble.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Real Issue

The problem is that I expect perfection of myself, or at least something
resembling "correctness". This is clearly not a reasonable expectation
after having practiced only 6 months this time around. I compare myself
with sempai who practice twice as often as I do, or more, and who have
been practicing for years and years. Over the years I have been used to
just popping in at a new school and already being among the best
students. Of course, this has been at schools more or less aligned with
my prior training, Korean style Tang Soo Do. With Aikido, I'm still a punk.

Last night I had the good fortune to work with M, who has arguably the
best ukemi in the dojo. He sort of floats down to the mat.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Some days are just like that. In the past I have said: "Mistakes are
what learning looks like." I learned a lot today by that measure! My
mind was not completely there this morning.

Today's revelation: I got more insight into morotetori kokyunage.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Kyu Testing Tonight

Looks like I have secured spousal consent to attend testing tonight. I
might even workout if I can find a non-disgusting gi.

The ongoing dilemna from last night's class is how to take ukemi for
iriminage. When I first joined the dojo, C advised me not to take a
roll for iriminage, or rather, not to take the roll I have become
acustomed to taking. This is going to be one of those things I will
have to study, looking at others to see how they do it. As it is now, I
can generally take the fall somewhat gracefully, but only if I follow my
instinct and roll as it seems natural. When I try to do it the "right
way", it's not very pretty, and for me less safe. So.. for now I will
generally stick with the fall I can do safely and gradually move in the
direction of correctly.

Dr. D commented on my enthusiasm for our jo classes. I guess there are
two reasons for this: firstly, I feel my prior training comes in handy
here, especially in basics and kata. Also, and most importantly, my
weapons training up until now has been sketchy at best. This is the
first time I have made a committment to regular weapons practice, so
it's all new stuff for me.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Just Keep Practicing

7AM class is interesting. I'm mostly mentally there, but sometimes a
bit slow. Generally being a morning person anyway, by the time I get to
the dojo I'm fairly energized.

Today we practiced shihonage among other things. Shihonage is one of
the most basic techniques and I generally have had the opinion that I
can "do" the technique. However, today Sensei demonstrated, solid
connection, centered. So I attempted to do the same. It felt like I
was way off, pretty much following the habitual way I do it (wrongly of
course). I can do it quickly and get away with all the slop, but going
through it slowly I realize I don't know what I'm doing.

Imagine the voice of Darth Vader booming: "Now you will experience my
technique of exceptional lameness!" It just doesn't sound right, but
that's where we begin. They don't show how many times Anakin stumbled
and dropped his light saber in training.

Fortunately, my reaction is just to want to practice more.