Thursday, August 31, 2006

Just Right

Last night's class was just right for me--not too hard, but I got something of a workout. In beginning classes like this one, it is great to get Sensei's breakdown of the details of techniques I have done for a long time, often incorrectly.

I was going to ask Sensei about my preference for not testing for a while last night, but during class thinking about it, my inner conversation was: "It's only a trip--just flow with it." Really, whatever I said would be just my own insecurity talking, pretty much just BS. So.. just keep practicing.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Lisa and I are doing a "cleanse" diet, drinking those yummy shakes and mystery potions of "stuff", mostly tea extracts it seems. Of course, since this is a fat burning diet, the idea is to make you starve half to death. So, if I lose 10 pounds, how will that affect my center? Chocolate (yeah, but is it really chocolate?) shake and later to class this evening.

I unfortunately missed Josh's class this AM.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I made it to Saturday class this weekend, but I was in a crappy mood. Sometimes I almost think I would rather spare people my "bad energy", but I always finish class in a better mood than when I started.

Randy is ready to test. Overhearing this on the mat, I get this mixed feeling of "hey, I want to test", but then "ugh, I don't want to test". I would like to be able to train more intensely to prepare for it if and when it happens, but life is a bit intense right now all around. Aikido is a way for me to relax now, and I don't really need more stress. I will have to talk to sensei about this.

I have enjoyed working with our new guy Jason (we actually have 2 new Jason's, go figure!). Beginners have modest expectations of me, as opposed to sempai who expect me to do things correctly. I guess they don't really expect perfection, but when I work with experienced people I demand more of myself and we do the "learning dance". I also feel I can be somewhat helpful to beginners, and they give me a feeling for what the "real world" feels like, since they are not conditioned to react to my technique in any particular way.

Anyway, we really worked on using the lower body, doing a katatetori kokyunage (tenkan and simple throw) using mostly the motion of the lower body. I really felt the thighs getting a workout.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Class with Josh this AM (me, Jason, Jim). Yokomenuchi is a diagonal strike to the neck, cutting downward toward the center. Josh showed us iriminage "California style", almost a static off-balancing that feels really awkward for the uke, because well, you're off-balance! How do you become off-balanced "with style"? Unhinged?

I was attacked by my inner space cadet today! My flow felt off for much of the class. I like to think that there is an allowance for it being 7AM in the friggin morning, so acting stupid is sort of par for the course. I was really wishing to be back in bed this morning to be honest, thinking "this will feel good when it's over". Pathetic really.

I still remember with nostalgia one of my first AM classes being uke for Andy, who was training for his shodan test. Jim was teaching that day and he was pretty merciless as far as the pace was concerned. Iriminage can be pretty brutal and I got winded pretty quickly.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ki and More Ki

This morning Jory was not feeling well, so we had the treat of Steve Sensei teaching. We spent the first half of class doing ki and stretching exercises, just the ticket for us overly tense old guys. :-)

Next Steve gave an introductory approach to tenchin movement. I tried to relearn it from the beginning and focusing on the details of the technique, found it more difficult than "just doing it" without thinking. I would focus on one aspect and totally lose something else, like focusing on the right hand and losing the position of the left. Since there were only 3 students, I had Sensei as my uke, and there is still part of the mind that says: "I'm working with Sensei--he's 6th dan. I'd better get it right." Then my energy gets jittery, which ironically, is not getting it right.

After class Steve clarified the movement for basic ki exercises. It's like coiling the energy into a ball, into the spine, rounding the back, and then springing from the center and opening back up. This was very useful, as this idea of energy movement and release is central to aikido.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

4th Kumitachi

We continued with bokken (wooden sword), learning the 4th kumitachi. I hope I don't have to memorize all of these! I wish I were able to practice more on my own, and well, sometimes I'd like to retire and do this all the time. Ah, retirement... (come on, snap out of it Dave!).

Jory says that I know enough to be dangerous now. I'm not sure I'd agree. Dangerous to whom? I would venture to say that the less experience one has, the more dangerous one is. Mostly he sees some bad habits. This is good, er bad. The habits are bad, but it's good he sees them. I think it would be accurate to say that I'm in "the middle", the difficult period of "knowing" some techniques, though superficially (making them dangerous I suppose). One positive thing, if it can be called that, is that I don't have the illusion that I have mastered anything. It generally feels to me that I have only a rudimentary understanding of ki. In aikido, it's all about blending with the attack. If there is a feeling of applying a lot of force, it's not blending.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Honored Visitor Day

This AM I had the opportunity to work with John, who is an old dojo member visiting from Hombu dojo--aka THE main dojo of Aikido for our style of Aikido. John pretty much rocks, and he has lots of tales from Japan about the various awesomeness that goes on there.

Considering the hour and my lack of adequate sleep (not quite 6 hours), I was surprisingly awake. We have been focusing on basic techniques, mainly because we have a new guy and a fairly new guy. Of course, in Aikido, even the most basic techniques can be interesting, exciting even, because you are always working to take your technique to the next level of subtlety, and if you aren't, well, I guess there are other perspectives, like teaching newer people, but within teaching there is the same principle.

Thought for the day, inspired by reading something about Vipassana meditation: how aware am I of my "molecules"? How much refinement is there in my awareness? ... and so on.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Hey, I Showed Up

Today's 7AM class I worked with Josh on bokken, 3rd kumitachi I think. I should know this already, duh, but today I felt like a beginner. I was sorry not to be able to give Josh a good workout today. But.. a 7AM workout is still a workout, despite beginnerisms and goofiness.