Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Difficult Explantions

During a lull at work today, I was attempting to explain Aikido to Beleek and realized I have lost the ability to easily explain what's happening. I've been trying for a while to pinpoint a single, easy to teach movement that gets the FEELING of Aikido across to someone with no training in it. It's a lot harder than it sounds. I've noticed people move awkwardly when paying attention instead of how they naturally move. I thought maybe I could show Beleek the 2nd movement in Nijusan, Aigamae-ate. I noticed during the off balance no matter how slow we moved she was compensating the off balance and recovering her balance but wasn't aware of what she was doing. I used to think "move here, then there, and lastly here" during the movement...now I see all sorts of things I never saw before. I explained it to Beleek in terms she could understand. She did a large picture of her face and from a distance the lines making up her eye look horizontal, but up close each few inches are made up of tiny swirls. I used to see Aikido like that. I saw a large overall picture of a throw made up of 3 basic movements, now I see tiny nuances and can't explain things in the big picture anymore. I don't want to overload the poor girl with my ramblings of tiny circles (to continue the metaphor), but I can't seem to show the big lines anymore.
I tried uploading the image she did, but I've been having trouble, so please use he link.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More Photos

Showing the Mount
Me Playing Teacher
Beleek About to Escape
Andy Still Going Strong

New Partners

Well last night we were down in the garage as normal, which by the way looks like this....
As you can see, we have a pretty limited area. That's 10' wide by the way. Still it doesn't matter where you train as long as you're training. Beleek and Beau joined up last night so I got to play teacher with 3 students :)
Things briefly started out with Deashi-harai just to emphasize off balancing and those famous lines we tend to work on in the Fugakukai. For anyone reading this not in the Fugakukai the lines I'm referring to are the lines created when a person steps. Take two feet and draw a line going from one foot to the other then a line perpendicular the first line. Those four lines are where a person's balance is weakest and we try to throw down those, or off balance down those, then throw.
The main part of the night was discussing the mount, the guard, and escapes from each of them. After talking about shrimping and it's many uses we did a little randori and a few things happened. First off, Beau and Beleek did a good job of putting what we went over to use, Beau even came up with an impromptu arm-bar. Secondly, we had our first injury unfortunately. Beau caught Andy in the lip with his knee while trying to shrimp. Andy's alright though. More pictures to follow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What a Twist!

If you read either my blog or Andy's, you should notice the mostly the same lessons as we tackle the same issues or cool instances that crop up during our training. As he said in his post we briefly went over ko soto gari again to make sure he had it. I wanted to try uki goshi but that the time of class I just could not get the timing right. Andy's a lot taller than me so the problem I ran into was when loading him on my hip, he could just take one of his stork legs and plant it. I knew it was an off-balance problem I was having (more on that at the end of the post).
I decided to show him ko uchi gari instead which turned out better for the both of us. We got into a discussion over techniques and I ended up showing O uchi gari too. I was amazed to find out that even though that throw has notoriously escaped me, while telling Andy about it I was able to break it apart in my head and re-piece it together so that it made more sense to me. Of course that was great because then I could relay that info so that it made sense to him (hopefully).
Moving on, we did tegatana and talked about short steps about should width before moving on to the event of the night which was Nijusan. Andy wanted to switch it up a bit by having uke pull his arm back before moving in and then extend it as he was stepping. It felt more akin to a strike and changed my perspective a little. It also made the off balances more exaggerated. Each time we threw the other in one or two steps. It's funny how a little change in motion can drastically alter the parameters of what can and will happen. I'll let Andy go more into detail about that. Just before a Judo thing I wanted to work on, we practiced avoiding a punch (don't worry Pat, we went slow) from same hand same foot, then from uke having the opposite forward so he could twist into the punch. The same hand same foot thing happened almost just like Nijusan, but the opposite foot and hand punch was astonishing to watch. As each of us did it whoever was Tori could easily (and I mean EASILY) step in and shomenate their partner before the swing was finished.
Lastly, the Judo. I don't watch UFC a lot, but I occasionally see a match starting to happen as I'm scanning channels and I'll watch, along with kickboxing, Mui Thai, whatever. I like watching people move and seeing what works for them. The problem I notice more often than not in the UFC (and let me just state here I don't want a hail of posts arguing over if MMA is effective or not....it IS is most circumstances this is ONLY MY OBSERVATION), is that when someone is on the bottom, guard or not, they just turtle up while the guy on top beats the tar out of them. So I had Andy put on some gloves, get in the mount, then the guard, then with me in the mount and in the guard, and had him punch at me to see if I could get out. Yes in each case is the short answer. You'll most likely get hit once or twice, but with a little practice I know you can cut it down to zero nine times out of ten. Either way, when I had Andy in the guard he didn't get a chance to hit at all due to my shrimping and moving his hips as he tried to punch. He lost balance every time. Try it!

One Last thing....as I was watching tv and walking towards the kitchen to make a sandwich I figured out what was wrong with my uki goshi....or at least something I could do to make it work for me. Instead of trying to throw Andy off my hip or "clip him with it" as Pat used to say, I learned I could load him on it (even just a little) and turn a little more away from him rotating him around my body until it threw him. Not the proper way I'm sure, but it worked for last night. I plan on more study with it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Last Night's Randori

While my and Andy's attempts to get our roommate Beau involved in classes haven't met with the success we'd hoped, so far we're having a blast. Last night we briefly went over ko soto gari for about 10 minutes then almost an hour of ground randori. Andy's getting much better at his ground work and because of this I noticed after class that during class I was saying things like "That was great, but make a slight adjustment here. Oh and try this" and by the end of class I must've given him 50 things to work on. I need to remember to just pick one or two things and everything else will just naturally happen. When going over ko soto gari I noticed my ko soto gari was looking fairly well last night but when I made a comparison to hize garuma, I couldn't get the throw to work for me :) the lesson there is, when a throw is working for you one night, you stick with it and change it up the next night. I've been in correspondence with Pat hoping to get some pointers now that I more fully understand what he was telling me a few years ago. It's frustrating when you get advice but you can't act on that knowledge until a year or so later when you ACTUALLY understand it. I mean you understand what the sensei is telling you when he/she is saying it, but it's much farther down the road when you say "Eureka !" and have an epiphany of what they were really trying to convey. Anyone else have that happen to them? I want some stories!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Martial Atrophy

Friday night before practice I was talking to Andy about what I call Martial Atrophy. He feels that he's settles into his rank. In my view, I'm usually getting better or worse, moving forward or backwards in progress but always moving. If I'm not practicing I feel like my skills are declining. I was wondering if there should be a system in place so that if a martial artist doesn't perform or practice for x amount of time if his rank should decrease due to lack of participation. Later that night during actual practice we went over Nijusan and though I haven't practiced it in a while, my views I discovered were pretty unfounded. While my off-balance timing was a bit off, once me and Andy started moving I could easily feel where his momentum was taking us. I recalled how difficult it was when I was a green and yellow belt and how much I have progressed since then. There's nothing quite like realizing you can still surprise yourself.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Let the Training Begin...

Me and Andy had our first actual practice session tonight. We've had varying schedules lately (and a little laziness on my part) so things didn't start as soon as expected. He told me if we were going to be doing any Judo, he needed to go over the basics again. I showed him Mune gatame, Kesa gatame, and Kata-gatame. We mostly worked on positioning the body and later on escapes from said holds. Now that we have mats I can go over hip throws and actually fall from them. We also touched on Ki-Hara Aikido randori. I remember when Pat showed it to me (and Pat if you're reading this please correct me if I'm wrong) in order to change the direction of movement someone had to take a step first. Overall it went well, and it felt great to be at it again. I look forward to making at the very least weekly posts on it. Monday my girlfriend will be joining us for some Judo. She has no interest in doing Aikido by I'm sure with Pat's trick of showing the cool ninja move of the night and it actually being Aikido or Judo (whichever you want them to learn) and later telling them "you know those moves are from (Aikido/Judo) AND what you've already been taking" she'll join in. I hope she doesn't read this....