Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lack of responses

Ok I want a comment or two on my last post. Learning another way of doing Aigamae ate blew my mind. I've been thinking about that simple adjustment for days and no one's said anything about it. Pat, you've said you've been thinking of a response and you've posted twice since then so I know you must have something. Andy, you've been doing it the same way I have, what are your thoughts? COMMUNICATE

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Aikido in Poulsbo

I'll keep this brief because I want to make a video clip or two to demonstrate the cool stuff I learned. First off, everyone at the class was super friendly and cool. It never ceases to amaze me how family-like the Fugakukai always feels. It doesn't matter what part of the country or who it is, everyone always welcomes you with open arms and I couldn't dream of wanting it any other way. Ok that being said, there were a few differences (as there always are) between what I've been doing, and how they do things up north. Let me say different is not synonymous with bad, different is good. We had lots of space so instead of starting at Ma ai, we started 12-15 ft apart and I got to experience uke crossing into ma ai, which is something I haven't worked on in a while. Also, we did all the techniques left handed as well as right, which is also something I haven't done in a while and I'm glad to get the full thing now. Aigamae ate and gedan ate are the meat of what I want to talk about. Aigamae ate as we've been working on it at Pat's (second part of the video) started with the off balance, then a clock-wise turn as you drop out of the way behind the arm and then the hand to the face. The way we do it up here is still with the off balance then a counter clock-wise turn (kind of like in Owaza) which puts Uke right into Tori's hand. The thing to notice is the different directions of the spin after the off-balance. Gedan ate would probably be easier with the video clip but basically the only difference in how I did it at Pat's and how it's done here is the timing. At Pat's we seen to push through uke, and here there's a spot where we rise with uke but don't continue to step around behind him which causes uke to step into tori and it puts tori right into position where all he has to do is drop his weight. I know the video is not gedan ate, but gyaku gamae ate, it's just that it's the closest video I could find to demonstrate. The point I wanted to make is how Karl about 7 secs in doesn't continue around, but rises and uke just ends up where he needs to be. The SAME thing can happen with gedan ate you're just a little lower and rising up uke's body and he just falls into place. Comments? Oh and if you're reading this Pat, I invented this new way of doing things. Karl just copied me and put videos online (don't say anything Sensei Sheehy, let me have this).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mock Class at the YMCA

After talking about the differences between Hapkido and Aikido (and a LOT of reassurance that I won't be teaching a religion in the class), I have an Aikido class I'm teaching in December. I'd appreciate ANY pointers anyone could give, especially during the first class that will be a mock class for the employees at the Y before teaching members.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Feeling like a white belt again

So I went to this Hapkido class tonight and the first thing the instructor asks me is "Have you taken any other martial arts before?" I say "Well I just received my Shodan in Aikido" and he gives me this stern look and says "Well this is HAPkido". I say "yes sir, I'm just here to participate" after that the rest of the class was smooth. I use the word smooth liberally. I can't kick high, or do a middle knuckle punch, or a spinning kick well at all. I was making so many errors I felt like the first day I ever took a martial arts class. Not to mention that the first hour of class was running in place, then push-ups, then dive bombers, ect. I'm not lazy (well too lazy) but I was ready to start doing some real techniques, then came ukemi (falling). That was the only part I felt I did well in, although I got some quizzical looks with the way I fell (one knee up, the other leg out). Nevertheless, my rolls were smooth :). I was told a few times that I was too quiet when I rolled back to my feet, that I should slap hard and say "HAI!" as my shoulders rolled over the mat. I've been working towards being quiet for a while now. The beginning wrist releases are completely different, although the way they grip (not using the index finger) was the same. I noticed most movements were same hand, same foot too. My initial impression of Hapkido and Aikido is like two distant cousins meeting for the first time. They have the same family tree if you go back far enough, and a few of the same genetic quirks...but for the most part, they're pretty different.

When the YMCA comes a calling

So while looking for a job I received a call from the YMCA about my application. I'd put that I was a Shodan in Aikido and they asked me if I'd be interested in teaching a class a week for them. I told them I couldn't rank anyone and that I wasn't willing to teach children. One of the staff there in charge of hiring has a husband that used to take Aikido which is why they called. They gave me a free pass to attend a Tuesday and Thursday class to determine if the Aikido I'd be teaching is different from their current Hapkido class. If all goes well I'd teach a mock class for the YMCA staff and then be teaching a regular class if they think it would be a nice fit. Oddly enough, I'd be teaching to earn enough money so I could attend the classes in Poulsbo. Who ever heard of a teacher teaching so he could become a student?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holiday Best Wishes

I was going to put a clip of Steve Martin playing banjo up, but instead here's a picture of him playing, and a message for Thanksgiving. I know it says Christmas, but its theme and core of the message is universal.

Banjo music...and it's Jazz!

I'm still getting people asking me why I want to learn Jazz on the banjo. I've come across a couple of examples of songs I really liked. I'll post 3 of them here. The 1st two are by a guy named Eddy Davis playing by himself. Keep in mind he wasn't in any studio, just playing by himself in the living room. The last is by Bella Fleck and the Flecktones, a current group that does a Jazz and Bluegrass mix. Enjoy....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Job Hunting

Well I've been looking around Bremerton for work, at least until school starts. While putting an application at the YMCA, I noticed there are two martial arts classes. One of which is Kung Fu by a 6th degree black belt, the other is Hapkido taught by a shodan. If I do start working there, I might attend a class or two. Other than the applications, I've been practicing my banjo and trying to write another issue. It sucks that now that I have all this time to write, I don't feel like it anymore.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Aiki Buddy Gathering Photos

Here's a group shot from the Aiki Buddy Gathering of 08. There are many more photos on facebook if anyone's interested. From left to right starting from the top the participants were: Dr. Usher, Andy, Patrick, Pat, ME, Chops, and I can't remember the name of Dr. Usher's student on the bottom right (sorry dude).

Quick Post about the comic...

It's come to my attention that I was so excited posting photos on, and talking about my comic that I never told anyone what it was about. It's the story of a man who can clone himself but only a limited amount of times. Also, each clone has his own personality and agenda. Although he's a super hero, the story revolves more around the relationship between the main character and his clones who act more like his younger brothers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Settling In

Well it's been a week, I've put in a resume in a couple of places and had my first banjo lesson. It's really pretty up here (and a little rainy). I've been to a museum or two and gotten the tourist stuff out of my system. I've been considering building a puppet of myself (due to influences at the puppet and marionette museum/children's theater). I was planning on going to the Aikido club here this Tuesday but they're closed due to Veteran's Day. Thus far it's been a good experience. I'm apparently going to two Thanksgiving dinners and Beleek is supposed to be visiting just after Christmas. Just a quick look into what's going on with me :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Recently me and my roommate have been playing around with MCMAP (Marine Corps Maritial Arts Program) changes. It's very different than what they taught when I went through. They've taken out one or two useless strikes, like their implementation of the ridge hand. They've also added a few wrist throws. Rigney was showing me a throw that was sort of like kote-gaeshi except it's a hand grab and with the other hand "Tori" twists the elbow. A lot of the throws are ridiculously easy to stop by straightening your arm but I am glad to see they're trying. Also while in Aikido our style is to step off the line then disengage, theirs is to step into Uke on the line and engage and control. Not suprising, but I was suprised at how well Pat's "rolling the ball" technique kept Rigney off me while we had a little friendly randori. I just side stepped and brushed him off me repeatedly for a few mins till he gave up.

Monday, November 3, 2008

About the Pictures

Pat's wife Elise took many MANY pictures during the course of the week. SO many in fact, that she didn't have time to edit out the ones that didn't look well. She said she'd mail me a disc with my test pics on it. In the meantime here's a pic or two wearing my HUGE belt. I feel like a little kid who put on dad's oversized shirt trying to pass myself off as an adult.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shodan Test

Where to begin? This morning I woke up and I couldn't breathe at all out of my nose and was sore as could be from yesterday. I took a hot shower to break up some of the congestion and later realized I was running a fever. It would not have been bad at all except that it's one of those fevers that just suck the strength right out of you. We had a morning Aikido class at 9am and the rank test demonstrations were at 2:30. I started stretching around 1 and working out with Patrick (my uke for my test and I was his uke for his). We drilled through the kata a few times and I was soooo tired. At the actual test though, I pushed through it and fell fine for Patrick and felt energized. I definitely wasn't at my "A" game today but passed my test anyway. My favorite part was during a demonstration of Nijusan (the 23) I either stepped awkward, or didn't get the right push from Patrick, well SOMETHING happened that changed our relationship while we were moving and it ended in a cool throw that happened just by me following the motion. It was very Aiki like. Andy tested for his Ikkyu rank and I think his Nijusan demonstration went better than mine. The highlight of the day was when Pat was shaking my hand and said "here, I've got something for you" and gave me HIS black belt. It's WAY too large for me, but full of his Ki to be sure :) I was flabbergasted and didn't know what to say. I was quite honored and still am a little taken aback from it. Pat's wife Elise Parker took pictures of the days events and as soon as she's done burning cd's of it I can post them here. She took over 1000 photos though so you'll get the highlights. If you'd like to see the WHOLE thing, check out my facebook page. Shortly after class all my energy left me again and I need it back soon. I move for Washington (state) in 2 days and will continue my Aikido education with Thomas Sheehey. It feels weird being a Shodan (and I know everyone says that) but I guess I thought I'd be the first to have some epiphany after putting the belt on. Maybe next rank :)