Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Slight Delimma...

So I had another night where no new students showed up but I did have a note waiting for me when I got there tonight. A mother left a note asking if I would consider teaching Aikido to her 13 year old daughter. Most of you are probably saying "so?" well here's the problem...the Fugakukai doesn't teach Aikido to those under 16 years of age. Normally I'd just say "sorry, I'm not allowed to teach your daughter", but if I don't get a regular student each night I won't have a class anymore. If I DO teach her daughter I can't rank her or even have a higher ranked member rank her (and parents generally want to see progress for their children in the material form, namely belt colors). Also, I have no idea how I'd teach Aikido to a 13 year old. I could do the wrist releases and flowing excercises but I certainly couldn't do kote gaeshi or kote hineri. I could really use some suggestions soon. I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place. Oddly enough, 13 is the age I realized I wanted to study Aikido and close to the target age range I'd like to start teaching anyway. Kids at 13 seem to absorb things like a sponge and have pretty good control of their appendages at that age. Any advice would be most welcome...ANY

Thursday, January 22, 2009

When it Rains it Pours

Ok this post isn't about Aikido or the comic. I just had one long night where I almost didn't make it back home and felt like posting about it. First off let me say I live just across the water from Seattle in a little town called Bremerton. Taking the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle is free, but it costs almost 7 bucks to take the ferry from Seattle back to Bremerton. Well I forgot to take my debit card with me when I went in to Seattle tonight. I had it out of my wallet and just forgot to put it back in. When I got to the terminal I felt a little embarrassed and asked the teller if I could pay with a check. She said of course as long as it's a state check. I just had starter checks but the bank address (in Washington) was printed on it and the teller said that'd be fine as long as I had my license...which I did. Unfortunately I haven't gotten a Washington state license yet so the teller said they just couldn't take it. My last resort was to collect call my roommate and ask for a few bucks. His cell phone doesn't accept collect calls. The only other number I could remember was my mom's land line. All this took place about 10:30 and the last ferry leaves at 12:50. My mom offered to call and give them her credit card number to buy one, but that's against their policy. The ONLY thing they could do was tell me to tell her to buy a ticket online and give them the confirmation number. So I call mom back and tell her what to do, and head back to the teller. Turns out they don't need the confirmation number, they need the barcode number off the pdf file. We have to wait 30 mins before all this goes through...and I should mention my mom only has a dial up connection where she lives. So we get the e-mail at about MIDNIGHT and the file is corrupt. The teller says all she can do is tell me to tell her that she needs to buy another one and ask for a refund tomorrow as all help lines are closed. The teller then tells me that I should've thought of that before forgetting my card to which I replied "Thank you, that was very helpful" in as sincere a voice as I could muster. Well then I get a call from my roommate. He looked at his phone, called my mom who explained everything and gave him the payphone number to call me back. I tell him he can drive to the ferry right next to our apartment and buy a ticket in person and they can let me on here. A solution the teller gave me an hour ago only she forgot to mention all the terminals are closed over in Bremerton. She does say that he can drive 30 miles to Bainbridge and get one long as he gets there before 12:50. At this point it's 12:30 and I'm starting to think that I might be sleeping outside as the teller informs me I'll have to leave at 1am. So I have no money on me, no place to go, and it's FREEZING outside. Out of nowhere mom calls back and says my little sister was able to ungarble a little bit of that pdf file and get the barcode number. I write it all down and give it to the teller who gives me a ticket to BAINBRIDGE! It's now 12:45 and I tell her I wanted a ticket to Bremerton. The lady tells me I need to get a refund and exchange it. I ask who I can return it to and she says it's her. So talking with this wonderful public servant for 5 more minutes I BARELY catch the ferry and made it back. Just thought I'd share that with everyone. God bless and remember to always have a little cash in case of emergency

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My roommate was good enough to come with me tonight to make sure I had someone to teach. We went over my original lesson plan I've had for 2 weeks. We did Honasu release number 1, 3, 5, and 7. I emphasized getting behind the arm and moving as Uke passes mai. We talked about the parallels between the MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) and Aikido. Rigney's picking it up relatively quickly, and hopefully he'll be back next week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When the student is ready...

The rest of that quote is "then the master will appear". I received an e-mail a week ago saying that there were two students that were going to show up tonight and an e-mail yesterday saying something came up, they'd come next week. The subject of the original e-mail said "When the student is ready" I started thinking. No one showed up to class tonight. My question is, what happens to the master? I used to think that the saying meant that when a student is serious he'll be able to find a master with commitment to looking. Now I'm thinking it's because there are no serious students that it'll be easy to find a master because they're not in seclusion...they're just bored waiting around for a student. Let's substitute "teacher" for "master". I'm by NO means even close to a master. Still, I want to teach, but I can't without someone to learn.

Update on the Comic

Apparently I have 1 person reading my blog who used to be an illustrator/cartoonist/designer. Mark Cook over at Oldman's blog. So since I have a new update concerning my project I thought I'd let you guys in on it. Me and Rob have FINALLY commissioned our artist, Zack, to start on the first few pages so we can submit them to a publisher. We have a very favorable shot with 1 publisher and we're really excited. I don't want to say who yet, in case it doesn't work out. More news soon so stay tuned...same bat time...same bat channel...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

First Class!!!

Okay, so here's what all my adoring fans have been waiting for. My first class was...empty. WHERE are all my fans? To be honest I wasn't really expecting anyone to show up for the first class anyway. The poster I put in a previous post was not even put up until this afternoon. How are all the Seattlites (or Bremertonians) supposed to show up if their local YMCA hasn't informed them? Oh well, there's always next week...unless no one shows up a few more times.
There was one interesting thing that happened though before class however. After I arrive at the YMCA about half an hour before my class, a guy at the desk named Mark introduces himself to me and asks if I'm the new Aikido instructor. I say yes and he asks if I know where I'm teaching the class. I tell him it's upstairs and he asks me to follow him. I start trailing behind him as he's walking and remind him that the Hapkido class runs until 8:15, when my class begins. He asked if I knew Vern (the Kung Fu instructor) and I explain I've only met Vern once. We go down this hallway that ends in a door I've never seen before. Mark opens the door and steps aside. I go with Mark right behind me to see we're on a racketball court with no windows, just a blank square room with hardwood floors and the door closes making this ominous sound. I turn around to see Mark dropping his keys and squaring his body to mine. He starts talking about how he used to teach MMA and has taken Jeet Kun Do and how him and Vern spar from time to time because they used to be in competitions together. I'm thinking "great, my first day and some guy who works here is about to take a swing at me". Mark keeps talking and I say "That's interesting" as I put down my gi and take off my jacket maintaining a non-threatening posture but never giving him my back. Mark squares his posture to me and I relax my arms and shift my weight to the balls of my feet. I keep going through my head saying "Just step out of the way, throw your arms up. Just step out of the way, throw your arms up and ask what the hell he's doing. Just fall out of the way and put your arms between you and him". Mark finally stops his competition stories and how the YMCA here doesn't want an MMA class because it promotes violence and says "So teach me some Aikido" and his arms are partly raised and he's definitely in a fighting stance. I respond "Ok, my class starts at 8:15 upstairs." Mark who's been sizing me up, all of a sudden completely changes his posture to this relaxed, weight on his heels, hand in his pockets posture and says in a calm voice "Oh, I can't make it tonight. I have to work at the front desk from 8:15 till close. Show me something real quick". WHEW! I would have bet anything he was about to jump me and all of sudden just didn't. So I showed him the first wrist release explaining how Aikido is more about evasion and protecting yourself, not hurting the other guy. Mark listened and seems to really grasp everything I said. At about 8:10 he says "Ok, I'll try to switch shifts or something and make it to one of your classes. You'd better get going or you'll be late." Not what I had in mind for a first day, but it was interesting.

Poster Credit

This class poster was brought to you by a guy in Singapore. Here's a link to his deviant art page. As a side note, after going through orientation at the Y up here and seeing all the other martial arts and self defense class posters, maybe I should do a flashy one. The Kung Fu guy has two, one of him in this flowing white frog button shirt in a crouching position, and one of him in robes weilding two tai chi swords. The Hapkido guy has a shiny glossy black one of someone being thrown with something that looks suspiciously like kote gaeshi. Maybe I should get something more like this!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Class Poster

Here's the poster for the class I came up with

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Classes start Tuesday

The Aikido classes start this Tuesday and I'm excited. The only problem I see thus far, is that the class time will only be 45 minutes long. How am I supposed to get in ukemi (falling practice), Tegatana (the walking kata), and my long speeches all within 45 mins. All that PLUS new material? Talk about condensing my vast Aikido knowledge! In all seriousness I would appreciate any ideas. I really want to get the basics done every class.