An empty mind is a terrible thing to waste

Another good workout by Charlie tonight. The pacing was good in that I didn't poop out too early.

Sidney was there and I worked with him on one technique and fortunately it wasn't too aerobic so I wasn't too exhausted. However it was interesting to take advice from Sidney (my Sensei) that later appeared to be contradicted by Charlie. What made it interesting was that I think they were actually saying the same thing but from a different approach. So while Sidney said to raise my hand, Charlie said to lower my hand. BUT, I think after Sydney said to raise my hand to apply nikkyo but it looked a little too high when Charlie walked by. So he said to lower it.

The class closed with jiu-waza and Charlie said for beginners to use one attack by more advanced student could use more. I worked with Sean (advanced) but I still think of myself as at best an advanced beginner and probably just beginner. Anyway I was please to find my self using the response to yokomen where you bend the blocking arm to slip behind uke to slid across their back and by grabbing their shoulders you bring them to the ground.

Even more amazing was that I was able to deflect a punch (tsuki) with an irimi type opening but then switch to the slip by the back and bring uke to the ground movement. So I managed to take what I learned from the yokomen attack and apply it to the tuski attack. And by accident.

I speculate it worked because I was too tired to think, so my mind was too empty to spend time planning what to do.

I think one can think as jiu-waza (or jiyu) waza as the step before randori. With randori a bit more “all out”.


The Weakest Link – is the whole damn chain!

I meant to make use of the hour of so between work and Aikido to work through another section of Rosetta Stone. I made it to the library near the “dojo”, powered up my laptop... but I had to sit near the young adult magazine display. There was Shonen Jump and the manga for Death Note in view and I could not help myself and spent my time reading manga meant for teenagers.

According to wikipedia ...

“Weekly Jump targets young males ("Shōnen" is made of the kanji that mean 'young(少)' and 'years (年)', and is a Japanese word for 'boy'). It features manga with lots of action and adventure, often featuring young, male protagonists with special powers and/or abilities. “

So there I am, meaning to better myself through self paced study and I end up reading comic books like I did 40 years ago. The cold hard facts are a bit pathetic. Not that I failed at one point in my chain of interests designed to fulfill my life, but that the whole approach (my whole world view in fact) is perhaps is flawed. Pathetic also is the fact that it doesn't bother me too much. This is paradoxically encouraging and depressing at the same time.

I did make it to Aikido class and it was good. Charlie worked us pretty well and I think what I liked best was the part where we were encouraged to leave no time off between attacks so it all felt like someone was coming at you all the time. The point being to teach us to react by reflex and not by thought. It was the most tiring and I felt like an old man, but it was also the most rewarding (clichéd but true).


Teacher is Taught

Our dojo now has a regular instructor from a different Aikido tradition, Tomiki Aikido. Sidney Sensei has often said it is good to learn from other traditions and indicated that by broadening our Martial Arts experience we better understand what he is trying to convey. He often shows how a karate attack would relate to a technique and even how we should learn from the way a boxer reacts to an opponent.

That sensei willingly takes on the role of student, I find somehow inspiring. The Tomiki Teacher asked how to proceed but Sidney simply said to proceed as he thought best.

I like the references to the practicality but I gather that although the goal of Tomiki is a Randori type competition, the training is quite structured, and I'm not a structured guy. So it is nice to see another perspective but the best part is seeing the willingness of the official teacher to be a student like the rest of us.

The clip above is from some Tomiki competition. I don't know much about Tomiki but this is what I found on YouTube.


El hombre sin gorra está escribiendo

Note to self you just finished Unit 4 lesson 11

That's it for Unit 4 and WOW it is well over a month since the last time I worked with the Stone. I've be playing with the Spanish language paper some, but I must admit I've not done well with my español studies. Buy at least it is more than animations attempts. So if you set a bunch of goals be the average to poor results look good when compared to the abysmal products of the those in worse shape.

The holidays were tough so I'm giving my self a break. Plus I still want to pursue the Spanish think so rather than drop it because I haven't done enough, I'll keep trying when I can make myself and maybe before I'm 75 I will be able to talk a little Spanish.

We also passed an anniversary of sorts, over 6 months of blog posting. That means I still have 24 and ½ years to finish the blog and achieve my “goals”.


Exaggerate Your Way To Success

Last night we mostly practiced from a Shomenuchi attack and one response was kote-gaishi. For some reason I thought I knew how to do this technique, but actually I saw last night how much I didn't “get it”.

It is always a bit difficult to balance the slow speed you use to learn something against what would really happen from and attack with real speed and intention. If somebody attacks well you tenkan (turn) and uke's forward momentum goes naturally but with a slower “training” attack nage must shift their weight forward after grabbing the wrist to simulate the momentum of uke. While this is not quite “real” and Sensei emphasized that a faster attack would require less from nage, the intention and motion is still part of the movement. (see the video at about a minute into it)

Sidney often tells us to exaggerate our movements when we are practicing and going slow. Once the exaggerated flow is internalized, what you learn remains at the heart of your practice.

Anyway, last night I kept feeling how I was NOT shifting forward, rather I was extending my hand while I was already stepping back to apply kotegaishi. I guess I can at least recognize what I'm doing wrong. That is progress of some sort.


Easy To Be Hard

Today we worked mostly from ai hamni katatetori and at one point we responded with sankyo. I've done this before where after the ikkyo start you lean in with your shoulder to the armpit of uke while you switch hands for sankyo. But today Sidney demonstrated it with just a shift of forward and the hands naturally switch.

I had trouble adapting and when I had a chance I asked Sidney about the difference and he insisted this way was easier.

The problem is that, while I can see when the move is done well it is easier, but when done poorly it is harder since you can't feel the move. So in this case the harder method is easier and the easier method is harder.

The clip shows yet another version of Katatetori Sankyo, so it demonstrates neither of the versions I've worked on, but it shows something of the technique


Tengo una idea con al día

Since I've fallen down on my Rosetta Stone practice I'm trying to supplement my studies by attempting to read the free Spanish language paper al día. The Spanish looks to be simple enough, perhaps the stories are clear enough that few idiomatic expressions are needed.

Anyway here are some words I learned today.

cifras – numbers
sede – seat
escolta – convoy
presuntos – presumed
pulgadas – inches
la madrugada – early morning

la tos – cough
hipo – hiccough