Slides Rule

Tonight we spent a lot of time on ukemi with much of it pure practice where we were not working on a particular technique and sometimes we just worked on falling and sliding while not working with a partner.

The goal Sensei was trying to impart is somewhat shown in some of the ukemi in the video (Please to note timestamps 1:04 & 2:52), but Shiba Sensei REALLY emphasizes the sliding or rather your center moving as you compensate as uke to nage's irminage. This is one of the cool things about practicing this art, in that there is the obvious beauty of the art but it is when you find a teacher who makes it special that really confirms why you spend the time to practice.

It looks like Sidney is simply sliding across the floor more than the rest of us, but by working on it tonight I saw that he is really moving his center and it is just that he lowers his center and goes with the flow. It is so freaking cool to see it in action and the thing is that tonight I may have actually gotten a little bit of the technique down. It felt so great to sense what I was supposed to do, even if I never actually got it exactly right. But I was at least on the right path.

For me ukemi with iriminage is difficult, although if the nage is really good they compensate for my weaknesses. The less sensitive the nage the worse my ukemi is with Iriminage. But tonight I think I got a little bit closer to knowing what to do. I can't emphasize this enough, it is like magic when you find yourself actually practicing magic while practicing Aikido it is...well, magical.

Of course I'm scared it will all be gone by the next class.


Old News

This is from last week when I was in Phoenix and drew the Barry Flannagan sculpture. I had hoped to find a photo of the sculpture of a elephant with a wild hare dancing on top of its head.

That night I was walking to an restaurant and saw a real life hare (or rabbit) with its really long ears. So in place of the sculpture I give you a photo of a real hare to take the place of the one that I started to draw but ran out of room.


Man On Wire

After my bicycle ride I walked to the nearest Movie Theater and saw “Man On Wire” which IMDB says

...A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century”

It is pretty amazing and the video of Philippe walking and laying down on a wire across the WTC towers brings you to tears. Of beauty? Of magic? Of what?

But it really is stunning.

I saw it on the anniversary of 9-11 so it had some extra poignancy which might have been interesting to address in the movie (it was not).

Probably improperly I have sympathy for this guy, in that he does things that have no objective value. Of course my value-less hobbies are not nearly so stunning.

Ride Baby Ride

After Arizona I went to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Today I went to Bike and Roll and by 8:30 AM was on the road on a bicycle to the Golden Gate Bridge. I rode across the bridge to Sausalito where I had a latte while waiting for the ferry back to San Francisco. Then I landed near the Bay Bridge (not the Golden Gate Bridge) and rode along the piers back to the Golden Gate Bridge except that I turned left and rode up through Fort Mason on the road to Golden Gate Park.

Along the way I stopped for a couple of slices of pizza and a couple of glasses of wine. After lunch I went to a bookstore next to the pizza place where I was scolded for writing down the titles off books since the owner didn’t want to have her store used as a display case and the people buy them elsewhere. She was really pissed about it. I ended up buying the book I had planed to but I thought about stalking out in a huff, but I did not.

After that I rode through Golden Gate Park which was nice but somehow I took a wrong turn ended up bypassing most of the park and ended up at the far west end of San Francisco .

I managed to get back to the rental place around 3:30 PM after a lot of huffing and puffing up some steep San Francisco hills.

So it was a great day with a lot of Bicycling.

Oh yeah, I went to Seattle Aikikai last night. I practiced and looked like a total wimp, but it was good.

The picture shows my route in orange.


Art and such..

I’m in Phoenix tonight and while there was no Aikido available I spent a few hours at the Phoenix Art Museum today when I had a few hours to spare between work tasks.

It’s a nice museum with a nice range of genres and artists.

The first sketch is from a bronze sculpture by Kiki Smith from 1998. From a quick web search I gather there are a number of these around and that they represent the world of feminist suffering.

The statue is a fountain and the water drips from the hands, but it so reminiscent of tears it I naturally assume it meant she was crying. Whatever the artist’s motivations it was amazing. I spent a long time trying to capture the angles but the above is all I came away with.( a pretty poor result)

While Kiki may have wanted to make a feminist stament what really struck me was the pigeon that landed on the hand. It seemed to indicat the world is not really so sad.

Then I went into the exhibit “You who are getting obliterated in the dancing Swarm of Fireflies” by Yayoi Kusama. You walk into an completely dark room alone and there are thousands of Christmas lights on black wires in a smallish room walled with mirrors. Immediately you are disoriented and the impulse is to turn around and go back to the entrance. As you step into the room the lights somehow change intensity and color as you walk around.

I later read she meant it to show her loneliness but at least for my first time it really lifted my spirits.