Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wrist Lock

Never in my life have I had so much difficulty describing moves. Beard says, "how to do explain something felt?" In my last entry I was really unable to describe a lock, but Meg asked for a bit more so I took the camera and tried to get some shots of our basic lock. Thankfully we didn't do anymore in class because my wrists are still a bit tender.

Let me just say that their are a million ways to do this and we practice as many as we can, but this is about the easiest one I could describe.

First you take the striking hand on the outside with your same side hand. This could be from a block or just a straight up grab if you are fast and accurate.

We traditionally block farther up the arm and then slide down to the hand, but you get the idea.

Next is the hand placement. The fingers go around the ball of the thumb into the palm and your thumb on the back of the hand.

I usually do the next part with two hands, but this is really designed to be a single hand take. You are supposed to role the person's fist/hand up toward their body.

Note: You've got do this starting very relaxed or the person will tense up and if you've little hands like me then you are doomed. Away to assist into moving into this position is to dig your thumb between the two tendons - ouch!
This is first part of the pain. A person can be dropped to their knees in this position if the curling towards them is continued while close in. Not very descriptive - sorry.
And finally the twist. It's not a great shot of what's going on, but let's say that not only am I pushing his knuckles towards him, but I'm rotating his hand so that the ball of his palm is now going towards his body. You'll notice that his elbow is moving in towards his body to create relief. The only escape is take a fall or other counters that take to long to describe.
I usually have to do this with two hands. It reduces slippage.
And, in other news, Nilon is absolutely obsessed about testing for his next rank. He constantly asks Teacher about it during breaks and after class. I find this repulsive because it goes against my whole gut feeling about why we are there, but at the same time I'm absolutely drawn in because I want to know too! So Teacher says, "we are absolutely testing before the end of the summer." He pointedly looked at me...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Educational Differences

Inside my body I think I heard/felt a prolonged, "creeaaakk."  To the best of my knowledge I think that could be bad.  

However, I'm typing this without a problem.  It always seems to be that way though.  During the evening I'm positive the wrist locks we are preforming are absolutely spraining or breaking my wrist, but I wake up with only minimal discomfort.  

Teacher took a new tack on the start up.  We did a traditional kicking series and I was partnered with new guy, LG.  Front kick, forward stance, back-fist, step behind into side kick.  Nice but you have to have a partner that remembered to back up so when you chambered for the side kick you'd be pressed up against them.  

At first I was working with Nilon - who was apparently asleep on his feet.  After a couple of runs up and down the length of the room he couldn't even manage to concentrate long enough to make an impact on the pads and definitely wasn't keeping up pace with my kicks.  He finally bowed out and took off.  

I was making polite conversation after he left  - essentially that Nilon was tired because he worked construction all day.  Teachers response - "If he's that tired how's he going to defend himself?"  Basically, I think he disrespected the Teacher by showing and doing a half-ass job.  I guess he should have stayed home and took care of himself.  Shrug.

So off to wrist locks and throws.  I got partnered with LG and it was back to the basics of the grab, hand position, the lock and then the throw.  I've completely forgotten all the things that can be addressed in teaching the kotegashi.  After awhile I was getting frustrated and Teacher came to the rescue.  He has a very good sense of what to focus on and what to let go for later.  I kept thinking of all the things he has told me in the past over and over until the sunk in.  Poor guy; at least he has some new folks that show earlier promise.  

That's where the crack and creak came in.  Something I never really appreciated before as it relates to the fold wrist lock.  To take someone down in the kotegashi the way we do it (ignoring all other body mechanics and foot work) is to fold wrist up as if you are waving someone over to you and then twisting that exterior.    When the person is down we have a variety of locks to utilize, but one that has escaped me is just the folding lock.  I never seen to cause anyone anxiety in that position and knew that it wasn't correct.  I was missing that the arm has to come up to allow a greater circle to be created, thus putting more umph into the wrist lock.  I had been basically stopping to soon in two or three axis.  

So LG learned quick from my realization and took me to task.  I'm glad that my audible body noises and arched back made him back off!

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's all in the hips

I don't think I'm at the point in which I can say that I fully utilize my hips in kicks and strikes. Every time I get lower in stance I have to completely retool the hip rotation. So if I'm in a deep zenkutzu stance I don't feel like I can twist my hips at all, so I'll raise up only to receive admonition from Teacher for a poor stance. Hmmm. Since I'm going up and down in stance heights, I don't have a consistent spot in which to practice and lock down what I'm doing.

My best kick for utilizing the hip snap/whip is the outside crescent using my right leg. It remains loose and my hip leads the whipping movement beautifully, but my left side just won't move smoothly. I'm having some lower back problems and some bursitis in my hip so I'm guessing that could be the problem. That, or it's the old saw - you're better on one side that than the other.

I was working with one of the new guys on those kicks and he was awesome. He kept his balance and could generate a lot of energy. New people make me sick. To compensate I took all the credit in teaching him his new skills.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This month in questions

Now I realize why Uchi Deshi only posts once in a while. When I started I figured it would be efficacious to keep a log of what I've learned to help me out in the future, but I find that at this point in my career the new things that I'm learning are far and few between or so subtle that it takes a few hours to write it all out. Also, the dramas of past classes have also seemed to died down to nothing as I've matured or, at least gotten used to the folks I saw as the source.

So I'll post if I can remember or if something profound comes up. Today I'm writing because of two subtle things. The first was that doing blocks that use the fore-arms has always been something that made me wince. What made it worse was that if we did not do a lot of blocking any "build up" was soon lost and the sensitivity would return. I noticed after a pounding last night I didn't feel a darn thing. I'm covered with some deep bruises, but nothing hurts. I guess the sensitivity to blunt trauma has receded. This is not to say that when Teacher uses a technique on me at full force that I don't often groan inwardly, but by and large I felt a little pride that I've been doing this long enough that blocks on the forearm aren't something that I have to dread.

The 2nd is that I believe that I have become a little bit smoother with my techniques. For years anytime I had to do any of our Aikido based techniques I would use a huge amount of muscle to force the issue - leading to poor execution and often a failure to get the desired effect. Of late we've been doing a lot of multiple attacker exercises and it's been pointed out that I'm not hunching my shoulders in effort and the take downs are a lot easier. However, after about 10 minutes of that I notice that my technique fails and I fall back on muscle - naughty.

Belt news - None! After Teacher and seemingly everyone in town seemed to know it was right around the corner, discussion and preparation have completely dried up. Is it me? Or is it Teacher? I don't think about it most of the time, but last night before class I was perseverating over it for some time. Asking myself a lot of questions with no particular answers or reasons to have them.

Bassai in the park

Holy Cow!  So much time has passed since I've sat down and collected my thoughts for a quick update about my martial practice.  March wa...