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On 3/22/2019 at 6:10 PM, sarakingdom said:

I wish that even worked for me this week. Maybe I should try harder...

 

I do think that my 6-ish milligrams of melatonin has been helping at night.  Not entirely sure.  It could also be a placebo effect, but I seem to be sleeping somewhat deeper on the nights I've taken it the last week or two.  To the point that I actually have some trouble getting up in the morning....

 

Lesse, challenge things.

 

Thursday I did nothing physical, but I did do a lot of laundry that I had been putting off.  In a way, that is physical since I need to descend two levels for every load of laundry I do.  Not the easiest thing, after doing Stairs the previous day.  But managed to get all of my towels and Gis clean, plus some work-wear.  Went to bed at a reasonable hour, though still needed a bit more sleep.  Friday I had fully intended to go train for 2 hours, but by 1:30 my energy and motivation were severely lacking.  After texting with one of my grading partners essentially we both decided some off-mat time would do me (really both of us) a world of good.  So instead of aikido I went and bought Infamous Second Son, and left work early on Friday.  It was a great life choice, and I feel quite pleased with the outcome.  Especially the part where I passed out around 10:30p.

 

Saturday morning I was nice and slow with my timing, but still made two classes at my dojo.  Then I was informed Harvard was still on Spring Break, so they had no place to train, so their classes were cancelled.  I was annoyed, since I had fully expected four hours of training.  #TestingProblems.  I also realized that because of how my schedule works out, I won't get a class with their chief instructor before my exam now.  Which is a shame, because I think I've enjoyed his test prep the most out of everyone else's I've endured.  Everyone else is just Do X many techniques from Y.  Their chief instructor is actually trying to polish fundamentals, which I like more.  Ah well.  More classes after the fact will happen, but it's still a bummer.  I did manage to go grocery shopping instead, though, so that was a nice thing to free up my afternoon.  Then played Guacamelee 2 with my neighbor for a couple hours. (Also a fantastic game if you have a chance to play with friends!)

 

Sunday I did two classes, which I did enjoy for the most part.  Partially because it wasn't test prep.  I'm really burned out on test prep, if you can't tell.

 

Today I was debating skipping, but my grading partner is teaching and said he'd practice with me.  So tonight I'm going to class, then tomorrow, then Thursday for the memorial class and potluck.  Then more on Friday, then Saturday is a seminar, and then I will be a pile of mush on Sunday.  Hopefully everyone will know by then that I'm a hermiting pile of mush.  I suspect I'll make it well known.

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So you only trained for two hours on Saturday instead of four. Such a slacker. Two more classes on Sunday just so you can say you did something. :P 

 

If you are sick of test prep, work on improving your aikido instead. You know the things your sensei tells you to correct. Posture, timing, bend your knees, relax your shoulders. Misubi, kazushi on contact, simple things.

 

One of the instructors at the friendship seminar talked about taking responsibility for your own aikido. For the first few years a beginner has to learn techniques by copying the teacher. Once you know the techniques, you need to shift to refining them on your own. Each time you do a technique you pay attention to what worked and what didn't. Maybe you notice you were too far away from your partner at the end. The next repetition, see if you can step to a closer spot. If not, why not? If yes, did that make the technique work better? Each and every time you repeat a technique you take notes and pick one thing to improve. If you don't see anything wrong, ask your partner.

 

I'm glad that you are taking time to do other things to keep your life going and do self-care.

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16 hours ago, Mistr said:

So you only trained for two hours on Saturday instead of four. Such a slacker. Two more classes on Sunday just so you can say you did something. :P 

 

Look, it's still somewhat bizarre for me to not be doing 2 workouts a day regularly.  (And my waistline shows it.) But I wanted those extra hours for fun, dang it!

 

16 hours ago, Mistr said:

If you are sick of test prep, work on improving your aikido instead. You know the things your sensei tells you to correct. Posture, timing, bend your knees, relax your shoulders. Misubi, kazushi on contact, simple things.

 

One of the instructors at the friendship seminar talked about taking responsibility for your own aikido. For the first few years a beginner has to learn techniques by copying the teacher. Once you know the techniques, you need to shift to refining them on your own. Each time you do a technique you pay attention to what worked and what didn't. Maybe you notice you were too far away from your partner at the end. The next repetition, see if you can step to a closer spot. If not, why not? If yes, did that make the technique work better? Each and every time you repeat a technique you take notes and pick one thing to improve. If you don't see anything wrong, ask your partner.

 

I'm glad that you are taking time to do other things to keep your life going and do self-care.

 

Honestly, this is what I've been trying to do for a while.  Especially since I had written off April testing early in the year, I found myself just quite happily working on trying things and fixing my technique.  It's interesting, because I seemingly accidentally coined a solid phrase while describing something to a 4th or 3rd kyu I train with semi-regularly: "It's technique, not techniques."  For the juniors it's a good reminder that there are underlying principles for the movements, and for the peers I've shared the comment with its a good reminder that the movement is important, not the particular throw (I've apparently become the henkawaza/body awareness guy).  But working on stuff that I'll only fix in about 5 years is pretty much my sole goal now. 

 

Last night I went to class that my grading partner taught.  For a while I thought it was just going to be me and him, and then two more people showed up.  Grading Partner had been away in California and trained a bit out there, and his class was trying to relay some of the information he got there.  In a nutshell, it was how to have a nage-led connection, rather than requiring uke to enforce the connection with a hard/solid/grippy attack.  It was a nice counterpoint to the class that I had yesterday, which was very focused on uke providing all of the connection point/solid attack.  And since he and I needed to play with one another he spent the class rotating between us three students, which meant that he and I mostly just played with the idea a bunch.  I also teased him when he started mimicking my movements for easier flow on the technique he was teaching.  One newer guy wasn't sure he believed the movement was a real thing, but also seemed to trust me as I was equally describing things, and also seemed to be able to feel the difference by the end.  Dunno. But it was an enjoyable class with things I could pull out well.

 

After class Grading Partner and I did a small amount of test prep.  Just the jiyuwaza part of the exam, which is 5 throws from every attack, and then 5 different koshinages.  My toes right now are not a fan of shiko, so I vetoed doing that a lot, and the rest of the exam is weapons work that I am passable at for now, henkawaza, then randori.  Mainly I just wanted to give him throws so he could reacclimate to my technique and make any comments on issues.  Got watched by one of the students who stuck around and is also going to be testing for shodan this year.  Feed back from both of them was.... yea, it's fine.  Even when I pushed for them to be mean.  Jerks.  Then I stuck around the dojo with GP and caught up on some things, including how I am half expecting that Saturday morning after the exam I'm going to be asked to start covering classes.  Which my GP gleefully said yes to.  Jerk.

 

Anyway.  Good evening class anyway.  Challenge wise, less good.  My eating habits have been crap lately, even with the IF.  And yesterday I was dying by 9am and broke the fast.  Weighing myself this morning was.... not fun.  I at least hold the weight well, but I don't like it.  After the exam and vacation I'm seriously going to hit the weight loss thing hard again, going back to the basics of calorie counting.  But for now.... food is food.  Priorities and all that.  But I want to look svelte in my hakama, so gotta work on that.

 

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8 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Then I stuck around the dojo with GP and caught up on some things, including how I am half expecting that Saturday morning after the exam I'm going to be asked to start covering classes.  Which my GP gleefully said yes to.  Jerk.

 

giphy.gif

 

8 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Anyway.  Good evening class anyway.  Challenge wise, less good.  My eating habits have been crap lately, even with the IF.  And yesterday I was dying by 9am and broke the fast.  Weighing myself this morning was.... not fun.  I at least hold the weight well, but I don't like it.  After the exam and vacation I'm seriously going to hit the weight loss thing hard again, going back to the basics of calorie counting.  But for now.... food is food.  Priorities and all that.  But I want to look svelte in my hakama, so gotta work on that.

 

As much as it is bothersome, you're going to be put under some special-grade testing stress if not already, maintenance the best you can is the better part of valor. 

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Hakamas are not designed to make the wearer look svelte. They are designed to hide the legs. They pair nicely with gis that have three sizes to fit the full range of adult humans. No one knows what is really inside all that fabric. :D

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43 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Hakamas are not designed to make the wearer look svelte. They are designed to hide the legs. They pair nicely with gis that have three sizes to fit the full range of adult humans. No one knows what is really inside all that fabric. :D

 

TENTACLES.

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49 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Hakamas are not designed to make the wearer look svelte. They are designed to hide the legs. They pair nicely with gis that have three sizes to fit the full range of adult humans. No one knows what is really inside all that fabric. :D

 

5 minutes ago, sarakingdom said:

 

TENTACLES.

 

Whatever it is, it will from time to time grab the edge of the hakama and stick it over the wearer's toes while walking, or so I have observed...

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Oh man, I have not been around at all...

 

On 3/29/2019 at 4:11 PM, Mistr said:

Hakamas are not designed to make the wearer look svelte. They are designed to hide the legs. They pair nicely with gis that have three sizes to fit the full range of adult humans. No one knows what is really inside all that fabric. :D

On 3/29/2019 at 4:54 PM, sarakingdom said:

TENTACLES.

On 3/29/2019 at 5:06 PM, Urgan said:

Whatever it is, it will from time to time grab the edge of the hakama and stick it over the wearer's toes while walking, or so I have observed...

 

Ah, so it's people's tentacles that trip them, not the hakama!  Makes sense.

 

Also I tried my hakama on yesterday.  I think, unless I positioned it wrong, that the 26.5 length was the right call.  It seems like it falls exactly where I want it to fall.  Might change a bit when paired with my gi, though.

 

 

Challenge stuff. Er.  Food has been meh, though I've been breaking the fast early more often than before.  No idea why my stomach has suddenly decided to become ravenous around 9am, when before it wouldn't even blink.  Even water and more coffee hasn't really quelled it's rage, so I've ended up having food that's been provided at work - which admittedly is not Paleo-appropriate.

 

Shodan prep has been.... meh.  Last week I did a lot more self-care than I really planned to, but it was for the best.  Rather than do two classes on Tuesday like I intended, I left early and went to bed early.  That was a solid life choice.  Wednesday was NP and yoga, and after yoga an ill-advised demo on my part about WTF knee walking/shiko on industrial carpet, I managed to give myself the most epic rug burn on my right knee.  So I went home to put burn cream on it.  Thursday I had intended to go to class for a Kanai Sensei memorial, but exhaustion plus the burn made me decide otherwise.

 

Friday night involves a bit of a story time.  I went to NEA to train, and also to help them clean the dojo before their Kanai Sensei memorial seminar.  It ended up being test prep, which I was not a huge fan of because I am sick and tired of repeated jiyuwaza practice.  I have techniques, I need polish that run of the mill jiyuwaza is not going to let me focus on.  So after grumbling a little with my friend (who is testing for shodan when I am), he shoved me over to the instructor to get me to ask if I could instead help another test group.  So she said sure, and I went to help the two fifth kyu preppers.  One of whom was the 15 year old I've somehow adopted.

 

So the technique wasn't anything crazy, just an behind-the-back wrist grab and getting uke into a kotegaeshi.  I was working to make sure they kept their center when receiving the attack, and trying to keep me extended before the throw, and sensei was polishing the downward scoop just before to take my balance even more.  Over all it was pretty good.  Some regular banter between me and The Adoptee, and the woman who was also practicing was super fun to play with.  Then Adoptee started to become a bit of a brat, which is somewhat typical.  Just slightly exaggerated testing sempai limits that, really, kohais should do anyway to keep sempai sharp.  Nothing malicious, just a 15 year old's self control level. 

 

Which was fine and dandy, until he was throwing me.  At the shoulder pin, he was locking me down fine, and doing the stretch at the end.  I'd tap, expecting a release, and instead he did a very rapid jerk further into the stretch before putting my arm down.  I said "Don't do that."  Second attack, same thing occurs.  Now it's my turn.  I start turning him over for the pin and just say "We're going to have a conversation."   Cue Adoptee suddenly realizing "Oh shit" and he starts squirreling himself to get away.  Now, my intent was to have this discussion while he was at the limit of his stretch.  This turned into a slight wrestling match, which admittedly was not very aikido, but Adoptee is a twig, and I am not.  I then essentially get him in a lock, and have him gently-but-firmly by the throat with my forearm.  Just enough to let him know he is not moving, and also just enough to indicate that if I truly wanted to injure him I had the ability.  But also that clearly the intent was for him to sit down and listen Or Else.

 

All the while, sensei is sitting about 3 feet away, with a look on her face that says "RP will stop in time.  ....Probably."  Slightly cautious, but also letting me do what needed to be done.  And so, pinned down thus, I calmly explained why you do not rip people's arms out of their socket after the tap, and the likelihood of people being injured.  He squirmed, had wide eyes, had the common sense to at least looked bashful.  And around this point, sensei looked down and intoned "This is where you just nod and say 'Yes, Sempai.'"  At which I raised an eyebrow at him, and he gave a very meek, embarrassed thumbs up.  So I let up, and he got to sit down and think while I worked with the other woman.  His attitude for the remainder of the class was almost comically timid compared to what I had seen previously, paired with his own repeated commentary during the next technique about how he was not going to be a jerk (which is good, since you can be a super jerk during shihonage).  But the moral of the story is the message clearly made it through the thick 15 year old skull.  Little more force than I had wanted to use, but hey, I aikido is about adaptation, right?

 

After the class, we cleaned for the seminar that was Saturday morning.  I really liked the instructor, and can definitely (and will) write a novel about it soon here.  It's somewhat entertaining, as if my work Mentor is Future Professional Ken, the woman who taught might be Future Aikido Ken.  You know, if you discount the difference of gender and the fact she was 5 foot 2.  But her thoughts and lessons were ones that I've slowly realized are likely to be the topics I will cover as an instructor, so it was nice to hear I didn't have totally insane thoughts.

 

That text wall incoming sometime soon.  I should probably do real work now.

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2 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Challenge stuff. Er.  Food has been meh, though I've been breaking the fast early more often than before.  No idea why my stomach has suddenly decided to become ravenous around 9am, when before it wouldn't even blink.  Even water and more coffee hasn't really quelled it's rage, so I've ended up having food that's been provided at work - which admittedly is not Paleo-appropriate.

 

Are you thinking about adapting to this development by changing your strategy or redoubling efforts to IF? Paleo-appropriate food > non-paleo-appropriate food unless of course it's Worth It. Seems like it would be better to have a good option instead of just ...not so good ones?

 

2 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Shodan prep has been.... meh.  Last week I did a lot more self-care than I really planned to, but it was for the best.  Rather than do two classes on Tuesday like I intended, I left early and went to bed early.  That was a solid life choice.  Wednesday was NP and yoga, and after yoga an ill-advised demo on my part about WTF knee walking/shiko on industrial carpet, I managed to give myself the most epic rug burn on my right knee.  So I went home to put burn cream on it.  Thursday I had intended to go to class for a Kanai Sensei memorial, but exhaustion plus the burn made me decide otherwise.

 

Sounds like you may be doing some good stress-management...got to the bit about shiko on carpet and just......ow. Ow, man. What did your knees ever do to you? Lol.

 

 

At least he figured out restraint for shihonage, which is Best Technique, but also a super mean one. Super mean. Well done with the kid-wrangling.

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3 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

This was the first thing to make me smile since getting to work. I loved this story.

 

And you don't even know the kid!  Everyone who knows him essentially died laughing when I relayed the story.  Though I should probably apologize to the instructor for the less-than-aikido approach in front of her...

 

Though even with the end of class smack down, the entire cleaning time he was essentially glommed onto me and helped me with everything.  Including several points where I straight up hoisted him up (again: Adoptee is twiggy 15 year old) along the walls so we could reach higher and clean out some dust and mold.  He's not a bad kid, just a teenager. We've all been there.

 

28 minutes ago, Urgan said:

Are you thinking about adapting to this development by changing your strategy or redoubling efforts to IF? Paleo-appropriate food > non-paleo-appropriate food unless of course it's Worth It. Seems like it would be better to have a good option instead of just ...not so good ones?

 

A big problem with the food stuff was the fact that we're having a bit of culture crisis at work, and so management was doing a whole slew of culture-improvement session the last week and a half, leaving lots and lots of tasty-but-not-Paleo food around after meetings.  I do my best to avoid the junk and less-than-desirable things, but last week just it was not happening.  This week I suspect will be a bit easier.  And our provided lunch I'm already Meh about - pizza.  Mediocre pizza, at that. So I am all good skipping that.  I also loaded up on extra veggies, so snacks can be that, for the most part.  Diet is going to have to get reeled back in, but I also just don't have enough fucks to give to be super stickler about it until after the exam/vacation.

 

37 minutes ago, Urgan said:

Sounds like you may be doing some good stress-management...got to the bit about shiko on carpet and just......ow. Ow, man. What did your knees ever do to you? Lol

 

I don't know.  I really don't.  What was worse was how *solid* the shiko felt for me.  Until I stood up.  And saw some minor blood happening.  Ah well.

 

38 minutes ago, Urgan said:

At least he figured out restraint for shihonage, which is Best Technique, but also a super mean one. Super mean. Well done with the kid-wrangling.

 

I am still very confused as to how he started paying attention to me.  I'm starting to suspect it was because rather than complain about his snark/banter, I started dishing it back, and also because I actually AM helping with his technique.  Dunno.  Kids are weird.

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40 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

I am still very confused as to how he started paying attention to me.  I'm starting to suspect it was because rather than complain about his snark/banter, I started dishing it back, and also because I actually AM helping with his technique.  Dunno.  Kids are weird.

It's probably that weird thing where now that you've bested him and taught him a lesson he respects you and wants to emulate you.

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52 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

I don't know.  I really don't.  What was worse was how *solid* the shiko felt for me.  Until I stood up.  And saw some minor blood happening.  Ah well.

 

Well at least your technique was good.

 

53 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

I am still very confused as to how he started paying attention to me.  I'm starting to suspect it was because rather than complain about his snark/banter, I started dishing it back, and also because I actually AM helping with his technique.  Dunno.  Kids are weird.

 

11 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

It's probably that weird thing where now that you've bested him and taught him a lesson he respects you and wants to emulate you.

 

This is some shounen sub-arc schtuff over here for real. Once you beat an opponent they immediately admire you for life and will return in your hour of need with reinforcements. So you got that going for you.

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Man, aikikai's shiko fetish remains bizarre me. GET OFF YOUR KNEES, ARE YOU A MAN OR A MEDIEVAL VASSAL. Seriously though, the only reason I can think of for ever walking ten feet on my knees is a really boring BDSM scenario or a GMB workout with an animal name.

 

On 4/1/2019 at 1:36 PM, Urgan said:

This is some shounen sub-arc schtuff over here for real. Once you beat an opponent they immediately admire you for life and will return in your hour of need with reinforcements. So you got that going for you. 

 

This plus the tentacles equals INSTANT VIEWERSHIP. I'm in.

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12 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

Man, aikikai's shiko fetish remains bizarre me. GET OFF YOUR KNEES, ARE YOU A MAN OR A MEDIEVAL VASSAL. Seriously though, the only reason I can think of for ever walking ten feet on my knees is a really boring BDSM scenario or a GMB workout with an animal name.

 

Yea, I honestly am meh about it.  I can move forward and back, but for techniques I'm not so grand.  The side-to-side movements are just blah, I'm tall enough that I'm not that drastically different in height (comparatively), and for some reason when grabbed even when I release my shoulder to drop my arm I somehow only make it to halfway to my center (though I suspect this is because I let uke solidly grab rather than blend-and-drop, forcing them to move lower and faster).  Anyway, with my knee scab I haven't really had a chance to work on any shiko movements, so I may use some political capital and ask Sensei to do the Ushiro portion of the exam standing, which is drastically improve the show.  Ha.

 

-------

 

Went and trained for an hour and a half last night.  First class was jiyuwaza, but one that felt much less forced than usual shodan test prep, because it was one-on-one and I got to actually play with things, rather than focus on just constantly throwing people to show I have X number of techniques.  I enjoyed it, and got to practice with a guy who's been away for a while, but has enough experience that he was making good points.  So that was fine.  The second class (I only stayed for half of it because I was both exhausted and wanted to run back to work to get some data for a meeting this morning) was just.... well, the exact shodan prep I hate right now.  Just here's a line, do all the techniques you can.  I can't polish anything because it's moving too fast, the uke's keep changing, and honestly one of the people on the line pretty much just tries proving they have the biggest aikido dick in the "dick resistance" fashion.  So I was more than happy to leave early. 

 

Spent a good chunk of time grumbling about it to my grading partner over text afterwards, partially because the line I was in I just kept repeating things, which annoyed me on top of dealing with the Problem Person, which made me repeat more things (because they were easy and there), which caused Problem Person to go even further down the Ego trip of "Look how much more I know," which pissed me off even further.  So yea.  Not exactly good aikido on any fronts.  Anyway, grumbled about it with my grading partner, who also agreed that the scenario for me did not bode well for shodan prep, and that I also have shown that I have a solid variety of techniques that are reasonably well performed.  I had to leave the dojo the same time as another guy in my line, and was talking to him about how I'm just exhausted about test prep, and how the class did nothing for me.  And really how I'm still not super pleased about testing, just resigned to the fact.  I just want it done.  It's either going to be fine, or a train wreck.  And honestly either one is okay by me.  He asked if I was disgruntled about testing, and why not just push it off.  I then had to explain how Sensei has wanted me to test since last August.  And then explicitly asked if I was testing in December.  And then those things paired with a lot of other pressure meant I really had no choice.

 

And lo.  Here I am.  Grumpily getting silly pants.  Which probably is as close to an accurate representation of my life as I can get.

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35 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

The second class (I only stayed for half of it because I was both exhausted and wanted to run back to work to get some data for a meeting this morning) was just.... well, the exact shodan prep I hate right now.  Just here's a line, do all the techniques you can.  I can't polish anything because it's moving too fast, the uke's keep changing, and honestly one of the people on the line pretty much just tries proving they have the biggest aikido dick in the "dick resistance" fashion.  So I was more than happy to leave early. 

 

Ugh.

UGH.

 

That is all.

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15 minutes ago, Urgan said:

 

Ugh.

UGH.

 

That is all.

 

Yeeeeeaaaa...  They have decent aikido.  Given how flexible they are, it is shockingly stiff though.  And they are also very grounded, which makes it even harder to throw them.  Good for them.  But they also don't 1) provided any extra energy with their attacks (which if you want to argue a more 'martial' movement, sure, but a full on swing still carries momentum), 2) expect everyone to have the exact same aikido as them, 3) are so condescending that if you do a different throw than what was prescribed/shown they get angry with you, and 4) pretty much solely make negative comments about peer's aikido in either words or facial expression.

 

So yea.  They kind of shit on everyone a year or two ago, and have since moved from "actively dick behavior" to "mostly passively dick behavior," which is a small but still not great improvement.  I'm honestly waiting for them to leave and start training full time in the other dojo they practice at.  Which will be great, because then I will almost never have to see them and that will make me happy.  And also make the dojo environment better.  So yea.  I have hopes they leave soon. (I suspect my testing and my friend's testing to shodan will make this happen sooner, rather than later, as they have low opinions of my technique, and even lower opinions on my friend in general.  And since he and I will likely get thrown into the teaching rotation.... well, that won't sit well with them.  So yea.  Fingers crossed they GTFO.)

 

 

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10 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Yeeeeeaaaa...  They have decent aikido.  Given how flexible they are, it is shockingly stiff though.  And they are also very grounded, which makes it even harder to throw them.  Good for them.  But they also don't 1) provided any extra energy with their attacks (which if you want to argue a more 'martial' movement, sure, but a full on swing still carries momentum), 2) expect everyone to have the exact same aikido as them, 3) are so condescending that if you do a different throw than what was prescribed/shown they get angry with you, and 4) pretty much solely make negative comments about peer's aikido in either words or facial expression.

 

They think they're stepping into a Disney princess movie, where they sing and everyone dances around them. If the Disney princess were a darn-near-irredeemable brat.

 

giphy.gif

 

12 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

So yea.  They kind of shit on everyone a year or two ago, and have since moved from "actively dick behavior" to "mostly passively dick behavior," which is a small but still not great improvement.  I'm honestly waiting for them to leave and start training full time in the other dojo they practice at.  Which will be great, because then I will almost never have to see them and that will make me happy.  And also make the dojo environment better.  So yea.  I have hopes they leave soon. (I suspect my testing and my friend's testing to shodan will make this happen sooner, rather than later, as they have low opinions of my technique, and even lower opinions on my friend in general.  And since he and I will likely get thrown into the teaching rotation.... well, that won't sit well with them.  So yea.  Fingers crossed they GTFO.)

 

giphy.gif

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On 4/1/2019 at 12:41 PM, RisenPhoenix said:

A big problem with the food stuff was the fact that we're having a bit of culture crisis at work, and so management was doing a whole slew of culture-improvement session the last week and a half, leaving lots and lots of tasty-but-not-Paleo food around after meetings.  I do my best to avoid the junk and less-than-desirable things, but last week just it was not happening.  This week I suspect will be a bit easier.  And our provided lunch I'm already Meh about - pizza.  Mediocre pizza, at that. So I am all good skipping that.  I also loaded up on extra veggies, so snacks can be that, for the most part.  Diet is going to have to get reeled back in, but I also just don't have enough fucks to give to be super stickler about it until after the exam/vacation.

 

You hit it on the head there. Save your energy for other goals right now. Urgan has a good point about making sure you have decent quality food to eat at work. If your company wants to provide food, it makes sense for you to save energy, time and money by eating it. Provided that it is not total junk. Maybe even if it is junk and you are hungry. That is where having good food available as an alternative comes in. You are under more than enough stress right now. If a chocolate donut is going to make your day better, by all means indulge. You can have veggies and protein for dinner. Save your self-restraint for not injuring the jerks at your dojo.

 

On 4/2/2019 at 8:41 PM, sarakingdom said:

Man, aikikai's shiko fetish remains bizarre me. GET OFF YOUR KNEES, ARE YOU A MAN OR A MEDIEVAL VASSAL. Seriously though, the only reason I can think of for ever walking ten feet on my knees is a really boring BDSM scenario or a GMB workout with an animal name.

 

I felt the same way until one of my sempai who trained in Japan for several years taught us how to do shiko correctly. Most Americans do it wrong. Apparently a lot of Japanese dojos also don't teach it correctly. The martial application of shiko is not walking on one's knees for distance, it is smoothly standing up and dropping down and around as needed. Using changes in altitude is a great strategy in randori - provided you can do it at speed.

 

The key to correct shiko is to engage the inner thigh muscles. There should not be weight in the knees. All the weight should be in the toes, with one's center stacked over the heels and toes. This uses muscles completely differently from how people normally stand up from sitting in a chair or on the ground. I wish I had learned to do this when I still had the range of movement in my knees and toes to make it possible.

 

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7 hours ago, Mistr said:

The martial application of shiko is not walking on one's knees for distance, it is smoothly standing up and dropping down and around as needed. Using changes in altitude is a great strategy in randori - provided you can do it at speed

I certainly can't say I've been taught it properly by Aikido standards, but from the standpoint of our ryu, I'm in 100% agreement.  It gets really interesting when you are intercepting and redirecting momentum (for us, typically a sword coming down on your head).  Intercept and redirect to one side or the other, and use the step to pivot, or move back to catch the follow up cut, or to stand while taking center.  The walking part could be conditioning?

 

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22 hours ago, Mistr said:

The key to correct shiko is to engage the inner thigh muscles. There should not be weight in the knees. All the weight should be in the toes, with one's center stacked over the heels and toes. This uses muscles completely differently from how people normally stand up from sitting in a chair or on the ground. I wish I had learned to do this when I still had the range of movement in my knees and toes to make it possible.

 

I remember you saying as much a long, long time ago.  Part of this is I have terrible flexibility in my toes, so movement is shot that way.  Ankle/ toe mobility is blah.  Things to work on.

 

That said, my knee got super angry after NP on Wednesday.  It currently hurts to sit in seiza.  So I am officially asking Sensei to do the hamni hadatchi/ushiro techniques standing.  Means something extra will be thrown my way, but that's what I got.

 

Food has been meh.  Yesterday I ate breakfast that was provided at work - eggs and fruit and bacon.  Mostly decent stuff.  Then did a whole bunch of chores and things.  Mainly cleaning the apartment for my friend's arrival, cooking a bunch of meals so I don't have to this weekend, and lots of laundry because I've had like, zero gis for the past week.  Then I went to bed early.

 

Also I've been thinking aboutwhat I was writing for The Problem Person mentioned above.  I think the largest issue I have is that I have stopped trusting them, which causes havok when trying to practice with them.  They have never been particularly good at paying attention to their partner, and what occurred two years ago now was a combination of that, plus their general "My aikido dick is bigger" schtick meant they didn't pay attention to uke AND were just dicks.  So first and foremost, I don't trust that they have my safety in mind.  Then there is the issue that they stopped responding to atemi, probably as a "Well these aren't martial strikes, so I will not respond" mentality.  So the number of times I've thrown an atemi and had to pull back to keep it from striking, which of course means they don't respond because "not martial enough" means that I have a harder time with techniques (especially since I as a taller guy tend to use atemi to help raise uke's center to make my life easier).  Not only do I not trust them to respond appropriately, I do not trust them to not take 'revenge' for not reacting appropriately and getting whapped in the face.  Again, I don't trust they will care for their uke's safety.  And I do not trust that if I correct something on their form that they will not become angry that someone 'lesser' dare correct them and take it out on me.  And finally, I do not trust that they will offer anything constructive, and if they do it is almost always couched in dripping condescension (though I suppose I could be tone policing in that regard).

 

Working with them is terrible, because I do not trust they have my safety, betterment, or even improvement in mind when working with them.  Which I'm starting to realize is manifesting in not letting me relax enough to do decent aikido.

 

And so I'm now left wondering how to approach this.  The easiest option would be to not work with them.  I can get away with that, certainly.  But it doesn't address the core issue.  I don't think I will ever trust them again after a lot of their behavior in the past.  I don't think I can forget it, nor do I think they will ever seek to apologize or try and make better the scenario they put themselves in (as they definitely play the victim).  So what mental shift can I make that will make practicing bearable with them again?  If breached trust is the issue, and I know it is broken and not worth repairing, how do I push the pieces back together so the whole is somewhat less terrible?  I'm wary to do complete avoidance, as multiple people at my dojo are currently doing that (again, their previous behavior caused this, and now they use this as examples for how they are being shunned despite it stemming directly from their behavior).  Or do I just accept that when working with them that my aikido will be terrible, but as an effect it mitigates the appearance of shunning someone?

 

That last option seems the most.... aikido.  Many who read this remember Original Goober.  He's still around, more or less, but while he hasn't improved in many fashions, I have managed to actually enjoy working with him on occasion, crappy ukemi and all.  The problem is I'm not entirely sure how I got to this mental reframing, and that while he's annoying, he is at least earnest in his approach.  Problem Person is not.  So I guess more rumination is in order, but if anyone has suggestions, I certainly won't hesitate to listen.

 

 

(Though I do admit, if they come up for my randori I will not hesitate to punch them in the face for an atemi so I can execute my throw to the best of my ability.  If they won't react, I will make them move. Violently if needed.  And I will smile the entire time.)

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10 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Food has been meh.  Yesterday I ate breakfast that was provided at work - eggs and fruit and bacon.  Mostly decent stuff.  Then did a whole bunch of chores and things.  Mainly cleaning the apartment for my friend's arrival, cooking a bunch of meals so I don't have to this weekend, and lots of laundry because I've had like, zero gis for the past week.  Then I went to bed early.

 

Where's the meh? 

 

giphy.gif

 

11 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Not only do I not trust them to respond appropriately, I do not trust them to not take 'revenge' for not reacting appropriately and getting whapped in the face.

 

......dangit. Well, if you don't trust them in any fashion and they're already mistreating you during practice, how can you tell the difference between revenge and a normal day?  

Kinda begging for a black eye tho....

 

14 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Or do I just accept that when working with them that my aikido will be terrible, but as an effect it mitigates the appearance of shunning someone?

 

This sounds familiar. Having to practice with someone who isn't, shall we say, reciprocal seems to be a series of techniques in their own right. Nobody can blame you for being chronically tense when most self-preserving options are limited. Your aikido isn't terrible in this situation, it has to be pretty darn good considering you are being handicapped by social aikido....unless of course you're willing to resort to popping them a Full Strength Atemi in the course of a properly executed technique. A black belt has to be able to handle a lot of shenanigans from blinding ignorance to outright malice. However. At some point it needs to get escalated once you've gotten to a place where you can't trust them and you can't correct them after repeated attempts. Ukemi is about protecting yourself. Please tell me a higher power isn't allowing this person to persist with the asshattery. 

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44 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

That last option seems the most.... aikido.  Many who read this remember Original Goober.  He's still around, more or less, but while he hasn't improved in many fashions, I have managed to actually enjoy working with him on occasion, crappy ukemi and all.  The problem is I'm not entirely sure how I got to this mental reframing, and that while he's annoying, he is at least earnest in his approach.  Problem Person is not.  So I guess more rumination is in order, but if anyone has suggestions, I certainly won't hesitate to listen.

 

 

(Though I do admit, if they come up for my randori I will not hesitate to punch them in the face for an atemi so I can execute my throw to the best of my ability.  If they won't react, I will make them move. Violently if needed.  And I will smile the entire time.)

 

Okay, here is an alternative approach that allows you to train with this person without hitting them in the face (outside of randori). When you are uke, practice taking beautiful ukemi regardless of what he does. Be a little ahead so that you are fully in control of your movement at all times. Yes, this is the definition of "tanking for them". It also ensures that you will not get hurt because he is never putting pressure on your body. You may notice lots of openings where you could reverse him. That is good information to store away for later.

 

When you are nage, switch from atemi to the face to running your hand up his jaw line. Regular atemi relies on the self-preservation response of uke to move their own head. Since he does not have a self-preservation instinct, you will move his head yourself. Practice this with a couple of your dojo friends first, on a night when Problem Person is not there. It takes a little bit of practice to gently sweep the jaw and take a person's head the direction you want to go.

 

In some cases you might want to atemi to the stomach or ribs instead of the face. On the first round of being nage, just lightly touch. If he continues to not move, hit with enough structure to move him but not very hard. You can say that he was attacking faster than you expected if he protests. You can also say that you are doing your best to do what sensei showed (in cases where sensei demonstrated atemi). He saw it too, so he can't pretend he didn't know it was coming. After several session of this he may be the one avoiding you.

 

I'm a big fan of the straight up the center proactive atemi in randori. This could also be called the direct entry style of iriminage. If he is going to be a dork, take him out first. Aim for the neck if you can - it is less likely to cause real damage. You are demonstrating control as well as technique on your shodan test. After that you can be more direct.

 

Have you talked to your sensei about him yet? You mentioned that several people are avoiding him and he is whining about it. That is an issue that your sensei should deal with.

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On 4/5/2019 at 5:23 PM, Urgan said:

Please tell me a higher power isn't allowing this person to persist with the asshattery. 

On 4/5/2019 at 5:49 PM, Mistr said:

Have you talked to your sensei about him yet? You mentioned that several people are avoiding him and he is whining about it. That is an issue that your sensei should deal with.

 

Talking in a substantial manner hasn't really happened.  It's known by most of the instructors, and several have made class lectures that are the Japanese etiquette equivalent of screaming at them with blaring signs, but they hold so little respect for most people that they ignore that.  Or it goes over their head thinking the talk isn't about them.  The added problem is that most of this behavior manifests only with peer-level people - juniors and people they view as senior (which isn't everyone who ACTUALLY is senior) are treated relatively well.  And behavior towards Sensei is essentially super polite.  So it is difficult to point to things when from the over arching view they aren't on the face quite as terrible. (Though still pretty damn terrible.) . I should try the slightly-premptive ukemi, though they usually correct everyone's ukemi to what they think is correct, regardless of if someone's body is capable of bending that way.  Or if their attack is actually moving someone that way.

 

Anyway.

 

Friday night I went to the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert at Symphony Hall with a pair of friends.  I've never been to Symphony Hall, and it was well worth the ticket price to hear music and be in a pretty place.  Saturday I was planning on going to aikido in the morning and then to a friend's shodan exam in the afternoon.  Then another friend shot me a text saying the class was likely to just be the 30-something step jo kata, which.... did not thrill me.  Because I know it well enough to teach it.  So that, paired with the fact I had friends staying with me meant I decided to just relax in the morning before the shodan exam.  I went to the exam around 12:30, and also brought my camera.  I became the official photographer for the three exams, and took close to 400 photos that I still need to curate.  Then after that I ran to meet the friends again to go see Captain Marvel and grab dinner.

 

Sunday I went to an hour of class and practiced solely with my grading partner, even though it wasn't test prep.  After wards, he and I went through almost the entire exam.  I say almost, because I realized I skipped the henkawaza part accidentally.  So I need to work on that tonight.  I also realized my brain needs a bit more grease around morotetori and ryotetori attacks.  I have 5 techniques easily with them both, and probably more like 10, but they felt less fluid/easy to get to than the others.  So a few more polishing attempts at that I believe.  Even after pressing my grading partner to be mean and correct things he was coming up with anything off the top of his head to correct.  Jerk.  I want criticism, dammit! *ahem*

 

 

I have a whole 3 hours of practice before the exam on Friday.  One tonight, one to two tomorrow night, and then the hour before the exam.  I'm this weird oscillation between anxious/stressed and incapable of giving fucks.  Probably an odd mix to deal with before an exam.  In a way I feel bad, like I should be stressing a lot more about this thing in front of me.  But I also know it is, in a way, meaningless.  It's not a magically altering event.  I won't suddenly get access to the Answers of Aikido beyond what I already have.  It's.... just another Friday, really.  I just will end up having to wear a skirt the following morning in class.  And an annoyingly stiff belt.  I'm just looking forward to not having to test again any time soon.  I can get back to just relaxing, focused practice.

 

That'll be a nice place to rest after a long, long several months.

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9 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Talking in a substantial manner hasn't really happened.  It's known by most of the instructors, and several have made class lectures that are the Japanese etiquette equivalent of screaming at them with blaring signs, but they hold so little respect for most people that they ignore that.  Or it goes over their head thinking the talk isn't about them.  The added problem is that most of this behavior manifests only with peer-level people - juniors and people they view as senior (which isn't everyone who ACTUALLY is senior) are treated relatively well.  And behavior towards Sensei is essentially super polite.  So it is difficult to point to things when from the over arching view they aren't on the face quite as terrible. (Though still pretty damn terrible.) . I should try the slightly-premptive ukemi, though they usually correct everyone's ukemi to what they think is correct, regardless of if someone's body is capable of bending that way.  Or if their attack is actually moving someone that way.

 

This would be the point to make to an instructor, yes? If it were me, I would request they pay attention to how this person treats certain people (specific examples) vs others and how it is vaguely related to the belt the person wears. Classy. Apparently they're going to react some shade of Badly, so might as well ukemi it up like @Mistr suggested. I hope you find a way to neutralize the confederation of obstacles that is this person, whether or not you directly have a hand in changing their attitude/behavior. 

 

12 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Friday night I went to the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert

 

Was that not amazing? I was really impressed when they played at Atlanta. Moved, even.

 

13 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

I have a whole 3 hours of practice before the exam on Friday.  One tonight, one to two tomorrow night, and then the hour before the exam.  I'm this weird oscillation between anxious/stressed and incapable of giving fucks.  Probably an odd mix to deal with before an exam.  In a way I feel bad, like I should be stressing a lot more about this thing in front of me.  But I also know it is, in a way, meaningless.  It's not a magically altering event.  I won't suddenly get access to the Answers of Aikido beyond what I already have.  It's.... just another Friday, really.  I just will end up having to wear a skirt the following morning in class.  And an annoyingly stiff belt.  I'm just looking forward to not having to test again any time soon.  I can get back to just relaxing, focused practice.

 

I think the vacillation between anxiety and apathy is actually super normal given you have conflicting feelings about being coaxed into doing it in the first place. Black belt both is and isn't a really big deal, right? Something something now you are finally a beginner.

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