Aikido for Wednesday 10/17

Two weeks in a row! I’m on a roll.

Since Saturday is kyu testing, the whole class (and a large one it was) broke off into ranks to work on specific techniques. Since I’m not testing, I was put with a group of three others: one guest to the dojo (brother of one of our aikidoka, visiting from out-of-state), one gentleman older than myself, and one teenager. We started out with suwariwaza shomenuchi ikkyo omote, then did the same technique standing up (tachiwaza). Then we worked on shomenuchi ikkyo ura, where you do the technique by stepping around behind uke and therefore spiraling them down toward the floor even more.

We then joined up with the other mukyu who were going to be testing, plus some of the rokyu (6th kyu, the lowest actual rank in our dojo) and a few gokyu (5th kyu) to work the old favorite irimi tenkan kokyu nage — always a fun technique to try when your arms and legs are fatigued. I did learn even more details I’d missed before, like exactly where and how to place the strike to the face at the end, and how to keep uke under control with a firm hand to the base of the neck.

Finally, the entire dojo worked on… well, you’ll recall that I said I’m not great with remembering names of techniques. It was very similar to this technique, but I believe it began with yokomenuchi (a diagonal strike to the head). Most of the dojo did a forward roll or breakfall as ukemi; the teenagers and I just kind of flopped down where we were thrown.

(BTW, the student I worked with on this technique seemed very young — it occurred to me that he could literally be half my age — and had this great Edgar Winter sort of hair. Just imagine it curly. AWESOME.)

Overall? This one-hour (a.k.a. “short”) class kicked my butt in a bad way. Just imagine standing up, then throwing yourself full-length onto the floor, then standing up and doing it again, every ten seconds or so for an hour. Just *that* would make you tired and sore, no? Bottom line is that, yes, I’m picking up on techniques for the most part, but I really need to work on a.) endurance and b.) rolling. Which I will only accomplish by kicking my own ass cardio-wise… and actually *doing* ukemi practice. Rolling at home. Rolling before class. Getting my sempai to give me pointers, even though I feel weird about it.

Aftermath? I. am. sore. Everything on me that has anything to do with the act of standing up, leveraging myself up, or sitting down. Glutes, hams, quads, triceps, biceps, lats, lower back, just pretty much everywhere. Which, I suppose, is to be expected after such a prolonged aikido hiatus.

I also realized during class that, as I suspected, I usually stand up using my left leg, which explains why my left quad is always so much more sore than my right, after the fact. I tried standing up using my right leg a few times, and I was surprised to find that my left thigh is stronger than my right, which is why I use it more. (Or maybe it’s stronger *because* I use it more? Hard to tell now.)

At any rate, I’m not sure if I’m going to attend Saturday’s Basic Seminar, mainly because it will seriously kick my ass. Three hours in the morning, plus another hour in the afternoon before watching the testing. Last time, I ended up fairly sore, but mainly I just had giant bruises on my hipbones from the hanmi stance stability exercises we did.

I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m still glad to be back into the swing of aikido, though, even if it’s kicking my ass.