Wednesday, Jan 2: Reviewed suwari waza (kneeling) techniques for sixth kyu test: shomen uchi ikkyo omote and shomen uchi ikkyo ura. Spent the full hour working on just those, with occasional moments of showing sensei the same techniques tachi waza (standing). Learned a lot, refined my skills. Realized later that I had developed blisters on my knees that had since burst, leaving my knees skinned.
Saturday, Jan 5: Returned to Aikido class for a second time in one week, which is not the norm for me. I need to prepare for my test on the 26th, though, so I stepped it up. My knees sported standard band-aids.
Before we broke into ranks to study for the testing, my fate was foreshadowed by unexpected bleeding from a shaving oopsie on my ankle. Later, once we broke into ranks, we once again started with suwari waza; within ten minutes, my band-aids had failed and my knees were bleeding all over my white gi. That class ended up being pretty much a wash, as I kept having to leave the mat to re-band-aid or re-secure said band-aids with medical tape. After class, everyone claimed that I was “hardcore,” although I knew that the initial blisters that had caused the bleeding had to be a result of poor or incorrect kneeling technique on my part.
Wednesday, Jan 9: This time, my knees sported the proper wound attire: large, fabric band-aids made especially for knees. i brought one extra, just in case, and left it in my bag in the changing room.
Again, we mukyu (unranked students) began with suwari waza techniques; this time, though, I was basically forced by my now-delicate knees to use proper technique. I made sure to keep my toes curled up under me, and to walk purposefully on my toes and knees, rather than just scooting and pivoting myself around. I also found myself pulling up my pant-legs and checking my knees whenever I got a free moment; the left knee was generally fine, and the right knee did start bleeding, but not enough to soak through the band-aid.
We then spent some much-needed time on two tachi waza techniques: mune tsuki kotegaeshi (the link shows a slightly more physical version than we practice) and yokomen uchi shihonage. Near the end of class, while I was acting as uke (the attacker/throwee), I felt my ankle scrape across the mat. I’d already gotten a mat burn on that ankle recently, and it hadn’t quite healed, so I wasn’t surprised when my training partner pointed out that I was bleeding. I excused myself, ran off the mat and into the bathroom to clean up, then into the changing room to apply my Band-Aid Of Awesomeness. Once I got myself all squared away and back on the mat, it was time to line up and show the class what we’d learned.
The mukyu demonstrated the two tachi waza techniques we’d studied. It was the first time I’d done any techniques in front of Sensei and the entire class, and it was good practice for how testing will feel. After we were done, the other ranks showed what they’d learned. The next rank up from us did a more advanced suwari waza technique, and the rest all demonstrated weapons work. I see now why we’ve been focusing on weapons more than before: weapons work is apparently a major part of testing for some of the higher ranks.
Assuming I go to two classes a week from now until testing, I have four classes left until testing day. If I step it up and attend three classes a week, I could make it six classes total. I could probably use the extra classes; there are ten techniques total that I need to know, and of those ten, I only feel totally confident with seven.
I’m not entirely sure what the other three are. I probably know the techniques, but don’t know them by name. Actually, after a YouTube refresher, I’m feeling OK with identifying most of them, but I know I need some detail work with the techniques.
I also need to get some more practice with rolling, as I haven’t really had to roll for some time now. I was feeling fairly confident with it at one point. In the test, I’ll have to do at least ten forward rolls consecutively (not like these, thankfully — something similar to this, but more of a roll than a breakfall), and I don’t feel comfortable enough with rolling to do that right now. I will in a couple of weeks, though.