Monday, November 25, 2013

Highlight Reel

Well, the results are in...  I've been watching the video that Hamden Sensei made for me (thank you soooo much!) with a very critical eye, and I guess I'm both satisfied and humbled.

Some of my favorite sequences are irimi nage with Mark, and pretty much everything I did with Eric.  Here's Mark making me look good, for instance (and even here, my posture could use some work!)

Here's the video (I've edited it down to just under 12 minutes):

Honestly, there were quite a few techniques that I don't recall, and I'm not sure how I'd even name them.  I was just trying to do something like what Gaston Sensei was calling out.   I'm happy with how I dealt with that kind of adversity.  I told several people the story of how, at one point, I started to panic, thinking "what's he talking about? -- am I this unprepared?"  As luck would have it, I happened to look down at my feet and see those black painted toenails, and I loosened up (thanks, Tonya).

Even Jiyu Waza looked OK, mostly.

...and there's that pesky Randori.  I'll be living with this for a long time, and I only included this sequence in the "highlight" reel to remind myself that I'm not the bigshot that I sometimes think I am.  It really looks as bad in the video as it felt.  When Evil Todd grabbed me from behind, I was already pretty tired, and from there I really never got my bearings -- I never recovered.   Well, perhaps at the veeeeery end -- when I threw A.K and moved right to Christie.  I want to believe I was about the finally get a rhythm going, but Sensei clapped.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tai Chi

One thing that's been on my list for some time has been to study Tai Chi with a local teacher.  He's really awesome, and has a close connection to the gentleman in the video below.    I plan to start this Saturday.  I'll do this instead of adding Saturday aikido, but this is something I can do with my wife, Linda.

Can you spot Kokyu Ho, the beginnings of Shiho Nage, and others?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ender's Game

Folks, if you haven't seen Ender's Game in the movie theater yet, I think it's worth the watch. I read the book in high school.  The premise has only gotten more relevant.

If you do watch, look for Aikido in the movie.  The most obvious references are the hand-to-hand fight training (I saw kote-gaeshi, hiji-garami, and a couple others in quick succession), and several fight-against-the-bully scenes that were relevant, too.

Then there were the less obvious references.  Lots of verbal Aikido on Ender's part, when he works with one of his team leaders, for instance.  Or his whole approach to the ultimate enemy.  Or the final "irimi" that ends the movie.

Anyway, worth the watch.


Saturday, November 2, 2013


Well, it's over.  And, of course, it's just a beginning.

Thanks so much to everyone for participating today, and especially for helping me all along the way -- not just my teachers, but everyone (because, ultimately, you're ALL my teachers anyway).

So how did I do? All in all, I did OK. There are some things I wish I had back, but I knew there would be. Most importantly, I got lots of great feedback and accolades from my teachers.  Given that I came to Roanoke Budo Kai with two other schools worth of other ways to do things behind me, I had a lot of relearning to do, and it wasn't always easy.  The fact that my teachers gave me an enthusiastic "thumbs up" today is something I'm very proud of, and very grateful for.

Some key things I remember...

Whitt Sensei has run the show for all other tests (Kyu Tests).  Today, Gaston Sensei did, and I swear that about a third of what he asked me to do was stuff we'd never practiced in class.  Perhaps that was a good thing for my state of mind, as it kept me thinking creatively, rather than getting all knotted up when something wasn't working.

I had some great Ukes.  Chris survived a one-pinkie surprise tekubi, for instance (sorry, Chris).  Eric graciously flowed through a bunch of kokyus and kaiten nages.  Christie kept coming at me when I was in the chair.  Mark's amazing backfalls were a joy to work with during irimi-nage.  Todd was a challenge for Shihonage, but we got it together.  Sankyo and Yonko on AK was, well, it's always fun to work with AK.   If I missed anyone, I apologize.   Ya can't do Aikido without Uke, and good Ukes are precious.

Randori... ah, well...  One thing I can say is that it's been a lot of years since I've been that tired (at the end).  Guess I have a few things to work on yet.  :-)

Thanks, everyone.  See you on the mat on Monday.

Butterflies and Toenails

Tonya has expressed that, in solidarity with and in support of my test in 90 minutes (!), she was painting her toenails black, and encouraging others to do the same.   So, I could hardly not do so myself, right?

I figure it'll symbolize "loosening up" a bit.  It ain't pretty, believe me...

Thanks to all those who have emailed me with their support.  (gulp).

Domo Aregatou Gosaimasu