Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ukemi and Other Places to Improve...

Its been so long that I've done any new ukemi that I thought I could get away with what I have presently. Given that I've also had a break of 2 years from intensive training, getting back my original level of ukemi is harder than I thought.

Even so, taking faster and faster throws from sensei has been getting harder and harder. Conventional breakfalls is not cutting it anymore. I realise there's a need to have more spring in my step now. Training as I am right now, with very little movement and strength is gradually stripping my fitness level. Therefore, I'm going back to the gym for more running and a little strength training to build muscle tone.

On top of that, I will have to master 2 more ukemi which I've never been officially taught. The first would be the worm'like ukemi taken by flipping 180 degrees and doing the worm. The second would be the ushiro otoshi ukemi which sensei showed the basic level in our last seminar. Doing the first one requires me to toughen up the arms and improve the flexibility. The second requires flexibility of my spine and hips/psoas, which is definitely going to take a lot of work. Last night in the extra class we worked on this for about 15 minutes. Too short by far but we'd get no progress if we start to get injuries.

The problem I'm having is with the 2nd ukemi. Jumping up and falling on my shoulders is definitely going against my instincts right now. I think the remedy here is better stomach muscles to maintain torso integrity while doing the rolling on the back/shoulders.

The other thing we did was to run from center and drop down to make a running sweep by running sideways on the ground. This is to help us train our movement so as not to stop when dropped by someone.

We focused a lot on aiki taiso last night. The better part of the class was going through aiki taiso. This is our fundamental building blocks. Just like in the Yoshinkan they have Kihon Dosa, we have aiki taiso. I took a page from Kancho's training the other day, I had everyone do happo undo left and right and with their eye's closed. Later I might try this for the entire set. Even sensei has advocated training in the dark before. We will explore this method of training from time to time to improve our connection with our surroundings. Thinking about this, maybe we should have an occasional class using normal clothes and shoes outside. In order to take what we've learned in class into a more natural environment.

Traditional training will be our Shu. But to make our Shu more meaningful, we have to sometimes enter Ha. Not enter it completely thought, not at this stage, but to take peeks from time to time.

Last night we also worked with 2 techniques differently. Morotedori kokyunage and Ryotedori tenchinage. With morotedori, we're not parting curtains or floating. Last night we worked on uke's triangle in his kamae, omote and ura. Using that angle we achieve tenkan and irimi without force. This movement is basically shearing. We're not abandoning awase though. It works better with good awase, but the focus was whole body movement entering those angles.

Similarly with Ryotedori tenchinage. We're trying to first synchronise our hands and body to move as one. Then with the partners energy. We didn't do aikiage here or drop center, but instead we move into the angles.

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