Friday, May 27, 2011

The Yogja seminar

Ah, Yogjakarta... one of my favourite place to visit in Indonesia. A very relaxed place and they really do have nice food that I recall from my first visit. I was really looking forward to this but like everything else in this world, something had to go wrong.

I couldn't really train well in the month preceding the seminar. Because of some health issues. Then I fell sick 5 days from the date and was basically a like a wet dead dog by the time I flew in. I also had to buy 2 separate flights back a day earlier to handle some work. Basically, it was like anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  Events occurred that really tested my endurance to actually go to the damn place. However, it was a commitment I had to force myself to adhere to. This was a test of will, and somehow I had to pass. Although I did go, I couldn't take much ukemi from sensei himself. So that was a major disappointment for me, but the training itself was good.

On Friday, there was a training session at the local dojo. I went to practice but in the end because the sensei was outstation, the seniors forced me to take the class. So we did some basic training in preparation for sensei's seminar. I started with the basic kamae focusing on hara and chushin development. Tenkan as an entering movement not a turning movement. Sinking hara to perform leading movements and sokumen nage. Then we did a few basic techniques like katatedori shihonage, kosadori ikkyo and tenchi nage, to look at half steps and movement from hara. The students were enthusiastic and energetic. For most, what I showed them was new to them but nothing too far from what they already know. I had a problem with only one uke who was very stable and I couldn't get kuzushi for shihonage omote. One of my weakest techniques, I was thinking that I didn't sink in chushin and perhaps I didn't apply aikiage before entering. But upon discussing with Sensei, I think the mistake was when I shift stance he felt some movement in my hands. The next problem was when I sinked, he told me to enter and displace uke's center straight away instead of vertically and then following with the irimi movement. Something to think about, but I told sensei that I saw him do what I was envisioning before. His answer was that's the next level, I have to get this right not skip it. Ah... yes we are fond of that. Changing methods when one doesn't work. In the end, we lose the opportunity to develop ourselves further by avoiding a difficult obstacle.

Sensei's class on Saturday near the Kenji outlet was interesting. Both his class and seminar the next day basically orientated around the same things. Hara, Sinking and Atari. Whilst the techniques are varied, those 3 was the core theme to it all. Fundamentally, this syllabus is actually up to 3rd kyu for our school. Yet, on occasion I do come certain uke's who I can't perform it well or immediately especially from static. But because I knew what we were looking for, this really helps with the progression of my own training. This means, its absolutely critical for us as students to train in this fashion. Not just in the dojo but with outsiders in seminars like this. Good progress can be made by applying what we know sort of like a revision against uke's who are not familiar with the material thus would not participate in a collusive manner.

One of techniques that I paid more attention to for the benefit of my uke was the irimi nage from a katadori. Although at above 3rd kyu he should be doing nagare training, I had to start him on static after a few rounds of full speed application. This is simply because having no understanding in sinking and entering instead of moving forwards, he cannot apply the technique well. For this technique uke grabs katatedori, and using our other hand we touch his forearm and sink. As the kuzushi occurs we enter his space and envelop him into iriminage. You could also do it without moving the feet, inviting him and turning kaiten and cutting his chushin as he comes across. But even so, the sinking on uke is an application of atari and hara movement/control and is used either way. If nage tries to cut the hand away or move in, uke is at liberty to stop or hit him.

A yudansha named Azhar who spent nearly 3 years in Japan with Inaba sensei led the Sunday's warmup with a hara building exercise. Looks like the sumo leg stomping exercise and is an absolute killer on the legs. It was pure torture climbing up and down the stairs on the airplanes that evening. Still, I'm wondering if its not a good idea to include this in my daily routine.

I have some vids up from yogja that you can check out.

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