Friday, June 30, 2006

woody's video + japanese terminology and names?

Is there a good written resource for names
of jujitsu/eizan ryu jujitsu techniques

New Video:
woody has some nice video clips
i like how he put names w/ video clips
where as i just write notes w/out japanese terms


Thursday, June 29, 2006

sensei maria's class


1. round house punch - close window: lead with hip, not arms when hitch stepping in. notice that sensei maria's hands lead first w/ back of wrists and last minute catches uke's arm w/ palm-side of hands. don't why this is so, but very interesting to watch. don't rise up when stepping, stay low.

2. round house punch - catch crook of elbow, turn hip, bend knees: trying to do close window, but doesn't work, then inside forearm hooks into uke's elbow and pulls toward own body to bend striking arm, catch uke wrist w/ both arms w/ uke arm now bent, twist hips which should cause great off balance to uke, bend knees for take down.

* felt like there was no struggle to take uke off balance w/ the twisting of hip

3. round house punch - parry + step even straighter, knife edge hand to crook of hip + uke takes back fall

* notice that when stepping in, feel like taking center, especially when your knee nudges up against uke's knee.

4. round house punch - step in + parry, sweep striking arm down + catch and pull across uke center line + keep turning uke's wrist, step thru to opposite side uke toe, apply shihonage

5. round house punch - shihonage save w/ kotogaeshi: uke saves self from shihonage that you are trying apply, immediately step to side of uke, attacking arm now right next to/almost parallel to ground your hand/arm, step back + kotogaeshi

6. ippon seionage drills - really clip uke bicep w/ crook of elbow, feet together, back straight, face is straight + not looking down, don't bend at butt, twist hip and look to the side + behind you

7. round house punch - ippon seionage: 2nd time i got knocked in head because I was too slow to hitch step in. need to hitch step into + very close to uke/bodies touching - helps avoid punch

8. round house punch - elbow strike + head throw: step in + elbow strike + parry punch (u + uke in opposite stances), elbow striking arm immediately grabs opposite side ear + other arm goes for other uke ear, make sure u catch uke head in front of you + not behind you otherwise not effective, leg of elbow striking side arm kneels to ground as the twisting of hip aids in bringing uke head straight down. don't throw uke head forward but straight down. uke takes breakfall but can roll out too

9. round house punch - katanage: step in + parry, sweep uke striking arm down + across center line of uke, take off balance, stuff shoulder into uke arm pit and step thru uke - feels like your the center of your forward momentum with stepping thru crosses uke's centerline, uke is off balance + takes roll

* i really felt that this "sword throw" was more effective by stepping somewhat at angle thru uke than straight forward. is this right?

remembering details
A. doing the ippon seionage drills - where we setup 9 times before throwing reminded me of exercises from last year from sensei c
1. basically we stood a step away from wall, stepped to wall as if we were doing ippon, and then we'd "get small" - put our heels together and kept our back straight as possible using the wall as a guide. this might be helpful to try at home.

B. need to lead with hips not arms, keeping back straight

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cari's knee

Cari has a badly sprained medial collateral ligament, with possible partial tearing. It does not seem that surgery will be needed. Healing time will be anywhere between 100 and 300 days; she will likely heal fast. She can walk, and will be able to run soon, but pivoting will be a problem for a while.

This is not good, but it could have been much worse. Let's all be careful, and particularly careful to get both legs well under us while doing hip and shoulder throws.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

sensei stephen's class

yo, jujitsu peeps- feel free to write anything/any time

1. face punch - throw head to ground: taisabaki (?), parry with both hands, arm closest to uke shoulder goes under uke's punching arm + crosses ukes center line and up around ear furthest from tori, other hand does same except goes to uke ear closest to tori, bring head straight to ground w/ weight, lock

2. ippon seionage - a save w/ uke throw while tori on ground: grab each other's lapels (arm and chest), uke sets up for ippon, but as soon as you feel the set up, jump to side of uke's clipping arm, still holding on ukes gi, continue direction of jump and land body perpendicular to uke's body, throw uke over body w/ legs blocking uke's feet, push out w/ hips during throw

3. round house punch - inside foot sweep: step to inside of uke, take center, block forearm/biceps, roll shoulder for more off balance, monkey claw footsweep on uke lead leg, get out of way or lock

4. one arm mug - like ippon seionage but drop to knees: foot on side not attacked steps super deep between uke legs, catch choke w/ little fingers, drop to both knees + twist from hips, uke is thrown and you face not down but to side.
* there was a ground lock where both knees were under uke's shoulder, uke was lying on back after throw, grab obi knot, compress neck. must be careful since everyone's neck is different.

*1st 2x doing this I dropped to my knees and did not twist @ hips and look to side. thus, my head banged the matt. thank god, it was just elizabeth. good form helps not get injured in first place, i am learning

5. one arm mug from inside - shihonage w/ elbow strike: elbow strike on side not attacked, bend forward to inside and let hands prepare for shihonage, step around to side + shihonage uke arm, bend knees in shiko hachi stances for take down ( i think ) and lock

6. full nelson - finger pain + ikkyu: as soon as you feel uke going for full nelson, catch uke arms by squeezing arms to side - preventing uke to finish lock, grab a pinky and bend (be very very careful! it's easy to hurt uke this way), step around w/ leg not on same side as finger bend + do ikkyu - catch uke elbow crook with other arm as finger bending arm continues downward motion, stretching uke out + off balance, take down, lock

7.round house punch - choke/throw head: hitch step, block forearm + bicep, strike neck, outside arm crosses under arm that just struck uke, crosses ukes' center line and up around neck to other hand, clasp hands, choke uke neck by squeezing forearms together, get out of way of uke's imminent fall, pull uke straight down,

fancy but distracting practicing
I'm very much appreciating the value of being in the moment, while practicing. Today, for instance, when ukeing for sempai adi, I could really tell the difference in his warm up drills vs. mine. You know, feeling the off balance after a hitch step entry and the crucial hip turn to aid that. And that was a very fun discovery. It made me smile + happy to better understand those drills.

And then I was ukeing for this new white belt w/ previous training. He corrected me on a few things, and they made sense. It was favorable practicing until he started throwing some new + additional ground kicks to my head/body after inside foot sweeping me to ground.

This fancy kicking out of nowhere distracted me from the technique we currently were working on. My first bad move...

And then I got excited + responded to his sweeping ground kicks w/ a capoerista move of pulling his non-kicking leg's ankle toward me with one foot + pushing non kicking leg's knee in the other direction with my other foot, while tori's other leg was mid-kick. My second bad move! And we went on and on about this debating whether this one leg trip would prevent his sweeping ground kicks to my head.

All of this doesn't seem good at all. Bad, bad training, I think. Bad in terms of safety + focus.

safety- I could feel the urge of responding in defense to his finishing ground kicks with more instinctive moves, one of which also involved my eyes targeting his groin and boom - a heel kick to groin while tori is in middle of executing a sweeping ground kick to my head.

I guess I felt "on fire" because I was perturbed by the kicking to my head. Natural human instinct, I guess. But
this random rough housing could've lead to injury. Not good. Not good at all.

focus - Second, I felt that doing anything else but current technique meant that we weren't fully immersed into training for that technique. It meant our our minds and bodies were wandering and not making the most of training for that one technique. it seemed we weren't fully aware of each other.

So, I learn to calm down + focus more. Next time I train and tori or uke does something unrelated to what we are practicing I will not respond/react in kind, though I'm sure my mind will spark with a reaction.

Such random rough housing is likely to open a can of worms and not make the most of training for me at this time.

lifetime practice + tools for growth

On my way to work, a thought hit me like a gong. Bang!
I realized that my analogy of the zen garden was a bit unclear.

I wanted to note that I don't have -all- the tools to "build a garden." I think tools for growth point to a lifetime pursuit. On a life path to growth, I don't I could ever say "I've made it" or "I'm done."

But I wanted to see myself going through a growth phrase visually - hence analogy - to remember it better for myself. it's not for everyone.

Some of this zen craziness has led me to focus more on the following
points from the senseis:

1. breathe
2. don't stop
3. get out of the way
4. take center + off balance + stay low
5. lock em up

Sunday, June 25, 2006

reflections on yellow belt test

The picture above highlights my learning from the test to make it unforgettable + point to where I need to go.
I suppose the next steps are to try put the tools and material together in more meaningful action - you know, like practicing what it's like to build a zen rock garden.

Well, I am coming to conscious awareness that I want my study of jujitsu to reach out to different aspects of life + living hence the symbolic zen rock garden picture. This is natural for me, it's not for everyone.

But this does comes with a grim realization that I may have difficult social conversations explaining why I am learning jujitsu (despite the strained shoulder + jammed thumb). It's like listening to a piece of music. I can't describe a symphony in words - it reduces the experience - you can't get the experience through words. Just like jujitsu.

But to say one thing so far - and it's emotionally difficult to write this - learning jujitsu points to meaningful realization in my life - another proof that an "incurable" chronic condition, fibromyalgia is silenced. Eleven years ago, I would've never imagined doing what I am doing today. A doctor friend thinks I should stick to capoeira, instead. Hell, no! The fact that I can take pain, get injured, and train and still grow in many ways, proves that "pain" is not a wall to prevent my personal growth.

If there is anyone I have to compete/compare -just myself of where I am right now. And this is huge for me.

after test key points from Sensei Maria: thinking, relax, move, and you
Though slightly hungover, I managed to spend quite some time reading about Zen Buddhism this morning- a book by D.T. Suzuki, apparently a "chief emissary of Zen to the West." I stress that this zen interest is not to replace/distract from learning - but to crystallize the learning in memorable ways for me.

So, every now and then I pick out a useful concept in this book, which brings greater focus on the active application of this zen "way of living" - with hopes to aid my learning:
1 - to point to the Moon is needed, but woe to those who take the finger for the Moon
2 - a basket is wecome to carry the fish home, but when the fish are safely on the table, why should we eternally worry ourselves with the basket?

sensei maria's feedback after test:
YOU - (fish, moon)
As Sensei Maria said, it's about "you." It's not about anything else, the movements, the technique, etc. It's about not letting anyone touch me in a way I don't want to be touched. And the "you" focus is above all, important [in self-defense].

Sharing the Zen analogies above only serves to remember these learning points - as long as needed. The primary point of truth/fact that counts is my peace/well-being. It is the "you." That is what I heard as being the primary point from sensei's feedback after test.

Not as in basket case. But it's like the basket for the fish. That "thinking" got in the way of me. That movement/techniques interfered from the essential focus: the "you" - though thinking has its place and time. But if someone mugs me, I am not going to pause to reflect on which technique - a strike, a wrist lock, a throw, blah blah.

Thinking about movement/technique reminds me of the finger pointing to the moon. Sensei said that what counts is - me - and that the movement becomes me. So I think it is important to not mistake that movement/technique comes before me, but I come before the movement and through training the movement becomes me.

And then while testing, sensei reminded me to move first. And I would move first to get out of the way. And I don't move first to get out of the way, just because sensei says so. But it's to refocus on the "you" part. That is truth of the matter. I am not going to focus on moving first because "it's the right thing, sensei said so, it'll help me to do x,y,z technique," but because of the "you" part of the learning of self-defense.

And I tried hard not to seem tense. But I was. And it all goes back to breathing. Hence the interest in Zen. I will practice breathing and mindfulness - which is not "thinking" about breathing or but actually doing it. Hopefully with good breathing, I'll be more relaxed.

sensei stephen's feedback
Having sensei s uke was a new experience - never before in practice had I an uke with an attitude. But the mean eyes, the clenched fists, I knew it was mere show. I had an advantage of knowing the attack and which technique, but I am realizing that I'd have to be super trained to respond like that on the streets.

gift of movement
I was surprised to hear sensei say I have gift of movement and thus have a higher level of expectations - and use it. My response is to train and practice more. I don't know what else to do but to apply this through training + practice.

cultural pointer:
carry an item in dojo w/ 2 hands - says sensei c
need to learn how to approach sensei on matt

recover well + soon, cari!

personal note: Of the things I will never forget from Saturday's accident is Cari's gasp when she fell. Just as I start to grasp the art of breathing, deep listening and mindfulness and put it all together to work for my body+daily practice, I hear a gasp. I hear a gasp from an incredibly beautiful, dear woman, and it shook me up. To me, it was so much, much more than glass shattering and walls breaking.

Sitting in seiza, my heart and thoughts poured out to Cari 100%. And this diary entry and get well card is to be fully present in supporting Cari in her quick recovery and return to the mat.

GO CARI GO. Keep your spirits up and recover well soon!

Friday, June 23, 2006

sensei maria's class

technique notes

1. same-side wrist grab - sankyu: turn hip to angle away from uke, grabbed hand creates bend upward in uke attacking elbow w/ top of tori hand pressing against underneath uke attacking forearm, hitch step, hands put uke attacking arm/hand to outside shoulder, setup for sankyu lock, can take step tru w/ back leg, turn hips/whole body for lock, keep lead/inside leg away from front of uke otherwise uke can sweep it (says russian monster), then bring locked uke arm/hand w/ tori hip as inside leg cross steps behind other leg - in a line- turn hips, stretch out uke arm, uke is off balance, take down

2. round house punch - sankyu w/ entry strike: important to hitch step early for an off balance, to an angle, back leg immediately follow lead leg in entry, outside arm parries block, inside arm elbow strikes to uke ribs, finish w/ sankyu

3. cross hand wrist grab - katana nage: taisabaki, uke grabs wrist, thumb turns over uke hand so on top, don't let elbow rise or stray from body, don't leg arm collapse to body, keep arm/hand in front/your center, think down, bring uke down - downward motion causes uke to roll, seems like uke is off balance when shoulder in uke arm pit and tori hitch step and brings hand down

3. back hand club slash - katana nage: on taisabaki entry, catch strike with non lead hand and bring immediately down to hips, creates off balance i think, when taisabaki done: uke hand/arm w/ club is across tori center line and down low/hips, hitch step with shoulder into uke armpit, take weapon w/ u, uke takes fwd roll

4. round house punch - close window: hitch step early, both lead/nonlead leg move together - don't trail nonlead leg behind, it helped to think of the feet as to forces of energy going together for greatest impact, and then thinking of both feet driving together at an angle away from uke helped to think how it will help make uke off balance, roll shoulder, take down

5. round house punch - tiger lock: rather difficult for me but in case close window does not work, roll shoulder for off balance, step a little to side of uke than front - otherwise get hit, outside arm snakes under striking arm straight to other wrist, roll both wrists forward, shiko dachi for take down, i think leg on side of hand rolling uke shoulder kneels on ground, mitsu says to keep back straight/vertical and then twist hips away from uke to apply another tiger lock on ground. may help to not look at uke when doing this bc i hunch my shoulders fwd when i look down. when i was hunched over, looking at uke and pulling up on uke arm, there was no tiger lock.

6. cross hand wrist grab -ikkyu: sempai pumpkin says that if you're at the point where both your arms are over uke + uke arm is not stretched out, take a side step away from uke and will stretch out uke arm, lock arms so uke can not get out + will dislocate if do, take down + lock

culture + language
I spoke to an old friend earlier in the day about how learning a bit of culture + language would be a good supplement to learning martial arts. So far, I have not discovered a good text on Zen Buddhism (since we do a little zazen before/after class). I'd like find one and spend more time understanding what the integration of mind, body and spirit means to me.

Why learn more about mind, body, spirit? I guess I am seeking Truth: a) looking honestly, directly, critically (and sometimes uncritically/playfully) at my mind, body and spirit b) then see how they're working together c) then relate them to the world and time. This process makes me feel like I'm stepping closer to what is true and not true. That is rewarding - I feel like I'm growing.

My intuition tells me there is something very Zen or Buddhist about all this, but I need to learn more to see if there is a real connection.

the instructional voice
On a side note, this personal pursuit for Truth reminds me of balance in how much you listen to yourself and how much you listen to others. Both are important for growing, as I have learned. A college mentor used to say to me that it was foolish to always listen yourself in isolation of others, and it was foolish to always listen to others in isolation of your personal voice. What was needed, he said, is the honest clarity to decide of who and who not to listen to and when, and to not bias the value of another's voice w/ potentially misleading factors like status, emotions, image, age, gender, etc. (He gave a nice example how a life lesson could be learned even from the simple, honest words of a child). What he encouraged me to develop was an "internal guage" to hear what is true and not true within myself and from others.

thought I'd share two examples of instructional voices + learning responses w/ personal voice:
a) the instructional voice: a couple weeks ago, I heard Deepak Chopra speak - he's a wonderful, engaging orator. You feel instanty at home with his personal story telling and teaching style. And the lecture was fascinating - a demonstration of his success in mind-body medicine. It was inspiring and he spoke how humankind has evolved over the ages from an agricultural society, to an industrial one, to an information age, etc. And he paralleled this with humankind evolving from the age of body, to the age of mind to finally the age of spirit- which we are living today. That today we are finally coming to the age of mind-body-spirit (since yoga and wellness are hot trends today). All of this, of course, was uplifting and I stood together in the standing ovation for his speech.

the learning response: But now, when I listen to my own voice and reflect on his teaching, I realize none of this makes sense to me. It is not logical that humankind evolved from body, mind, spirit and finally coming to terms w/ mind-body-spirit. I mean, I'm studying jujitsu, and this is mind-body-spirit in action from ancient Japan!

So I disgree with Dr. Chopra, despite his reputation and illustrious career. I think humankind has been evolving all three: mind-body-spirit since the day thought and action were married together for human survival (and happiness) - and that some cultures - particularly eastern asian ones - practiced and developed this more in their societies/traditions/cultures than others. Yo, mind-body-spirit - it's nothing new, it's just that our western American society as a larger whole is drawing more media attention to it and trying to be more scientific about it all. But this increase of media and scientific studies does not mean that humankind as whole is evolving - it's the western American cultural trend that is changing. My 2 cents, of course.

b) the instructional voice: I yawned in dojo (being tired/not bored!). Sensei c caught me and snapped and said don't yawn, any japanese something or another "would slap you" and something or another "would piss in the streets," and that it was "rude." I can't remember exactly what he said, but it was startling. I felt bad. But then I yawned again later in seiza (and thought, oh shit, did sensei c see that??)
learning response: I could have thought, oh this instruction made me feel bad so I won't listen to it and I'll avoid Sensei c. But I would've let the "feeling bad" get in the way of learning something useful/meaningful/helpful. So with open ears, I hear not just "don't yawn in dojo" instruction value, but the value of respecting and understanding culture -I am after all learning a japanese martial arts. So I take away from this instruction, the strength to get past the "feeling bad," to listen with open ears, to see a bigger picture of what needs to be learned (i.e. culture appreciation/respect, one of which is don't yawn in dojo)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

sensei stephen's class

remembering details
-sensei s once again stressed using peripheral vision
to respond to uke one arm mugs
- sensei c showed a move that could definitely dislocate the elbow - or it felt like it could. i uked for a kotogaeshi 10 (or other technique?) and he said something to janet about pulling arm around the waist so back of uke elbow was against his body as he was pull arm arm around waist. this alarmed me bc if was not following tori, uke could really injure joint.

* fwd straight punch - boom boom sweep. timing is everything, don't hitch step too deep or uke is too forward + too difficult to roll shoulder, don't hitch step too soon or you have don't have uke leg forward enough for sweep - if legs are parallel and there is no lead leg to sweep, change technique says sensei s.

* fwd straight punch - kotogaeshi 10, stay close to uke when you catch elbow during taisabaki entry, let lead hand slide down to wrist, don't grab wrist first and don't leave a lot of space btween u + uke

* head lock w/ tori bent over, uke arm around tori neck and pressed against uke ribs - inside arm strike uke's manlihood or womanlihood from behind, or outside arm strikes from the front, outside arm pinches inside of thigh of uke, inside arm sneaks over shoulder, strong knife edge of hand presses against uke nose above upper lip, hammer punch to ribs with outside arm, take down, another straight punch to uke, lock

* round house - hitch step into center of uke, strike to neck, striking hand slides down outside edge of uke's attack arm + holds uke's wrist down as other hand punches uke in side of face, this same punching hand is then set up for an elbow strike to head which also helps roll shoulder back and put uke off balance, the off balance makes it easy to then apply a tiger lock, back straight, step out to shiko dachi, drop weight, lock

* round house - hitch step into center of uke, strike to neck, striking hand slides down outside edge of uke's attack arm and brings uke arm over to your shoulder, apply sankyu as outside leg step around and behind u, stuff uke elbow into arm pit + apply another lock with hand sneaking under uke's pinned forearm + to your own wrist, shoulders back, backstraight, create lock, inside leg then kneels as you take uke straight to ground, apply ground lock

outside dojo adventures Frustrated as I was to have a swollen shoulder for the past two days, I decided now is the time to stabilize my upper body muscles. At best, I would hardly survive as a jujutska with arms like spaghetti noodles. Let's see some beef in thar rotator cuffs and scapulae muscles! No more swollen shoulders! More dojo time!

The more I step out of ignorant bliss and become more aware of what I know and don't know in jujitsu, the more inspired/awed I am of watching the sempais. Observing their correct form as they're being thrown over the shoulder by tori is striking and motivating.

And then one word occurs to me - years. It'll take me years to fall that well. A long road ahead, indeed.

workout haiku:
inside my gym bag
is a soothing rattle of
an advil bottle

Saturday, June 17, 2006

class notes

remembering details
hitch step should have front foot not pointed too much to side
hitch step deeply to be outta sight of uke

techniques today

1. punching drills. stand fingertip to fingertip distance. always bring hands to chin after punching
- 2 punches to solar plexus, face square on otherwise easy to track uke (say z)
- 2 punches and blocking with forearms. keeps hands in center between you + uke. no need to block so that hand + forearm goes across and way past center, otherwise you're not ready for guarding
- 3 punches, smacking forehead w/ lead hand. go for smack w/ intent + cause uke to blink. lead hand smacks forehead twice and other hand goes for solar plexus punch
- then adding elbow strike to above technique. need to step in to be close to uke, otherwise too far to do elbow strike.
- then adding foot sweep to uke lead leg after stepping in + elbow strike. it seemed foot sweep was angle away from centerline than straight fwd

2. hi pin - sankyu: drop weight, but don't weight too soon or uke will choke. so the russian monster says to pin uke hands to chest and drop weight, turn hip elbow strike to uke, step back as you put uke hand to shoulder closest to uke, apply sankyu lock with body, don't leave uke hand hanging out but be sure it is pinned to body and turn, then step out and bring uke hand w/ hip = creates off balance, and take down + lock

3. hi pin - name? do above but this time you step out from underneath uke arm as you take uke hand with you and go for immediate take down + lock

4. 1 arm mug - sensei s says to watch w/ eyes when arm comes around to choke neck, no need to wait till choke is on, heels together, catch w/ little fingers in crook of uke neck, drop weight, and throw over shoulder. when u uke, keep chest pressed against uke back and stand square on, not rotate shoulder torward the tori shoulder that you will go over.

* i over rotated on this throw and landed on my shoulder which is already unstable (from a previous partial dislocation). i also reach out w/ my arm to catch fall. bad arm. bad. zhenya says whole body should land same time

5. pull back mug - step back so leg is ready for sweep, catch choke, spin out, butt behind uke butt + sweep, lock

other details
- when pinning uke to ground, put weight on knees and on uke body.
- when doing forward roll, don't rotate shoulders before roll, stand straight
- slap whole arm and up
- extension rolls, when two on ground, imagine three + look up not down. my feet feel clumsy when i run up to do rolls
- i guess when you breathe out, punches to solar plexus doesn't hurt as much.

just where the heck is the solar plexus? why do you punch there? voila, a diagram below. i don't know if the text blurb is true, but i got it from a boxer website:

Friday, June 16, 2006

class notes

1 - fwd punch - ikkyu, step to side, cross center line, non lead hand at uke wrist, lead hand at uke elbow, if lead hand thumb over uke elbow, keep driving energy forward as you twist wrist so thumb is under elbow - straighten arms over the uke elbow, drive energy down
-don't lead with shoulders, lead w/ hips

2. lapel grab - step in, take center, frisk and drive energy down to uke hip. non lead foot does not drag behind but quickly follow lead leg

-can add punch, but main thing is stepping in and off balance of uke. when uke falls, don't turn back, control uke, or step away

3. new lapel grab - ankle block, throw over ankle - follow uke while throwing looking in direction where you want to throw (down behind u), ankle bloc by lead leg, lean shoulder back as uke grabs, make foot a monkey claw, don't leave back facing uke after throw, turn around and face uke

4. for short folks, don't look up into eyes of uke, or you will lose balance, keep head straight no matter how pretty uke eyes are

5.lapel grab - step out to shiko dachi, arms don't push down, whole body drops. let ukecatch lapel and lead with lead hand of uke's attacking arm, step straight back into shiko dachi, keep head straight, non lead hand goes to bicep

6. when tested on technique, keep going don't stop, it's important to get out of way and keep going

7. in ukemi kata- learned to do back fall and side fall without touching ground, keep head tucked

8. cross hand wrist grab - ikkyu, don't have to wait to be grabbed
whole body gets into technique
9. lapel grab - nikyyu, keep elbow down, don't apply energy is both hands, just one that is doing lock, other hand just "hangs there" says sensei m, step when u apply lock

count then move when doing drills

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

whole lotta throws + new folks

brief notes:
my coworker annie is shopping martial arts - so she came with me today. she's a strong + spirited gal, a cancer survivor, and good learner. thx for welcoming her.

another new white belt came. didn't get his name.


1 - round house - ippon seionage (?) uke punches, step in, block hip with your hip, get inside the punch as a way to defend from getting hit, body close to uke chest, back straight, bend knees, heels together, grab uke gi, clip bicep, twist hip. it doesn't really work if you do technique slow. sensei c emphasized doing this fast and not slow

2 - round house - wipe uke off thigh - don't know what this is called, but ippon seionage doesn't work, change to this technique, after setting up for shoulder throw and doesn't work, step out to side, bring leg behind uke, back straight, uke off balance, leg brought behind uke should have foot right behind uke foot, sensei c showed to lead the elbow up the centerline of uke to uke face, and cut down with arm/ power with hip. alternatively, can pick uke up by behind knees/pants and throw over thigh. end by turning around and facing uke + lock

3 - round house - hitch step, block w/ 2 hands, punch into nerve between bone/bicep muscle w/ non lead hand, one forearm (nonlead) under uke elbow, lead hand aids shihonage lock while you do a taisabai around uke so that body is fully behind uke. w/ shihonage lock and trachea choke, can lead uke backwards, use uke as a shield "in a bar" (says sensei s), and if you want to bring to floor, simply bend knees/drop weight (shown by sensei s)

4 - fwd punch - boom boom sweep: it seems easier to do this technique with hands not tight/clenched when rolling shoulder joint. seems easier to smooth over shoulder joint to roll it back, than to clench/grab shoulder joint. face obi knot to uke, not away from uke.

5- fwd punch - hitch step, parry w/ 2 hands, non lead hand bends punching arm @ 90 degrees to make a window for sankyu, step through, do sankyu lock, then sensei s showed that you could leap @ 45 degree angle using outside leg. this leg lands and you rotate body, now facing uke, kneeling, their arm stretched out, take down.

6 - cross hand wrist grab - sankyu.

7 - hipin - bend knees, both arms catch uke arms to chest, twist hip, elbow strike to gut, hand strike to groin, step out to side, do that wipe off thigh technique described above

8 - hi pin - sensei s showed two different throws. one where we grabbed uke gi at forearm, and other arm grabbed at bicep, heels togeter, bend knees, back straight, load onto hip, twist hip, throw
9- another was to not hold uke gi at forearm, but push back on uke knee while throwing

10 round house - hip throw: hitch step to uke lead foot, heels together, back straight, one arm grabbin pulling uke gi at their forearm, while other hand/arm is behind uke and cutting across and over uke shoulder to aid throw, uke loaded on hip, throw.

when applying shihonage lock on ground, put knee into armpit, and pull up on uke arm

a new lock - saw sensei s put shin against uke elbow as arm was outstretched, and turn hips

Sunday, June 11, 2006

class details

- more details on fwd punch -ikkyu to outside uke hand - hitch step, parry punch, crossed hands across uke's center line and catch nonpunching uke arm, then twist our hips to fullest extent possible. sensei showed that this would allow our knees to fully rotate (almost 90degrees it seemed) and downward, powered by hip to bring arm down

- opposite stance - ready to fight, smack uke lead hand away, grab uke lead hand with following hand, lead hand goes to uke face to block vision, foot sweept from outside
- same but sweep from inside, don't pick up uke foot, bring forward

-close window - timing is everything, uke will be too fwd if too late, let uke come to you to collapse your own arms than pull uke to u, shoulder roll,

- fwd punch, hitch step heel strike to center of uke, not across uke, cut down through uke with both hands and lock with elbow to chest, knee on head, and wrist bent @ 90 degrees

- cross hand wristgrab - step in w' back leg, let thumb/hand roll over uke hand, so uke grabbing hand is now under your grabbed hand, outside hand smack uke face, goes down centerline of uke as you turn and snake this hand under uke elbow to your own wrist, create tiger lock, step back leg into shikodachi, knee on head, lock with uke elbow to chest, and wrist bent down + toward u

- in 2 heel palm strikes on pad - let ground power thru body, hitch step and lower body at same time, as you come up let the coming up give power to hips and through hands

- in 2 fwd punches, think striking through pad and uke w/ 2 knuckles, there is brief moment where both hands are momentarily facing up as one strikes and the other rechambers. rechambering helps with powering other punch (i think) with the hip twisting

Saturday, June 10, 2006


punching drills
1. lead leg knee bent, same side arm stretched out in front w/ natural fist, other arm chambered, following leg takes step w/ toe slightly turn outward, lead arm touches pad as chambered arm releases with natural fist/palm side up, striking arm continues with natural fist/palm side up as other arm retracts into chamber position, hip powers punch, as soon as punching fist almost touches pad twist fist so palm faces down - this helps save elbow and aims punch better

2. do above but two punches

3. next drill is to strike with heel of palm. sensei c said to imagine a blade at the center of your palm and that is where to aim. again use hips to power punch.

(attack - defense)
1. lapel grab - osotogari, helps to hitch step deeply, pull gi out and down toward corner, shoulder to shoulder, sweep w/out foot touching ground until sweep is done, bum behind uke bum
2. lapel grab - ippon seionage - be sure to block uke thigh/leg, keep back straight + don't bend at bum. if bend at bum/butt, u are off balance and there is a gap between your back and uke's body. this does not help w/ throw. heels together.
3. new! forward punch - ikkyu: hitch step, parry w/ both hands, uke's non-punch hand in front of chest, take this hand/arm + do ikkyu w/ cutting arm across uke's centerline by powering straight down with hips, take down
4. new! forward punch - hitch step, lead hand's knife edge cuts across uke's chest(but sensei says you would do this to face), and cut down with both hands. an advanced mistake is to cut sideways and not down. timing important for off balance -be early.
5. one arm mug - bend knees, both hands' little finger grab to take choke off as drop weight. tuck chin, do ippon seionage
6. new! round house - parry w/ step, so uke + u are in opposite stance (i.e. both right leg fwd), arm on same side of your lead leg can strike uke in gut, then take this arm and put under uke elbow of arm that struck + other hand helps bend uke elbow, grab uke wrist w/ arm in crook of uke elbow, following leg steps laterally outside, drop weight for shihonage take down
7. fwd punch - parry w/ both hands, lead arm goes under uke elbow, other arm bends uke striking wrist down so uke elbow against your chest, put lock w/ both hands bending uke wrist w/ uke elbow in chest. for take down, go deep shiko dachi. put knee on head + continue lock.
8. round house - like ippon seionage: important to step and block lead leg + back straight. stepping in avoids punch, i guess.

Friday, June 09, 2006

How to watch a technique

It astonishes me sometimes to see people get up after watching a demonstration and do something completely different, or have no idea what to do. Here is how to avoid that.

First, see what the attack is. That is elementary, but it is often missed.

Second, see where tori goes. Does tori go in, back, to the side, straight or to an angle, to the inside or to the outside?

Third, how does tori get there? Is it hitch step, step, tai-sabaki, or hitchstep pivot?

Fourth, what do the hips do? Do they drop, turn, turn and turn back?

Fifth, what happens to uke's balance?

Sixth, what do the hands do? This is the least important, and the easiest to fix if you miss it. The first five are the technique's foundation and frame. Take care of them, and it will be easy for the sensei to show you how to put in the finish work.

These six points are basic, but they are not enough. (Nothing is ever enough.) When you can see these things quickly, look at and imitate every little detail. If one sensei does it differently from another, imitate both ways, and think hard about why each is done. Eventually it will be your job to make an intelligent decision about which works better for you.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

remembering details

just a few more things I remember from class:

sensei c instructed that osotogari on round house punch should be a continuous twisting down of uke to corner.
- sweeping foot does not touch ground again until after sweep and is placed next to other foot and you're standing over uke
- when you punch into armpit, keep back straight, and let punching hand follow the lenghth of the arm and look at target, not by hunching head or shoulder over, but just looking down w/ eyes

another was from sensei s
- use the whole body + legs when lifting arm of uke
as uke goes to strike face
- you parry, place hand under uke elbow, other hand at uke wrist, and use legs
(not arms) to push uke arm up. creates lock and off balance

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

technique + more thoughts

if anyone wants to write, please feel free! =)
(Won’t be in Thursday due to work. Will be late to class this weekend.)
sensei quote
Sensei c says I won’t have time to be tired if I come to dojo because I’ll get hit or something like that – and that I’ll stay awake. I like the theory, so far.
New technique
forward punch to face
- Lead leg crosses behind following leg, while parry from inside, following leg (now in front of other) hops across ukes lead leg, blocks uke’s ankle as you twist hips down like you’re going to kneel and face point in direction uke is going to roll, but body is perpendicular, blocking leg is stretched out, knee low to ground, but not touching, and is perpendicular to uke. Breathe out and you bring arm straight down.
Stay low.

- Step in and parry with both hands (and following leg step behind and cross, and then twist hips going down to kneel, and leg blocks uke’s leg and they roll perpendicularly to the direction they initially came. I think I’m fuzzy on this one.

Round house

* close window - dixon showed that u need to be super early and twist the hips down and throw to corner.

* step in opposite of striking arm, breath out, parry with two hands, keep elbow down, keep off balance, lead leg catches ankle and pulls forward and falls on back

Or lead leg can sweep foot up, and you catch foot, tiger lock with hand over knee and the other wrapped under + holding other wrist, leg/toes on uke’s pressure point, straighten back to apply lock

I had a whole new realization! Hooray! I figured that I learn better when I feel the uke more, not just a sequence of movements. I got this from Sensei Stephen and uking from zhenya.

For instance in back grab: drop weight down, catch hands to chest so uke can’t choke, pivot hips, hand strike groin – and get this - I saw sensei Stephen put hand on uke’s knee and then put his foot directly behind uke’s foot – before grabbing uke by knees and wiping uke over thigh (alternatively, you could just twist your torso and wipe off uke over your leg with arm). Back straight. The great thing is that I did the hand on knee to help my foot target and feel uke’s foot so that I mindfully put my foot there – right behind uke’s foot. And presto. The technique was so much easier.

Then I was uking for zhenya and I noticed her changing up technique depending on where I was off-balance. And it made me more aware of how “sensing and doing to uke” seems to be less work, less struggle.

the arts, buddhism and martial arts
My past thoughts in previous blog entry ring truer with a little reading about buddhism, art and the art of practice.

The most compelling quote I found was from
" The aspects of Buddhism that have entered the Western world most prominently are the several schools of meditation within the Buddhist tradition, all of which emphasize training the mind and cultivating clear, stable, active attention and the capacity to see things as they are. There is, in the Buddhist meditation tradition, a strong emphasis on "experience" rather than "thinking about."

Because so much human experience occurs when our minds are distracted or numbed, dazzled or overloaded by our individual conditioning and by immediate needs and desires, the refinement of the capacity for attention is often neglected or ignored altogether. Meditation can, thus, be viewed as a means for training the mind to be more and more attentive, and a heightened capacity for attention can be viewed as an antidote to confused perceptions and wasted energy.

This is close to what makes sense to me when working out in the dojo and learning jujitsu (well, among other things, too) – and how I’ve approached learning in the past. It feels more natural/interesting to devote mental energy to learning/practicing (aside from creativity/imagination/etc). But intellectualizing all this has been fun, too.

speaking of art, I have been curious about Sensei Stephen’s comments about artists + dancers being interested in martial arts and how they seem to learn well because they are more visual. I would say this makes sense. Artists work in the area of the human senses and the fine-tuned attention to the nuances of sensory stimuli.

And I thought more about this triangle – art, Buddhism, and learning (jujitsu)- and I start to perceive an overlap of qualities in all three. One overlap I perceive is “the cultivation of attention.” So, this prompted me to take another quote from the website:

“When attention is cultivated, people commonly report the experience of "seeing things in a new light" or "getting a new perspective on how the world looks."”

I infer that the website talks about the “cultivation of attention” to relate to the “experience” of appreciating/creating art and meditating.

But I also see the “cultivation of attention” as part of "learning.” When I learn or experience something new in the dojo – I definitely get a “new perspective” and “see things in a new light.” I don’t concretely remember everything, but the process of learning is very rewarding/satisfying experience.

All this discussion leaves me with a final note: practice. I don’t enough of it – if at all! This is not good. Damn the work life.
I’m going to experiment with memory flash cards and workouts to see if that helps me respond better to those rollout and defends... I will think of some creative ways to practice even just 10-20 minutes on off-days, away from dojo.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

tired + blind + thoughts

added info to previous blogs
-fwd punch, overhead strike

Sometimes one has to overcome the mind to go workout - even coming to dojo. I have been wiped out all week. I was blind. And yet, I came -particularly to get stuff from sempai adi. But it was a good test to stay on track.

Then I got a good forward punch in the stomach by Sensei Coleman, which was the first for me. I don't think anyone in the dojo has socked me so well, if at all! And you know, this is good. Because Sensei Maria said last year that the body needs to get "used to being" hit and not get so alarmed, because no matter how you're hit, you're actually OK. And I think about really staying mentally focussed, if I get hit. I guess this takes practice and time.

I realize also that I don't fully understand why the "diaphragm" should always be down. I don't understand the difference and benefits.

over the camping trip, the sempais and i talked about many life issues revolving around dojo/martial arts. we talked about social lives, dating, personal values, etc. it opened a window of thoughts that i have not had, like why i'm doing jujitsu, why another is doing jujitsu and what one can one do to make a balanced life work. i look back at the conversations - and they feel unnatural to me now. like I can rationalize and give many reasons of this and that, and they are probably accurate, part of a whole, but it is not a totality. Now when I think about all the reasons why I'm doing jujitsu and how a lovelife, new business, artistic life will workout, I feel like I am not growing and this mental process of generating reasons/problem solving is not helping me. Building lists of reasons could hardly express or encompass the joy and wakening of spirit when I'm in the dojo - and it's the experience -the mind, body, spirit thang that keeps me going.

Yes there are reasons why I joined, why I go and issues revolving around training and real life, but I find it very unnatural to explain and think about it all, to give reasons and search for answers for this and that. So I'd rather just flow and go with my gut instinct. No need to think so much about it - for me at least. I just don't feel like I grow otherwise.