Monday, June 30, 2008

Refining Ippon Seoi Nagi

This Sunday I had a chance to take a serious and detailed look at the most basic hip throw: ippon seoi nagi. I'm still struggling to keep my posture & balance as my hips get very low. But this time Sensei Coleman and I took a look into the minor details that could make my job a lot easier.

The Basics
While in Rondori, I tend to rest my arms on people until we've "started". This is a mistake because as soon as I begin to do ippon, I will remove my weight and it will be a telltale sign that I'm about to throw the Uke. Instead I will hook my fingers around their gi without clasping it. This will create a minor & constant tension which will eliminate the jerking sensation as I begin to pull. If I am not noticed, I wont' be opposed.

In addition, if I place weight on their body I am making them heavier and more grounded as I make myself lighter and easier to throw. In short, I'm inviting a counter attack.

The pull of Uke's loose hand must be upwards and outwards. I can't clench it to my chest or stomach since this will only further balance my oponent at the expense of my own balance.

I will clip the armpit/bicep with the crook of my elbow before I begin to turn and then I will turn with my shoulder to my knee rather than by extending my legs or placing my hips at an even height to both my shoulders.

Once Uke begins to fall, I will lift my shoulders up and place my body with my legs bent and my knee facing Uke's head to begin to lock them up.

My Task
To practice this repeatedly while keeping all of these details in mind. From experience I know that as soon as I fix several problems, one of the original corrections will unravel in an attempt to make the throw easier. My job is to fix, check and recheck these details across various ukes.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sweet, humbling Ju Jitsu!

Today I managed to do a Katana nage which was clearly well beyond my usual reach. The footwork was smooth and in its place, I had good posture, my hands were soft and I was moving from my hips. Sensei Maria happened to be watching and congratulated me on my work. Shortly after I did Katana Nage again... If you're imagining the exact opposite, then you'd be right. My footwork was all over, I was tense, I hunched forward to get power and it was an overall unstructured and ugly maneuver.

I was embarrased until I realized the real mistake. I wasn't wrong to be happy about my success. I work as hard as anybody else, and if I don't let it bring me joy, then why would I even do it? My mistake was that I didn't understand that everything has a time and place and by focusing excessively on my success; I pretty much assured that I wouldn't have any further success to celebrate. Since I regularly praise Ju Jitsu for providing a platform to teach me life lessons on a foam mat; it's not hard to see why this blogpost means more to me than Katana Nage.

Bask in your success when you can and focus on your challenges when you must. It's simple advice that we can all easily understand and agree with. But only through many little moments like this does it become more than something I say and part of who I am.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I recently experienced something that embodies the way we articulate the idea of projection. I was out with my friends and as the night was winding down, we all said our goodbyes by the door. I happened to be standing by the door of the closet and there simply wasn't a way to get to the closet without me moving. As I'm partly distracted talking to a friend I feel a soft but powerful push from my left. When I look over to see who would push me over, I'm surprised to find that it's my friend's friend. She's about 5'5" and without a doubt, not over 110 Lbs. She isn't very strong; or at least I didn't think so until that moment.

If I didn't think in terms of projection, I might only have walked away with the life lesson that some people are exceptionally rude. Instead I asked myself repeatedly: How on earth did she push me over? Then the answer was clear; complete inconsideration. As far as she was concerned, it was her space and I was just standing in it. She's shorter, so its not hard for her to keep her center lower to the ground than mine. Her hand was firm but soft and near her center and she pushed with the whole weight of her body. In short, she did everything that we aim to do. If she'd only learn manners; it might even be worthwhile to invite her to the dojo!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tomoe Nagi face Slide!

This is why we practice our Ukemi! Tuck your head children or this may happen to you!

Friday, June 13, 2008

New Blog!

Hey all I posted my new blog...check it out!