Monday, July 21, 2014

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

eyes closed, one leg

ive been working on this for years.  it is not easy.  then an athleta catalog comes in the mail for beloved wife & there is the model doing the one leg with eyes closed, at rest, blissful, wearing something that is for sale.  in my one-leg standing career so far i have done that for as much as 3.5 breaths before the lean begins that leads to the topple.

i want to be as flexible as a 15 year old girl

so i'm doing the neck exercises (head turns) on one leg recently.  lots of failure, where i like to be with new stuff.  today i noticed (eyes open) that head turns below horizontal did not disturb one leg balance as much as above horizontal, horizontal itself being "ok" still it is all hard to do.  so i can look down on one leg basically no problem, but if i look up its like one leg with eyes closed.

what are the implications of that?  there is a vestibular component and a mechanical balance component, the mechanical can be isolated easily enough, i can try to align my hips & shoulders, etc.  the vestibular - i dont have "balance problems" yet there are mechanical positions for which vestibular fails.  isn't that interesting?

Sunday, November 25, 2012


It was cold this morning & i wore a hoody.

therefore i had this extra rustling sound in my ears while i was doing my stuff on the deck.

as i was doing the eye stuff (up-down, right-left etc.) i noticed some occasional hoody noise as my head was moving ever so slightly.

i was therefore able to relax those head muscles & eliminate the hoody noise, or almost, attaining a deeper level of relaxation, deeper than before.

all for today.

Friday, July 20, 2012

live toes

several months ago it was sensei explaining something & uke gets bent over backwards & goes up on toes.  sensei explains "lifting the hips" in that position "to get the head closer to the ground" so it doesn't have as far to fall.

so i started experimenting with up on my toes in backbend & try to do that raise the hips thing.  hard.  calf muscles get sore after few days, transient cramps in the muscles of the sole of the foot.

i found thoughts of running on toes.  i have been a heelstrike runner.  vibrams really demonstrated the problematics of that style.  i considered the aiki approach would be a lower angle but was still imagining only a heelstrike.  bringing it up in class with a more experienced person who came back with tales of a guy who runs on his toes alone.  so i tried it.

i had ortho leg problems when i was a kid.  special shoes: Thomas heels.  I was told to run "on my toes" but i didn't want to run anyway & running that way felt weird.

at the beach i started watching runners' feet, found several running on their toes.  so i learned how to do it.  on the beach i could go back & look at my footprints in the sand to see what i'd been doing.  mostly flat, occasionally toes only.  sure is a different feeling from heelstrike.

the main contact point of the feet changes from the heel to the ball.  the toes want to spread out to "grab" the floor.  the heels rest lightly, the weight spreads out through the rest of the foot.  because of that spread out weight there seems to be enhanced stability: four zones of weight bearing: inner toe, outer toes, ball, heel, instead of just heel.  because of enhanced mobility of the foot there is increased freedom of action of the ankle, that's always good, having choices.

of course the rest of the body has to be properly draped over the feet,  0-0-0.

speaking of which there was an incident where i got bashed in the nose in class.  it was nage's "fault": clumsy approach, contact with wrong part (nose), heedless follow through with unnecessary force & bad vector, possible psychological aspect.  my job as uke is to make lemonade.  after several days of thinking "how can i approach the issue with the person" mixing up with "what can i do to prevent this in future" this came up: keep the head back, go up on toes, lift hips.  i could have jumped up, as sensei once mentioned, specifically to keep uke's nose from being broken "again."


Thursday, May 24, 2012

odd stuff, disturbances in the force

this morning i did the stretch routine mostly with my heels off the floor.  to arrange the angles to be able to "relax" into it: within the set parameters there are better ways to do it.  5-8 minutes heels off floor: relax the calves, relax the shins, burn baby burn.  and this time the wiggling fingers put out to the edge of the visual field to therefore pay attention to both sides at the same time.

yesterday in class 2 people got hurt separately, one just doing a forward roll, other did a breakfall wrong i guess, i didn't see it.  first went to hospital, sensei thought broken collarbone, other some problem with a leg.  wanted to slow down & relax more than usual.
there is a spot of time between the demonstration of the technique and the first try that the lesson falls out of the head.  the bow, the finding of the partner, the bow, the entry into the technique, the arrangement of the lesson falls apart & i stand there & have to put it back together if i can.  or, if i've trained enough on it i can go with the training & not think about it.  that empty zone, like a dream, when i got up the dream ended, i can try to piece together the fragments of the memory.  passive active.  how wide is the transition zone between passive & active?  does it perhaps only seem that there is an absolute distinction of off/on?  must investigate further.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

today with a staff

today was first i was doing everything with the switch-hands rotate forearms around the stick, the tricky what to do with the thumbs, is the thumb covers outer 2 fingers like boken right for jo?  have to ask.  everything could be done in at least 2 categories: right or left palm up when jo horizontal.

arms set so jo was eye level found & doing the side to side head motion in the frontal plane i noticed that the picture of the jo seemed to have a lag in its reflective density: head tilted one way the top was solid, the bottom see through, head tilted the other way the bottom is solid.  noticed a situation in which as i rest in the tilt position the scene changes so that the solid side seemed to solider, the see through zone diminishing over some short period of time.  investigation eventually revealed an attention preference one eye over the other.  the attention was habitually drawn to the side of the tilt.  having found that tendency i could modulate/control it so that keeping the attention alone in 0,0,0 i could eliminate that scene evolution thing so that the side to side transition became equalized, like um a "perfect" sword cut.

and later i discovered that doing shomens and yokomens to the bird feeder pole is just totally excellent.  and that manipulating the jo above and behind the edge of the visual field, using the antenna function if you will, is fun if done real slow.  today.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

stretching with staff

i'm not sure why i haven't kept recounting the training.  there was a period of not feeling right, the symptoms only tendencies, a wanness of spirit, little physical issues & minor viruses, combined with a steady pace of business to attend to.  wanness made "me" feel inferior in the good old childhood outcast way.  that apparently pretty much cleared now that spring is here.

bendover is still the main thing i'm working on.  been working with a staff last couple of days.  the staff is as long as from my feet to my armpit when i'm standing normally.  with pinky side of my hands encircling the ends of the staff, thumb lightly over pinky & ring fingers, one palm out, other in, arms will always move together.  now relax.

my quads have become strong enough that i can go almost all the way to the floor and get back up again with just one leg, that out leg just doing balance.  on a mat i can do it on one side but not quite the other yet.  that means that i could do it on the floor too but it would be rough i ain't into rough.

the staff preserves spatial relationships between body parts, helps orient in space by preserving a straight reference line.