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.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

more adventures in bendover

this is where i became more aware of the forward-backward axis.

so in bendover there is a certain tendency to move the butt buttward as one allows one's lumbar spine to flex and one's pelvis to rotate topside forward.  when one tries to limit that buttwardness the low back muscles are more isolated.  i noticed that in company of sword, isolated the low back enough that i got a cramp back there that lasted a week.

silent walking, head inclination

today's never-thought-that-befores:

1. was suddenly magically able to put my front foot back flat and decelerated more than before & became able to diminish the noise production of the feet on the hardwood floor by a lot.  the second time i did it it seemed that the quads have become conditioned enough to accommodate the deceleration, probably also that i had  head-back-pelvis nicely in line.
    its also an increased level of back-thereness of the head.  there is comfort & safety back-there.  today i seem extra-special more in the safe zone.
2. head turns, diagonals: there is the linear version with the chin-ear axis stays at 0, and there is the rotational version where the chin rotates toward the direction the head is turned.  Different results.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

levels of cane

carrying around a sword makes me pay attention to the generally 24" out from the body zone, makes lines appear so to speak, to keep the blade from touching anything.  same thought can be applied to use of a cane.  the cane can be used to aid balance of course.  it can also be used as an antenna.  point the cane where i want to go, turn to face in that direction, go that way.

Monday, February 6, 2012

old people aikido - in the sense that the principles of aikido apply in normal interactions with objects, the object is the partner

dad is 87, mom is 89.  her habit is to sit there.  dads is to creep around all bent over.  he has been dealing with various householder stuff since they moved, kind of refuses help with it, she has had a series of medical issues.  finally he starts to feel like his world is stable enough he can spare the time to take care of himself, exercize, see doctors, etc.  he wants to do something about being all bent over, will see a doctor, will ask hopefully for a back brace.  

he wanted me to see a bar he hung in a doorway, wanted to hang from it, would i watch him & comment.  sure.  so he goes over & hangs, shows me what he does.  why did he want to do this?  thought it would be a good idea.  (used to do it, decades, didnt help.  probably didnt do it enough.  do anything enough you begin learning something about how to get something out of it.  did some doctor prescribe?  no.  think it helps?  think so.

explained that first the arms stretch, then the shoulder blades, then the back, he deals with that by lifting his legs.  plans to increase time hanging.  all that's fine, anything is better than nothing.  what has to happen if he wants to stand up straighter is to stand up straighter, all the discomfort & frustration while the new habit gets formed in 2 weeks to, um, years.

then he has a moment of lost balance.  so we talk about blackouts, which is when the blood to the head changes quckly, for instance when stopping doing something.  head swims, vision darkens, happens more as get older.  what to do.  find a stable posture that can be assumed with relative safety until the blood shift is done, few seconds at most usually, called it "a neutral position." a concept seemed to go in, he said he'd think about it.

and mom complained about falling while turning, i showed her how to break down the turning movement into pieces & do the pieces one at a time.  like when she gets where shes going she can stop, figure out which way she wants to go, which foot to move where, etc.  again it seemed to go in: the idea of breaking a movement into pieces.  that would be 2 um, transmissions in a session, as it were.  in the sense of an idea being presented & the presentee allows it to get through the brain-spam filter.  provisionally happy.  see what happens.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

use of sword in yogoid mode

I have been sick with tenacious green mucus upper throat. 2 weeks of un-painful cough, no fever, some malaise.  there was some outbreak of reverted old patterns.  here's hoping that i don't end up as the 9 year old i once was.

missed aikido 2x weeks.

i've been using the sword as a guide to the lines in my AM stretch.  holding it in any position will always give me something to align with.  if i move a part i can watch the sword perhaps not move demonstrating that i did the isolation correctly.

going through the various stretch movements things are done that are absolute nos in martial, like bending the torso over a straight leg.  in martial the leg would always be bent unless taking a breakfall, but in the AM stretch the goal is to produce the stretch burn in the outside of the forward leg, so the positioning is "anti-martial."

then there's that kneel thing that may someday turn into that superyoga position with the head back & a hand touching the over backwards touching the raised toe of the flexed kneeling leg.  i can't do that yet but the girl model in the yoga clothes catalog can.

anyway, use of the sword in yogoid mode.  useful.