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This is your first warning: this weekends photos will be posted late: the seminar with Sato Sensei starts Friday. I'm already super nervous (basically a whole bunch of dojo-cho (black belts who run their own dojos) and/or members of the AWA technical committee (responsible for determining *how* AWA aikido is taught) are descending on the dojo Friday. I fully expect to die. The only reason to live currently is the fried chicken [ profile] secret_hippie's mom is making for me Sunday evening...

Homecoming, 8:37 pm, originally uploaded by toosuto.
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This is the view from outside my dojo before class this evening. Not much else to report. Sato Sensei (the head of the Aikido World Alliance) is coming on Friday and i'm not going to lie to you: i'm a little nervous about it.

Observer, originally uploaded by toosuto.
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Anyone interested in trying out Aikido as my aikido buddy? Come with me (it'll be less scary if you are scared) and try out a class for free if you'd like!
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Pulled this one from my archive of last September. I'm shooting but not a whole lot for me right now which is a little frustrating. I've got a shoot tomorrow (right after class) then lunch with friend Todd (he owes me a Cap'n Juicy Dog) then down to Pullman, then Saturday in Pullman and home by 5ish at the latest. Another shoot on Sunday then hometime with the girl and we get back on the train to crazy town Monday morning...

Aikido was much better tonight, downright joyful as a matter of fact. Not only was my special friend missing but apparently I was not the only one tired of whatever it is he was dishing out and he got on Sensei's bad side yesterday (thus missing today). And his little seniority snit was overheard by the dojo-cho so I guess the keep on keepin' on is what I'm doin'.

But absolute best of all: we get Nevilles on Thursday: Yay!

, originally uploaded by toosuto.
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I've missed a whole week of training now, but on the other hand I've even gotten around to processing photos from the Aikido seminar. The one below is my favorite but there are a couple more in the flickr stream.

Break, originally uploaded by toosuto.
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Got the first good work out at aikido since my test at the end of July (I then had the funeral and then Landry Sensei went to New Jersey leaving us in the technically minded but gentle hands of Masconi Sensei). Actually mostly it was gentle up till yesterday because only beginning students showed up during Landry Sensei's vacation and were all pretty hesitant. Anyway, I hurt a lot today. But I was officially promoted to 7th kyu last night: yay!

Also today is The Clone Wars and my first senior portrait session. I have high hopes for both of them.

Denni, originally uploaded by toosuto.
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I almost passed out right in the middle of my practice belt test. I test in 4 weeks. And it should be fine, I actually have to know less than I did when I test for 6th kyu in Aberdeen (which makes sense since I am testing for 7th kyu) and there isn't even a knowledge section (which I suck at, that is what the internets is for: knowing things). Came home, ate and then inked my first panel of illustration work (which my contract is currently in limbo for, ug) then loaded the trailer, the bikes and everyone into the car in the later afternoon (the hottest part of a hot day) to go for a ride. Only to discover that my hitch is for quick release wheels. A quick trip to REI found friend Josh working who measured my nut and reamed a new hole in my hitch (dirty!) a short drive later and we all took a leisurely 2 mile or so ride: it was nice! Chips and cheesey rice for dinner with corn and fresh brewed peppermint sun tea (it makes my tongue all tingly). We'll probably finish the day with Life On Mars and please American Friends if you are interested in the story of cop who is struck by a car and wakes up in 1974 but can still here the hospital room where he lies in a coma: do not wait for the crappy american version (although it will have Colm Meany) watch the original however you can manage it.

Anyway: Win!

Oh I almost forgot: I made a 30 second spot for the dojo to air at the summer outdoor movie night at the local cheap-o movie house. Apparently it is much loved in the Aikido World Alliance now so I share it here with you:

(pee ess: that is also their new logo courtesy of moi.)
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Training was good tonight, sometimes I felt like I was almost doing it right even. I am starting to worry that either I won't be able to test in July (becuase I am in and out of town for weddings) or that I will be able to test in July but will fail. And I have to admit that as a 7th (8th) kyu student I am a little jealous of my Aberdeen friends whom started training with who were promoted to 2nd kyu last weekend. I keep telling myself it's not about the rank (and it's not) but I do really want to earn my own hakama.

Portland in 3 days!

Also [ profile] mrsbrewer: Your father in law mom's husband does train at my dojo. We figured that out this evening...
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Still hardly unpacked. But better rested. And the tower is set back up.

Irimi Nage, originally uploaded by toosuto.
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Bokken kata: Yay! On the other hand: bokken kata: Ow!
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Lost LOTR again (but for the first time with my own copy of the game) and tomorrow I get to re-starts the training. I am seriously rebooting the aikido skills and just about starting from scratch. Stoopid down time. Oh well: Yay!


8 May 2007 09:55
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Geoff Sensei (the kindly looking man in white) was visiting for testing (which was yesterday) and taught class last night. It was a long lecture on the theory behind aikido punches which are much more natural than the sort of punching one learns in karate or other martial arts (which tend to be pretty telegraphed because you have to snap back to the ready position and then punch). He then proceed to demonstrate various attacks on the senior members of the class and we did some simple dodges and throws. We ended the class with everyone rapping everyone else on the forehead (like you were knocking on the door) in turn. Other than possibly practicing pain absorbtion I'm not exactly what purpose it served. Anywho I have a small lump on my head and a splitting headache this morning.

But that's mitigated by the fact that this photo was at 62/500 in explore this morning, but I feel really braggy mentioning it and kind of crazy for tracking it's explore statistic daily but there it is. /horn tooting

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I may not test for my orange belt on the 6th. Mike Sensei has given me an out since I had a about a month and half less practice on the orange syllabus than others and to be honest I'm just not feeling all that confident. I have most of it in muscle memory, so if I can figure out what I'm supposed to be doing I can but the association between the words and the moves are just not strong in my mind. Especially when I am expected to be able to perform them all solo as either uke (recieving the technique) or nage (defending with the technique). I'll still get promoted before the summer is over but it will be like the yellow belt test: I'll be doing it solo (or maybe with 1 or 2 others) and it will be that much harder. But probably easier if I'm more confident about what I'm doing. I'll decide for sure this Monday at the end of practice but chances are low that I won't back out for now.

originally uploaded by トースト.
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So very tired. Still no sleep for us. Maybe this weekend will change that. Every two weeks I have a second night of aikido and last night it paid off in cool factor. Rather than just (just: ha!) perfecting technique, or developing ki I learned the first five subari for the jo (short staff). So now I can look like an idiot in the garden stepping and thrusting with a three foot pole...

Next week maybe we'll do some iaido (sword work)!

Don't Grow Up, originally uploaded by トースト.
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So within "2-3 weeks" apparently meant "next week." And I did really well actually. I only flubbed one defense and I realized as I did it, stopped and started over. Testing took approximately 40 minutes of beating on me and consisted of:

  • Demonstrate all four wrist exercise and know their names (Sensei started trying to confuse by asking me to demonstrate attacking with nikyo which is a lot like saying "show me a lunge stretch attack").

  • Perform all five basic defenses on the yellow belt syllabus on the left and right hand side. This is where I flubbed mostly because I am still working on associated a quick string of scots accented japanese any one of a number of instructions–I also am fighting the second guessing myself game–thus when Sensei said "Gyaku hanmi mune tsuki irimi kokyu nage." I had a second of panic, and was still trying to figure out which one I was supposed to be doing when my partner attacked and then started the wrong defense.

    I also had harassments in here. The rest of the class was divided into two groups of 5 who would take turns attacking me for 2-4 minutes (at a time per group) and I could do the one defense I was currently testing as they all came at me.

  • Demonstrate "Suwari Waza Ryote Tori Irimi Kokyu Dosa," a seated exercise where your partner grabs both your wrists in front of you while seated. You need to unbalance and topple hip and then pin him.

  • Demonstrate the yellow belt knife disarm.

  • Demonstrate the six hazushi waza (I should look that up I have no idea what it means, ah: "techniques from escaping holds" I'm pretty sure that's not literal though) escapes from a bear hug, head lock, choking, the hand crush, front kick and side kick. I got a harassment on every single one and at the last one people were allowed to use any attack, so before Sensei called a stop to it I was being bear hugged from behind, choked, and had two different people attempting to crush either hand while the fifth guy half heartedly tried to kick me through the crush of people.

  • Perform the yellow belt tai gi in 65 seconds (margin of error +/- 2 seconds). The tai gi includes: sitting and bowing to one's partner, followed by six defenses on the right and left hand side (the last defense ending in a pin), then bowing again.

  • Demonstrate general knowledge of aikido and basic dojo courtesy.

Like I said I did really well, and I even feel really well about how I did on my harassments (I never got over excited and started just splatting people, I was calm and in control the whole time) and the tai gi I performed just once in 66 seconds. Even better: apparently my test was also Sempai Joe's test for his first instructor rank. Since I passed he did too and is now Kyosei-ho and can train/submit people for grading up to 3rd kyu/green belt. Luckily it was a surprise and I didn't have the added pressure.

So now I'm 5th kyu/yellow belt and supposedly on track to test for my orange belt in May when Geoff Sensei arrives from Exeter.
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What the hell people? Yeah, terrorist are testing the Spokane response to terrorism, sure... Y'know I am not looking forward to living in the same country as these people again. *sigh*

In less stupid news I'll be testing for my yellow belt in three weeks at the latest. And by testing for my yellow I mean tossed around like a rag doll until we get it right. Which Mike Sensei is sure will happen by the first monday in March. Yay! And I'll be expected to be ready to test for my orange in May when Geoff Sensei comes up from Exeter to do gradings.
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I think I'm rolling wrong in aikido: my back aches for nearly a week after every practice. On the other hand it looks like I'll be promoted soon (to 4th kyu/yellow belt) so I guess I can't be doing it that wrong. Except for the pain.

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New people at aikido last night including some guy who acts like he knows what he's doing except for the fact that the whole time I worked with him he was unhelpful as the nage (the person attacking) and as ukemi (the person receiving the attack) he'd manhandle me all over the place. I am incredibly sore today. Even on days where Senesi Chinen worked us hard I never ended up feeling broken like I do this morning... Ugh.

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