Archive for the ‘Aikido’ Category

3rd Kyu

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Aikido, Diary

I recently took the aikido 3rd Kyu grading. As before we watched novices up to 4th kyus grading first. Soon it was my grading partner and I who sat in seiza alone on the mat. I was uke first and he did a great job in each of the suwariwaza and tachiwaza techniques.

My turn came and I found I was already tired from the pre-grading course and being hurled around during my stint as uke.

Some of the techniques I was concerned about went quite smoothly, while other, more simple techniques I had done several times went pear shaped.

I was particularly pleased with my chudan tsuki Soto kaitenage. I managed to blend well with my partners attack and managed to maintain my center through the technique.

We also had to perform a set of ushiro waza which again went quite well.

I was quite warm by the end and glad for tge chance to rest up and watch the following 2nd and 1st kyu gradings.

Not everyone was awarded a grade this time, so I was glad when I was called to receive mine.

Looking forward to the next test which should be later this year…


About a week ago I hit a bit of a “wall”.  I got up on Monday morning for my usual pre-work run and felt like I didn’t want to do it.  It wasn’t a mental block,  it was more like my whole body rejected the thought of running.  I did it anyway and struggled through what was usually an easy run.

I felt terrible the rest of the day. Muscles ached,  I couldn’t concentrate and everything seemed like hard work. I had planned a speed work session for Wednesday and could not complete it. Something was wrong.

I think I had been over doing things. Following a half Marathon training programme, taking an Aikido grading,  attending a two-day Aikido course,  more swimming than usual and some extra work related stress had taken its toll.

The half Marathon plan had peaked in terms of mileage at 10 miles. Instead of running this in easy conditions, I decided to run it over a series of hills around an iron age hill fort. This was probably a mistake, although I felt absolutely fine after the run.

On completion of the half Marathon plan,  I was going to start on the next level up. I am toying with the idea of taking part in a local half Marathon in October, having committed to a 10k road race in two weeks time and a 10k adventure race at the end of September.

Instead of launching into a more advanced training programme, I took a week off:

  • increased my food intake – especially carbs
  • did some light exercise (to avoid “exercise withdrawal”): 1 Aikido weapons session, easy swim with the kids, 1 core training session.

I found doing some light exercise is good as it keeps your focus and allows you to move forward in terms of skills and drills rather that excessive heavy, endurance or speed sessions that caused the over training in the first place. Several resources on the net advocated complete rest.

I started running again today with the same 5k I struggled with a week ago. Happy to report that it went well. Lesson to learn on this is that you need to recognise when your goal changes. I have entered a transition period, moving from getting in shape to increasing fitness and performance.

I think my issue is around not consuming the right food to recover properly.  Generally, I majored on protein and not enough carbs. I was extending my training and staying on a reduced consumption diet. I will do some more research in this area…


Posted: July 27, 2013 in Aikido, Diary
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Today I passed the 4th kyu test. After a 3 hour morning session we stopped for a half hour lunch break.  The grading began with a single novice grading to 6th kyu,  then several 6th kyu grades taking the 5th kyu test. Two of us took the 4th kyu.  My grading partner went first.  He did a very good job and I tired quickly playing the role of uke. My turn to be tori (or nage in some styles ) appeared to come quickly. There was a brief respite while a few gaps in the mats were kicked closed, then my exam began.

The first techniques were very straightforward suwariwaza nikkyos. Then we moved to tachiwaza and a couple of techniques I was concerned about went smoothly.  My uke was begining to tire as we moved to the last couple of yokomen attacks. I had not practiced these much and had to repeat yokomen uchi shihonage omote a few times until the panel were happy to move on.  My uke was struggling to his feet and only just managed to make the yokomen attack.  This was good as it gave me time to make omote with a preemptive atemi. To avoid an inadvertent contact, I began to ki-ai to alert uke that I was attacking.  This worked well and it was with some relief that we were asked to return to suwariwaza for kokyu-ho.

Another interesting and positive grading experience. Looking forward to 3rd kyu early next year!

5th kyu Grading

Posted: January 27, 2013 in Aikido, Diary
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Today was the 5th kyu grading.  Mainly due route the weather, it has been difficlt to attend class recently.  I has to arrange childcare to attend the grading today, and I arrived a little late.

We had a course for the first couple of hours,  then tea and biscuits before the grading. The course covered some Jo dori and also some of the more complicated techniques to be performed during during the gradings.

The grading began with several novices taking the 6th kyu grading. They performed well with only a couple of blank looks in response to the examiner’s instructions.

There were three of us taking 5th kyu, so a 4th kyu candidate was asked to make up the numbers. When I got up to bow to the grading panel, I could not recall the name of a single technique on the syllabus. Luckally,  the grading panel has a list and calls out the techniques to be performed. I managed to recall all the techniques and to perform them without significant errors.

I was pretty knackered by the end and quite glad to relax and watch the other gradings.

At the end I was awarded the grade of 5th kyu, and and gained insight into the requirements for 4th.

The 5th kyu grading will be held in January. We don’t usually do syllibus work in regular classes because of the high number of black belts.  Last week we did some techniques required for nidan.

Usually there are some extra sessions put on to do specifc grading preparation. I attended one of these last weekend. This was really good as my grading partner from 6th kyu and I practiced everything on the syllibus.

Many of the techniques are variations on ikkyo – “the first teaching”. This includes suwari waza and tachi waza forms from showmen uchi and katadori menuchi attacks.

We also got to practice uchi kaitenage and udekiminage which are a bit more complicated.

Hopefully there will be oportunity to get a bit more practice in before the grading…

Tenshinage – look one hand!

Posted: December 1, 2012 in Aikido, Diary
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We did some work on Ryotedori tenshinage (heaven and earth throw) today. We started with the conventional form, then did hanmi handachiwaza, including a form where there is no “heaven” hand. The heaven hand is kept low and used to cut the back of the attackers knee.

Back in tachiwaza, we did the same technique with one hand (the earth hand). I was advised to keep the hand at my centre and then imagine picking up a pebble.

Most of the focus was Omote forms and we continued with some jodori using the same methods.

Katadori menuchi iriminage

Posted: November 27, 2012 in Aikido, Diary
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This session we focused on katadori menuchi iriminage.  This attack is where your shoulder (kata) is seized or “taken” (dori)  and the attacker strikes with an uppercut (menuchi) with the other hand.

Iriminage is performed from this attack by either striking with the hand of the seized shoulder and moving around to the inside irimi spot (omote) or the ura form . Ura is acheived by performing a tenkan on the attackers dead side and doing a standard iriminage as from shomen.

I have a couple of katadori  menuchi based techniques on my next grading, although in suwariwaza so it was a good practice. I think that it’s easy to get too fixated on the menuchi attack.  If you ignore it and concentrate on working with the grab the technique is much easier to work out. By performing the atemi for Omote or the tenkan in ura you have neutralized the attackers strike.