Sunday, March 23, 2008


Yesterday was a special day at the dojo. My son, Sam, returned to practice after a long hiatus.

Sam's 15. He started aikido with me in 2006 and was a very quick study. Toshi, a former deshi, took him under his wing and he blossomed quickly. All was going well until about a year ago, when, as will happen, Sam discovered girls. The time he was taking off turned from days to weeks to months. I didn't want to make too big a deal about it. I knew he would come back.

We partnered in Yamada-sensei's class. It started off with sensei's trademark technique. I have no idea what to call it. A kind of kokyu, I guess. From katatetori, nage leads uke's arm so that the hand winds up behind uke's head, arching uke backward. This time, sensei did something different, however, and the throw ended with nage putting his head down, like a bow. Honestly, I didn't really get that part, but leading up to the throw was pretty standard.

We did lots of techniques from katatetori, including koshinage. We did the version I can actually do to some degree, moving in perpendicular. It was particularly easy to do this with a smaller partner, so I was pretty set. Sam did OK for someone who's been out for a year.

We also did yonkyo, which is not one of my strong points, but it is slowly getting better. A few times I had it, as I could tell from the funny noises Sam was making. At one point, sensei walked by and laughed at them, too. Sam got me good a few times.

At the end of class, sensei joked with us about yonkyo. "If it hurts, you are normal. If it doesn't, then something's wrong."

Sensei also said that, contrary to prior postings, the dojo will be open on Easter Sunday. I was happy to hear that and I think I can make class. :) I had posted before about my pet peeve of so many dojo closings, but I never imagined Easter would be one to change. Do you think sensei is reading this blog?


AikiAddict said...

Guess I'm not normal, according to Yamada Sensei. That's fine with me, though! One of my teachers always says, "Why would you want to be normal? Normal is Walmart." I'm one of the yonkyo-spot immune, which makes class very interesting sometimes... The trickiest thing was taking ukemi from Shibata Sensei for yonkyo. Yeah, I just took ukemi anyway...

AikiPenguin said...

We knew you were not normal. ;)

Actually, the technique should work without the pain anyway. Just like sankyo. Where else is your elbow/shoulder going to go? The pain is extra.

Of course, I rely on it still, but someday, it should not really be the main thing that makes the technique work, I think.

I would hope and imagine Shibata-sensei could control you even if you had a prosthetic arm. In theory, anyway.

AikiAddict said...

Oh yes, of course he could. But not knowing I was a freak, he wasn't really trying, LOL. My sensei has absolutely no trouble getting me down with yonkyo, spot or no. I am forever telling people not to worry about the spot, that they can't rely on it and need to get me through my shoulder, not a tiny spot on my wrist (that doesn't exist, anyway). I don't look for it as nage, and it is a little annoying when uke, while on the ground, is telling me I missed the spot, LOL. ;)

AikiPenguin said...

Hey Karen, when your doctor hits your knee with that little rubber hammer, does your leg go up?

Michael said...

That kid's got more potential than you might think. I wish I'd started so young! I've got another wing for him to crawl under if he needs one but he can't stop! He needs to spend some more time here!

AikiPenguin said...

Hey Mike,

I know he's very talented. As you say, he needs to keep coming.

I think he is back on a more even keel these days, so I expect him to be regular again, which I'm very happy about.

It's a family affair at the dojo with the Furnaris again! :)