September 15th, 2021
Heeeeee’s ba-aacck. Lehrman Sensei is teaching the second Wednesday of every month. This Wednesday, Sept 15 is the eve of Yom Kippur. I will not be at the dojo, but Lehrman Sensei will. As he likes to say, the dojo is his temple.
Make-Up Kyu Tests – Saturday, Sept 18, 2:00 pm.
Halloween Class – Sunday, October 31, 11:00 am. Come to class in a costume. Make sure you can roll in it (My sumo costume from last year was problematic to say the least.)
Veterans’ Day Class – Thursday, November 11, 7:00 pm. Open to all members. We will be honoring the veterans in our dojo at that class. Please come to show your support for those who have served our country.
I am still requesting all members wear a mask when on the mat and in the dressing rooms. A quick note: the filters are off the Doug-a-lators as they are being used to dry the mat from the effects of Hurricane Ida. I am happy to report, for the most part, the roof was tight. We just had leaks everywhere else. Thanks to all who lent a hand during that fun day and a half. BTW, Ida was the name of my mother-in-law. The storm happened on what would have been her birthday. Coincidence? No comment. I am still happily married and going to keep it that way. [Ed. Note: The irony of a hurricane with the same name as my mother on her birthday was not lost on me.]
Why is Push Hands So Difficult
It is supposed to be. After a week away, we did push-hands but only focused on moving our waist/hips, shifting from one foot to the other (not many other options, unless you are a kangaroo) while following your partner. It was incredibly difficult. The question is not where or how, but why! As in, why is this so difficult to do!?
We try, in Aikido, Tai Chi Chuan, and other practices, to focus on our waist/hips because this is the center of our body. It is the point in the middle. When you are there, you can experience the rest of your body. When I am in my hand (like now typing), I have little or no awareness of my feet (let alone my pinky toe, you know the one that went to the market). We tend to focus on our hands (That is why it is called ‘manual labor.’ ‘Manual’ means “relating to or done with the hands.” -Oxford Dictionary). That is why you stub your toe (usually the pinky one, at least for me) getting a drink at night way more than you smash your finger. We are aware of our hands. Our toes are on their own.
When you move from your waist, you focus on your middle and have an equal ability to experience your hands as you do your feet and everything in between. That’s a lot more to experience than if you are only thinking about your hands. Try it. Focus on your hips and slowly shift back and forth. See how you are not aware of your legs and feet? The book will be out eventually, for now I am too busy being in my center to type.
How Big is Your Circle?
I was away this past weekend and when I am away, I traditionally bring a gi and try to stop by a local dojo. But I now have a bad shoulder. Side note: the surgeon told me I have pretty much every problem a shoulder could have and was sorta amazed I was able to move as much as I could (he doesn’t know how stubborn I am) but, I have had this for a long time and respond very well to therapy, he told me to do that and no surgery. I start PT next week.
I wanted to test my shoulder this week to see if I was up to visiting a dojo. So, we did moroteatori. Best way to test a shoulder. I worked with everyone who was practicing and said ‘hold as hard as you can.’ Right arm, piece of cake. Danny was able to stop me on my left arm and it hurt so I just drank and danced at lot at the wedding and avoided Aikido. We were half a block from the beach. Not so difficult.
Back to morotetori. We turned our waist and made a circle with our arm. A small circle did nikyo. A bigger circle did ikkyo or iriminage. A very big circle did kaitennage. And then we finished with koshi, well, because I like to finish class with koshi. It was all determined by how big you moved your waist and thusly (I love that word) how big a circle your arm made. The technique was just an extension of that.
All in all, this week’s classes were a waist (I know. Sorry.). Move it and everything else follows. I will let you know when the Waistful book comes out.
“A black belt is nothing more than a belt that goes around your waist.”
- Moihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido