The Ai-kitchen

An Aikido blog. There could also be food. Maybe.

Autumn Braindump

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This is a brain-dump of things I wanted to write about for a while and some new stuff. In brief paragraphs:

Summer break finished (2 months ago…) and classes are back on. Going well too, an advanced sparring drill (infighting) I thought people would be ready for by next spring, we managed to introduce with great success in September. My students continue to impress me.

Had a seminar with two visiting instructors, Olivier Lefebre from Belgium and Fabian Horn from Germany ( . If you get the chance, practice with them. Both good teachers, and Fabian especially is one of the best technical aikidoka I have have had the pleasure of training with. Plus got to play and do infighting with them. Everybody who was there including myself made good progress, especially on ukemi.

Before that had another public class, this one on Aikido. Turns out it’s harder for me to do in that format than self defense. But still managed and went well, many of the attendees are now regular students. The class is still small, but pushing the limits of what our current room can safely accommodate. Might have to look at some alternatives at this rate.

The public self defense classes gave me an idea for presenting that material in a different way. Fair bit of work forthcoming before that becomes actionable, but could be very useful for some people.

Am currently abroad, back in Scotland attending the yearly seminar at my old dojo. The usual teacher, the ever awesome Anita Bonnivert (82 years old, tiny, and a 6th Dan) is back this year, thankfully. Some students came with me this time to get some exposure to more classical Aikido and larger seminars, which I am very pleased about.

Personally I am again learning a lot, unfortunately for me (or rather my ego) that includes some not so minor flaws in my Aikido that I really need to deal with. It’s useful but deeply frustrating at times. I’ve gotten somewhat used to a different teaching style, some internal adjustment is necessary.

Also had an unfortunate accident. I was trying to train up ukes for my students approaching grading, which was going to include infighting. Based on previous success I did it too quickly, and one of my friends got injured. Not as bad as it could have been but bad enough, and but for luck could have been much worse. I need to be more careful and use more progressions to get to the full drill.

I am also possibly grading, something I have not done in 5 years. Spent the last few months training for it, mostly working on footwork and visualization, now trying to get the final polish at the seminar. Will see how things go on Saturday. Not entirely sure I am ready, have to trust my teachers to make that decision though.

My body is not quite working as it should, the old knee injury is acting up and this year is less restful than before, so recovery from the sessions is not as thorough. Less sleep, and trying to organize a multi-part seminar in January as well as taking care of some other business while here. Many meetings, lots of walking. Great fun though.

I’m seeing old friends, eating good food (in taste if not nutrition) and remembering why I love the fresh air in Scotland. I am writing this in a cafe in Edinburgh. Forgot how much I love the view or this city in general. Rest day from training today, has been 3-4h every day this week. The daily training is tiring but the constant exposure improves technique like few other things can.

Few days to go, then quiet rest day with the fiance, and then off to Minnesota for the violence dynamics seminar ( . I’ve been wanting to go to this particular course for the last few years, and now finally have no exams or work deadlines getting in the way. Looks like it will be fantastic, but I do need to do some expectation management I think. The course is shorter than previous years, and I’ve covered a fair bit of the content at previous seminars, in some cases more than once. Don’t want to get too caught up in anticipation (ok, I still am, but I’ll try not to make unmanly squeaking noises of excitement). Will be interesting to switch gears from a week on intense classical Aikido to a few intense days of SD focused training.

Brain-dump end.

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