About The Following Blog

The following blog has been written purely for those wanting a first hand knowledge of what it is like to step into the dojo for the first time as a complete beginner as a Martial Artist. Through practising a Martial Art, you will gain many things such as self-confidence, self-respect and life-long and good friends. I hope this helps you to see into an amazing world of which you have never seen before and that I have had the privilege of belonging to and knowing.
Although I have not put my name or any name to this blog, it does deserve a dedication- a dedication to those who help people to train, who teach, reassure and most important of all- those who never give up, no matter how many times they hit the ground or a mental brick wall, with themselves or others. But above all- those who are ready to begin their own journey, it begins with one step….

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Chapter 26: My SanKyu grading.. the hardest (and strangest) grading yet...

Well, I have to say that the grading date for my green belt came around very quickly, too quickly really. As usual for this time of year I had no circulation in my hands or feet until about half way through the grading, it was soooo cold.
The first thing that really threw me was the order in which we did everything. First we were told to backwards breakfall until told to stop. Okay... off I went. Then the same with side breakfalls. That was extremely tiring. It was a little unusual considering we usually line up and pair off to do ukemi. But I wasn't complaining. Keeps you warm if you keep going then if you're stood still in a line waiting.
Then came kneeling techniques. Kneeling? I was expecting the standing techniques! Oh well. I was a little grateful to do these first considering that after 2 hours I would too tried to do a really good job of these.
Next came tanto and ninandorri. This didn't really bother me considering I was really cold and the energetic stuff would get the blood going. Finally, the standing stuff. But by this time, I was really tired so I didn't do as well as I knew I could. But I passed! I'm now a green belt!

Note: Someone has asked me to clarify Ninandorri...So, here goes. I may have spelt it wrong, so apologies for that. Basically Ninandorri is 'Two on One', a teamwork exercise. Three people stand in a triangle, the Tori (Defender) as the point. The idea is that the two Ukes (Attackers), the two other points of the triangle attack Tori at the same time. The best way of tackling this as Tori is to pick which attacker you will defend against first, and execute the technique. But...remember to watch the other Uke coming in. I said that Ninadorri is a team work exercise. It is practised in clubs as such, the principle for the Uke is to help Tori demonstrate the breaking of balance in the technique, helping Tori 'show off' their technique, breakfall and then get back up again as fast as possible. Ninandorri is not just practised at club level, it is also practised at competitions.
Please feel free to ask any questions or comment on anything.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Chapter 25: No Aiki session...queue Adrenline surges!

There's something weird that's happened to me since starting Aiki nearly two years ago and I'm not just talking about the developing muscle tone, increasing awareness or anything like that (although that has happened). I find that if an Aikido session is cancelled, or I can't train one evening, I get really really restless, like I'm a squirrel on caffeine or something.
I noticed it the last time a session had to be cancelled, it was hailing outside and all I wanted to do was to go on a 10 mile run! I mean, I'm the girl that has Raynaud's for pete's sake! I hate the cold! But seriously, I could have done it in that weather...I don't know what's happened to me.
I blame Summer School for these pent up energy 'surges'. Sorry but I do. I mean, for three day straight after Summer School had finished, I woke up at 6:30am and yes, I wanted to go for a run. Seriously weird.
Now, I don't know if any other martial artists have this problem but if I can't go out when a session is cancelled, I generally try and tap into the adrenaline and do some uni work. The last time I managed to work though the function of the Thyroid gland and the Adrenal gland. Not bad for three hours of work really. Okay, I know that's geeky but it works. It stops me going insane anyway.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Chapter 24: Should you train with glasses, contact lenses, or neither if you're short-sighted?

There is one thing that has been at the back of my mind since summer school (well apart from it was really really cool!) is that I'm sure many people who do martial arts need to wear glasses, so do they wear glasses or contacts when training? I saw a couple of people wearing glasses off the mat and wearing them at the end of the session so I've often wondered since then if there is any benefit to not wearing either glasses or contacts when you train.
When I first started aikido, I wore glasses as I couldn't stand the thought of 'poking' my eyes around trying to get contacts in. But I found that when breakfalling or doing tanto work it was not uncommon for my glasses to 'fly' across the dojo. Since I only had the one pair, I opted for contact lenses and found it was slightly easier. However, I sometimes wonder whether I should occasionally not wear either in training, stupid idea perhaps?
Given that I first started Aikido for self-defence, I suppose if (heaven forbid) I was grabbed in the street, the glasses would be the first thing to go, and I'm not sure how I would cope without my glasses seeing as I can't see (no pun intended-honest) anything without them as I'm very badly short-sighted. But I guess another argument is if I've trained well, surely I should have some form of 'awareness' and be able to defend myself. But I don't know. Sometimes I find aiki hard enough work actually being able to see the instructors never mind trying to see them without my glasses. Perhaps I should try it one day...