Day 13 – starting hajime geiko

This post originally appeared on my AikiWeb blog…

It’s coming on fast now. Today we started hajime geiko. I don’t know they have this in other styles of aikido, so I’ll describe it here:

Shite and uke stand in kamae with a pre-determined waza. When sensei calls “hajime,” shite starts performing the waza over and over as fast as possible. As soon as one shite-uke partners are back in kamae, sensei calls “hajime” to do the technique again. Over and over until sensei calls “yame.” If you are one of the slower shite-uke partnerships, you start to get behind.

As you can imagine, it is very tiring for both shite and uke. I don’t know how long sessions of hajime geiko normally go on, but they seemed to go on for minutes today, doing shihonage over and over. At first, I was trying to do the waza correclty with good form. But as Takenaga-san and I began to fall behind, I had to pick up the pace and to hell with the technique.

This was actually quite frightening. Takenaga-san is very short and petite, so I have a lot of trouble performing shihonage on her. When I take her balance, if my form is off at all, she gets thrown around like a rag doll. I watched her go down the floor today with a grimace on her face over and over, but she never gave up. And thankfully I didn’t injure her, either.

I have been doing shihonage since January, but yesterday and today are the first times I have ever felt that it might be injurious. I can now see why there are Aikiweb members who won’t teach it except to advanced students. However, this is Yoshinkan and it is first in the syllabus, so we do it as newbies.

Hajime geiko is the first time I have had reservations about any of our training. Not because it is dangerous per se, but because it causes you to fall back on all your bad habits. The number of times I did shihonage today with correct form must have been on a fraction of the times I did it in hajime geiko, when my form was crap. After class today, I asked Carter-sensei what we are supposed to get out of hajime geiko, and I don’t know if there is a point beyond spirit training. Carter-sensei asked me to be aware of what bad habits, exactly, I have during hajime geiko so that I can work on them on regular waza practice. That makes sense, I guess. It is making the best of a wishy-washy situation.

Since we continued with jiyu waza this morning and then did hajime geiko in the second session, I was pretty well wiped at lunchtime. After eating I fell asleep for 20 minutes. Last night I forgot to go shopping so I was stuck with only avocado today. Avocado and a liter of Pocari Sweat. The Pocari Sweat tasted delicious today.

Keiko session 1 – jiyu waza in three-minute intervals. I took uke from Crampton-sensei today for the first time. After training with Carter and Nick, he gives a real whalop. His techniques are solid and hard. After jiyu waza, we did continuous koho ukemi for 100 repetitions and then continues forward ukemi for 50 repetitions. I guess we are working up to 1000-koho-ukemi-day slowly.

Keiko session 2 – kihon dosa practice, shihonage ichi waza, shihonage ichi hajime geiko.

Keiko session 3 – kihon dosa practice, shihonage ni waza, shihonage ni hajime geiko.