Day 19 – 1000 sit-ups & nikajo

This post originally appeared on my AikiWeb blog…

Probably I should be excited about a really good nikajo class today, including some adjustments that have me almost doing the ukemi properly.

But what I am really excited about is doing 1050+ sit-ups. Yes, 1050+ sit-ups.

In first keiko, which is our conditioning class, Carter-sensei asked us to get into sit-up position. This is how we usually start our conditioning routine. Each person counts to 10, and we do 1 or 2 rounds of an exercise. There are 3 kenshusei, plus sensei, plus sewanin Nick, so usually five people, or 50-100 repetitions of an exercise.

Today, after 2 rounds, sensei just said “Chris…” and I started counting again. We just kept going and going, each counting out 10 sit-ups… ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, shichi, hachi, kyu, jyu… over and over, 105 times.

They were very bad form, with the knees bent about 90 degrees, the heels in the floor, and the arms wherever they were most comfortable. But we did them continuously without stopping for almost 50 minutes.

The first 200 were the hardest. After 200, we got into a rhythm, and the cadence helped with several hundred. Then around 600 they were difficult again because of getting tired, but by 800 you could see the end in sight so they got easy again. I was the first person in the circle and Carter-sensei the last. When we reached 1000, I asked if we could do just one more round, to beat last year’s kenshusei class. So we did 1050, plus there were some extra repetitions in there from intentional miscounting.

They were surprisingly much easier than I thought 1000 sit-up-day would prove to be. In part, I think the koho ukemi we practice are harder for the abs than sit-ups, so we’ve adapted somewhat. But also, we kept a good mental attitude through the whole 50 minutes. Takenaga-san had the hardest time, so we counted with her, gave her many “osu!”s, etc. Nick mixed it up with doing cheerleading in place of counting; viz,
Gimme a G…G!
Gimme an A…A!
Gimme an M…M!
Gimme a B…B!
Gimme an A…A!
Gimme a T…T!
Gimme a T…T!
Gimme an E…E!
Whaddas that spell?…Gambatte!

Carter-sensei maintained the best sit-up form throughout the routine, and I noticed there was blood seeping through the back of his dogi in the second and third keiko sessions.

I wish I could transmit to you the feeling of doing this. After several hundred sit-ups, when you realize you have to keep going a long time, your body just sort of relaxes and goes on autopilot. Although we were straining, we were also joking and laughing. Around 700, when you’re thinking, “I’m doing it! I’m going to reach 1000!” you start getting giddy. Or at least I did. It was a feeling that stayed with me the whole day.

As I said, in second and third keiko sessions today, we broke down nikajo osae ni and made some real imrovements, but 1000 sit-ups!