Monday, June 19, 2006

Hard Falls

So no sooner did I post the haiku about getting flung, than it happens. Last Friday Mrs. Islander had customers to attend to, so I took off to attend aikido class alone.

I arrived late (something I loathe) and thought that I would just wait out open-hand techniques and participate only in weapons class. Pierce Sensei had other ideas. He called a senior student over to show me the current technique. The attack was a ryotetori (two-hand grab) and the defense was a type of koyu nage or throw. (My ignorance is due to my late arrival.)

I am still gokyu (rank beginner) , so my partner was releasing me into forward rolls. At least she was trying to. Because I had been late arriving, I had not warmed up, I had not seen the technique demonstrated, and I was being a poor uke. If you can imagine someone stepping onto the dance floor and attempting a new step for the first time, bumping into their partner, treading on their partner's feet, that was me.

After a moment, Pierce Sensei came over and asked my partner to sit seiza. We bowed and he signaled for me to attack.

Now, about the only real error you can make in this situation (attacking your sensei) is to make your attack half-hearted or to not follow through with the attack you have begun. I would make neither of these mistakes. I stepped towards Pierce Sensei, grabbed his wrists firmly...and entered the maelstrom. He stepped back with a quarter-turn, grabbed my wrists and swept my arms (and the rest of my body) up and around. I approached the portion of the technique where nage should release my hands to allow me to execute a graceful ukeme forward roll.

Except Pierce Sensei never released my wrists.

With my wrists pinned in his fists, my body sailed up over my hands and I landed streched out, flat on my back in a hard breakfall. No one was more surprised than I. I landed okay, keeping my breath, so stood back up and prepared to attack my sensei again.

Expecting a roll,
Kohai rushes at Sensei.
The mat rushes up.

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