Andy's birthday

by sarah hair Email

Since my back was hurt and I was not training today, why did I show up at the dojo?

Well, it was this guy's birthday. This is Andy. He is only throwing Bret, but it looks like he is a real bad ass who just threw Helen too and she was so smashed that she has still not recovered from that fall even though he is well into a technique with Bret already. Live it up Andy. I hear we may all get older eventually.

It was also Gerry's birthday. I have some pictures of her too, but only got through editing about 10 or so from today before I was just too distracted with something shiny. Probably jewelry.

I posted several photos on the florida aikikai page on facebook.

4th kyu test techniques

by sarah hair Email

Today's class we split into a "boys'" and a "girls'" group and went through a set of 4th kyu test techniques in each group.

In my group, I had one instructor and two other black belt ladies to walk me through each technique, polishing everything except bowing, which appears to be OK.

John had just one other man to walk him through his test, through the instructor spent a lot of time with his group helping with pointers and evening it out so I was not the only person with all the black belt ladies' assistance.

From the USAF web site:

4th Kyu
Shomenuchi Nikkyo
Yokomenuchi Shihonage
Tsuki Iriminage
Ushiro Tekubitori Sankyo
Ushiro Ryokatatori Kotegaeshi
Suwari waza Shomenuchi Ikkyo
Suwari waza Katatori Nikkyo
Suwari waza Katatori Sankyo

So, breaking it down. Shomenuchi Nikkyo... I need to remember to watch my pin. The openings are meh, OK. The technique is alright. The pin, for some reason, I drop the technique. More of a problem on ura for some reason. Maybe I get dizzy from the tenkan.

Yokomenuchi Shihonage... Ura is a problem for me. I finally got to where if I just do the irimi tenkan fast enough people stop yelling at me to "tenkan from the back foot" which is still a mystery to me. Perhaps I will never know. I did find out today that we are doing a pin with that technique. Something I have never done before, but it it more complicated feeling for the ukemi than for the technique, so not really a problem. I will have to write myself a reminder note though.

Tsuki iriminage... The idea of this "technique" is to show a bunch of variations with different openings but still end up doing iriminage. Well, the thing is, all of those techniques are different things and some have other names that are not really iriminage. I get overwhelmed and forget which one I am doing. Also, I really want to know what they really are instead of just calling everything iriminage. I have searched online a bit but turned up nothing to help me label things properly.

Ushiro Tekubetori Sankyo... This one scared me at first, since I had hardly ever even seen it before this past week. I think I am pretty comfortable with it as of today. I have to remember to do the irimi tenkan after bringing uke to their knees. I sometimes seem to just want to do a tenkan and get them down where they are instead of spreading them over the mat.

Ushiro Ryokatatori Kotegaeshi... Just like other kotegaeshi. THis was the first technique I ever learned. As long as I remember to spread them out and do the tenshin while applying the kotegaeshi, I should be alright. Doing the ura means an extra spin around and something of an elbow atemi or a nudge to the uke's backside, which I usually try to skip and just put them down. I will have to practice this more until I can remember.

The rest are suariwaza techniques which I am skipping for the time being until I can get time to practice them standing up. My knee hurts too much to be on the knees too much, and my doctor had expressed concern about me dislodging the huge calcium chink lodgen in the front of my knee. That would be bad.

giggling in aikido

by sarah hair Email

Well, you might think that there is no giggling in aikido. There is.

Today's class had me downright giddy. Our class time began with a little chatter between sensei and one of our black belt ladies. They were talking about how their hair was frustrating them in different ways, when another black belt (with no hair) gave a little "a-hem" and interrupted their banter. It set the tone for the rest of my morning, just being so silly.

We did several techniques from a shomenuchi attack. Sensei was showing us how to do nikkyo, irimi nage, kaiten nage, and a couple of variations on each.

I think the shomen attack is one of the hardest for me. I always mess up the angles and find myself after class with bruises on my forearm. I look at them all week and think to myself, "If I were doing it right, they would not be there." I think I am taking it too head-on and not getting out of the way fast enough, but when I am doing it, I feel like I am really pushing myself to the outer edge of my space. Yokomen and tsuki attacks do not present this issue for me.

I had to bow off the mat right before we were finished with class, as my back began acting up again. The kaiten ukemi is a little too much for me to take just yet, as I have to hold myself being bent over in just enough of a compromised position that I need enough balance to get back up should the opportunity arise. This is where my back just HATES to be. Up or down it is OK, but in the middle, notsomuch.

I hate stepping off the mat before bowing out with the rest of class, but fortunately our morning classes are rather small and tightly knit between personalities and everyone understands my physical limitations. Still, I like to say that I finished. I did complete four mornings in a row this week with only the fourth class having to be cut short and that one only by the last technique of the day.

Tomorrow morning I am planning to go to yoga to stretch out my newly cleansed body. That is correct, my fast is officially being broken tomorrow! Tomorrow is still part of my cleanse, but the 5 days of no food at all are finally over and I will spend tomorrow morning with a bowl of grits and a fresh pear.

yokomenuchi shihonage ura

by sarah hair Email

So we ran into this little issue in morning class today. When doing shihonage ura from a yokomen attack, the opening is an irimi. It is the kind of irimi that does not have a crossover of the feet, just a shuffle in. There is a block with the front hand and an atemi to the face with the back hand. From there, there seems to be two very distinctly differing schools of thought on what to do next.

I have been told and shown both ways, by different people, but I am in no way an expert, so just trying to figure out what is going on.

Way number 1. Tenkan. My sensei says tenkan. I can see how it could be a tenkan. The swinging of the back foot around means that you have uke and can execute the shihonage in one step even ending the technique and delivering the throw from that position without having to readjust position.

Way number 2. pivot, shuffle forward, tenshin. This is what most people seem to look like they are doing. It gives the extra opportunity to move uke farther in the original direction of travel for a more pronounced opening. Only drawback is that it requires more angle adjustment after the shihonage and before the throw for some people I have watched.

I can see a pretty distinct difference in both ways, but I think for my brain to wrap around the technique, the irimi tenkan makes more sense to me. The motion is more fluid and swift and it lends itself to the throw more quickly without the added adjustment shuffling of feet about the mat.

This is what is fun with aikido. EVerything can be broken into smaller bites and analyzed to make sense as individual parts or even the whole.

Shihonage is still one of my favorites. It can just sneak up on you and be right there.

I found this... it is pretty clear with the irimi tenkan

testing in aikido

by sarah hair Email

So, there has been this joke about John and me testing before we go traveling on the boat (for some reason, when ever I type traveling, I always add an extra "l" even though I never do this when writing the word on paper... hmmm). Maybe it is not a joke, and Sensei really wants us to test though... just in case we are going through the motions and pretending to learn aikido.

We are pretty much "whatever" about testing in general, since it does not make my aikido any better (or maybe it does??) and no one knows what rank I am anyway. I train with some people who are 3rd kyu that seem to have better aikido than some others I have seen who are 3rd dan. The rank seems pretty much unimportant to me anyway.

Well, the good part about testing is that everyone wants to help me look good on the test. After class, before class, during class, everyone is excited to show me their way of doing a technique. Sometimes this is really important, since a lot of techniques on the test are rarely done in class unless someone is testing on it soon. This makes a lot of information more available to me if I am indeed testing or if we at least think I am testing.

Today We went to class in the morning and they did a whole class on stuff for my test (should I need to take it). It was a lot of fun, and I got some in-depth knowledge on sankyo as well as iriminage both of which I don't think I will ever understand.

Somehow sankyo has always alluded me. I have only been on the mat a handful of times when it has been practiced even. When I have tried it, it is just so confusing to me as to where I am going, why I want to walk backward or, if I don't want to walk backwards how to move my body so as to make that direction not be backwards anymore.

John is working on the boat and I have about a million pieces of jewelry to make, but maybe he and I can practice a little this evening.

fasting away the toxins and what to eat next

by sarah hair Email

This morning marks my 3rd day of juice fasting and 6th day of cleansing. At least I am not hungry. More than anything I just want the toxins out of my body more than ever now. I am taking 8 oz of carrot, apple, beet, or combination juice from my juicer every 3 hours five times a day along with herbal supplements to remove the toxins.

I felt really hungry the first three days while I was easing into the fast by taking half-portions, then half of half portions, and the third day eating half a piece of potato bread with three tomato slices and some arugula. HUNGRY! I almost turned back, but I was able to get through it. A big help is that John is doing it with me, so we can hang out together and just be supportive.

Both of us have noticed an extreme change in attitude in ourselves and each other. We are very positive, happy, laughing, downright giddy most of the time.

We have planned out our breaking of the fast day and how to work up to eating food again so we can go to a friend's party on Saturday and partake in the feeding frenzy (though, probably not entirely).

On Friday, when we are no longer fasting, for breakfast we have not decided, probably just eat some fruit and some cream of wheat or oatmeal. For lunch though, we are going to get a burrito. Just beans, rice, tortilla, grilled onions and peppers. Add a lot of salsa and it is what we have been having fantasies about all week. For dinner we are going to drop the kids off at the gym and go on a date to get some sushi. There is a great sushi place that we like on Las Olas, but it is spendy and the portions are small. This will be the perfect time to indulge in a very small roll, since that is all we can eat anyway.

My rats like chocolates and flowers

by sarah hair Email

And, they love flowers when they are filled with chocolates! Thanks Auntie Cheryl!! We played and played and played with your glorious wrapper!

My pretty, pretty, boys. They walked onto the set of my photo shoot today when I was trying to get some work done. I thought the flashing would scare them, but it took a while to coax them out of the tent. Until then, I just ran with it and shot them as they destroyed my area. They were so adorable though, it was difficult for me to just kick them out.

So, this is Tokyo and Sendai. They have been living with us for about two weeks. They are a lot of fun, though they get into trouble frequently if we are not monitoring them very closely. They spend as little time as possible in the cage, though they are boys and they really like their bachelor pad. We like to hold them and cuddle them and carry them around and play with them, and we are bigger, so we win. Mostly.

I like this picture. I just think they are so pretty.

Sendai is ready for his close-up

by sarah hair Email

My boys.

Sendai in the front comes out to check out the camera. He is the rowdy one. Always getting into things, ready to eat any time, the first to find a new hiding spot. He also has a sensitive side, probably the area down under, but he does not expose it too often.

When the boys arrived at our house from the wildlife rescue, Sendai was the first one out of the cage, ready to meet us and check out his new digs. Tokyo, notsomuch...

I understand that their flavor of rat is called "hooded rat" because of the dark markings on their heads. Sendai also has a gorgeous stripe down his back.

Sunflower Seeds are delicious

by sarah hair Email

Sunflower seeds are so delicious! Except for the skins, which we throw about everywhere.

Sendai and Tokyo are still teaching us what rats like to eat best. So far their favorite foods are sunflower seeds, by far.

They also like grapes, but just the insides. Tokyo makes a small incision in the top of the grape, then scrapes out the inside, leaving the peel intact in a perfect little cup. Sendai takes big bites form the outside, chews the whole thing up, then spits the peel part all over the floor, his bed, my pocket, wherever he happens to be while chewing.

All-in-all, I think we are doing alright in finding their favorites. They like cucumber seeds, but not the fruit or peels. They do not like tomatoes, unless they have ketchup on them. In fact, they will eat anything with sugar. They surely have a sweet tooth and have gained a lot of weight... I might have to put them on a diet!

Speaking of diets, John and I are at day 3 of our pre-fasting diet and will begin our juice fasting tomorrow. We will be very grumpy by the looks of it, but after 7 more days, we should have very healthy colons and intestines. Yay! I have to admit, I hate feeling so bad in the guts. After the fast, I will probably eat better too, since even today the thought of junk food was really disgusting, even though I was on a 1/4 portion diet all day. I was really hungry, but only wanted fresh raw foods. I ended up having a slice of potato bread with cucumber, tomato, arugula, and sprouts on top for dinner, but could only eat 1/2 of it before I felt too full. I saved the other half and ate it as a late night snack, since tomorrow I will get NOTHING I just felt like I should stock up.

OMG knock first! Wait, it is not what you think!

by sarah hair Email

Wait a minute! It's not what you think!

So, seriously, it is not what you think!

I was just taking pictures of jewelry for my store, and the boys barged in to the shoot. They were just hanging around together when one thing led to another...

my adorable rat brothers

by sarah hair Email

both brothers together... Tokyo and Sendai

These are the boys we adopted from the humane society wildlife rescue. They were abandoned in December, when only a few days old. Luckily, it was warm in December here in FLorida, so they were alive and OK when the wildlife rescuers arrived to find them in the drop box in the morning.

They are hooded rats, brown and white. Tokyo has a spot on his back and Sendai has a stripe. They are getting to be well socialized and we rarely have them in the cage, though they love the little bachelor pad we put together for them.

The kind people at the humane society neutered them for us for no charge, so we gave them a donation. They will be free from testicular cancer and can even hang out with the ladies, should we ever meet any and have time for them to undergo quarantine, etc. Biggest bonus to neutering is that they don't any longer need to pee on everything. Hopefully that will kick in pretty soon. They are doing really well with their potty training, but still "dribble" sometimes.


by sarah hair Email

You may now photograph my impressive profile.


by sarah hair Email

Are you looking at me? Tokyo again, so cute.


by sarah hair Email

Tokyo likes jewelry, especially the photographing of jewelry. What a good helper he is!

Three Blind Mice, errr, Rats

by sarah hair Email

We adopted two adorable little rats this week. They are living in the living room, next to our make-shift temporary bed. They are not yet used to us, so very cautiously creep out of their cage to take treats from our hands. THey also run around the floor for a minute or two before dashing back into the cage. THey behave as if they are worried that we will not go back into our big cage on the other side of their walls when they are finished playing with us.

They are a riot though. We can get them to go in our pockets and just hang out there. Sometimes they will just curl up and sleep, other times they hang their little whiskers and noses out to check out the scenery. Either way, they are warm and soft so cute and lovable.

We have spent several days singing "Three Blind Mice" and wondering why the Farmer's Wife cut off their tails - and if it was justified. Did the blind mice bum-rush her all at once? What was she doing when they ran after her? Did she know they were blind?

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