HOLA! COMO ESTAS?

Hi Rose and Shelley, thanks for the comments last week :) It’s nice to be back, I’ve been keeping an eye on my dash but have just been too busy to contribute much really. Hope you are both ok!  Aikido last night was a really good class. My friend Keith taught the first hour of the class and did some weapons work and then I taught the last hour. The students had been asking me for some time about ukemi (how to receive a technique) and so I’d been wanting to put some serious time into explaining it. I did some exercises which involved them rolling out of a technique that they would normally just take a side break fall out of (essentially falling down onto your back) and then we managed to build it up until they were flipping out of the techniques (an aerial forward roll finished by slapping the mat with the arm) which generally speaking is the most complex (and intimidating) form of ukemi to take. I was very impressed with how well they took to it, particularly when falling from a technique like shihonage (a throw that requires a flip over one’s own shoulder to escape from, so roughly at least 5 foot of air time). They’ve all been training roughly 6-8 months with a few breaks in-between for holidays and if they can keep this level of intensity up then next year we should be able to start doing a lot more advanced training and just training harder generally. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and gave me some positive feed back, which was nice. I was particularly impressed with Anna, who is sometimes a little hesitant but last night she managed some excellent ukemi and I used her to demonstrate how to take a judo style hip throw, which she managed no problem. It’s a real shame she’s going back to Finland this week now that her exchange year in Durham is over. That’s the problem with a university class, people rarely stick around longer than 2 or 3 years. Though on the plus side you get a large volume of people each year and you get to meet people from all over the world and different walks of life which makes the class very interesting sometimes. Sam also has really crept up in skill level without me noticing, which says a lot about my attentiveness I guess (though I’m partially guessing this wasn’t helped by the fact that he hasn’t been to class regularly for a while). He’s got very strong technique and I threw a variation on iriminage (an entering throw where you control them by the head down to the ground and project them over your hips at the same time) on him that he hadn’t seen before and he took it no problem. One to watch there I reckon. Jasper was also very good as usual, he continues to train hard and have a positive, friendly and conscientious attitude which is exactly what you want in a training partner, he managed the shihonage break falls with aplomb.  We threw each other with hip throws for a bit and I’d love to see more judo from him, he’s a first kyu and though he says that he didn’t do any competition at his club and is generally quite self-deprecating about his skills I think that his technique is really good. Was a bit of a shame that two or three of the other regulars weren’t there as I would have liked everyone to hopefully benefit from that session as ukemi is such a fundamental part of training but I’m sure we’ll get a chance to repeat the lesson soon. 

The majority of the students go home for the summer holidays next weekend and Julie and Tobias are away in Europe next year, I’m really going to miss them all over the next few months…

Rumours Of My Death…

…So erm, yeah. Hi everyone, hope you’re all OK? Nia, Shelley, Rose, Jax?

I haven’t really been motivated to blog much since the wifi finally got installed a couple of weeks ago; things have been manic with the flat and work. I just nearly got made redundant (again, this is like the 5th time in 3 years) and am currently re-training in a much worse role so that’s been kinda keeping me busy as well. I am lucky to still have a job though and be able to pay the bills, that’s the main thing!

 I haven’t had much to say recently either, in the most part I guess because asides from the work thing everything else has been really great and I think when I’m happy I just tend to enjoy it and when I’m not then I get all introspective and analytical about it. As an aside, things are so much more awesome than this time last year, which is pretty much when I started Tumblr’ing properly. I’m trying to keep some self-analysis on going though, continually trying to look at my character and refine and try my best to be the man I want to be, not get complacent.

Anyways, after a couple of years of semi-hiatus and indifference I have fallen back in love with Aikido again and thrown myself headfirst back into training. I went through a few years after I got my shodan where all my peers and friends had gotten injured and then quit, I was also busy trying to establish a career in a busy, high-pressured law firm and I was living with someone and trying to run a home and maintain that relationship. I fell out of training and when I went back there was generally no one of a similar skill level for me to train with or to challenge me, so it got very limiting. I went back to it last September on a casual basis but this year I got to new the new students and I’m really happy to say that they are the best bunch we have had for a long time. They show up regularly, train enthusiastically and conscientiously, are lovely people and they socialise too. They’ve inspired me and accepted me as one of their peers and I’m really proud to call them my kohai (juniors) and my friends. In Japan there’s a hierachial system of Kohai/Sempai, the sempai is basically a sort of ‘big brother’ figure, which although I’m also an instructor is how I  really feel and how I’m most comfortable being referred to. When my friend Tim comes back from Afghanistan (I worry about him so much every day) we’re going to go for our 2nd Dans together.

After they announced the redundancies at work I got to thinking about what I wanted to do with my life and the possibility of going to be an uchi-deshi (live in student) at a dojo somewhere was something that I got to thinking heavily about. I found one in Colorado ran by an amazing guy called Gaku Homma who is also a great humanitarian (I know virtually nothing about his technique but every time I read an article of interview of his I am impressed by his attitude and compassion towards everyone and everything) who does a lot of charity work and makes his students help out. I’d also love to train with Christian Tissier in Paris, he has the most amazing and dynamic movement I’ve ever seen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mJSHEyyKZg&feature=related

Then there’s also Robert Mustard, Chida and Takeno of the Yoshinkan. There’s a weekend long course with Robert Mustard down in Nottingham in October and I’m thinking about seeing if we can get a mini-bus and taking the students down there as a sort of field trip. He’s awesome:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QHG0Esuntk

Sorry to gush about something as specific and uncommon as aikido that I’m sure most people have no or little knowledge/experience of but it’s been a long time (4 years to be precise) since it’s been this big a part of my life. For comparison purposes, here’s a clip of my friend Steve and I doing a demo for Cancer Research UK a few weeks ago (I’m the guy in the blue trousers doing the throwing). Long way to go before I’ll be as good as the guys above but it’s always nice to have something to aim for:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eixsxevvwgk

I kind of bastardise my aikido with a lot of Jujitsu and Judo and though I practise Aikikai (tradional style) I also like to try and use a lot of Yoshinkan (a harder style) movements and throws (like the leg sweep) so this is probably not representative of the art as a whole.

Moving on, the flat is going well. We got an awesome coffee table and my bed came, it’s really nice to have a proper bedroom again and a comfy mattress. We’re going to go get our dining room table and bookshelves and sort a fireplace out this weekend hopefully and then we’ll be pretty much done asides from getting some artwork etc up on the walls.

Neil and I went to see Neal and Jon a couple of weeks ago and it was an amazing gig. I’d really missed them since 2008 as I’d kinda gotten used to seeing the Cardinals every year. Neal was lovely and chatted to us in a very laid back way and Jon was so funny, he really cracked me up. Neil always had some sort of irrational dislike of Jon because of the way he dresses or something but after the first couple of jokes he turned to me and said ‘I was wrong, I love him.’ During the support act Jon came out of a side room and the door accidentally clanged shut behind him and he scampered off making a sort of ‘oops!’ face. It was pure physical comedy. The set-list was great too and they both played together amazingly. I’d only seen Jon play guitar once on Rescue Blues in 2007 but he is an amazing lead guitarist and his back up vocals were perfect. I think I would have won any sock war though as he had black and grey stripes on whereas I had gone for odd blue stripes, one sock light blues, the other sock dark blues. Punk rock baby. I got a few pictures but it was so intimate (crowd of maybe 80?) that I didn’t want to take too many and spoil it for people (I don’t use flash anyways but still…). It would have been nice to hear some Cardinals stuff but I can understand why they wouldn’t play any these days…I didn’t stick around to talk to them even though I wanted to, I get weirded out by talking to people in bands etc. I’d hate to hassle anyone. I once talked to Converge when they got off stage but only very briefly and they were lovely guys. Photos to come soon.

Love and hugs and weekend good times,

N x

whitedrugs
Howdy, I get the internet tomorrow. Go me. But for now I am exhausted (walked like 23 miles and been to 3 Jujitsu/Aikido classes this week). Tonight I am going to see The Bronx, I think it’s been about 2 years since I saw a hardcore/punk band (plenty of metal since then though) so I’m real excited. Am also totally dying for a beer. Not really dying, but in bad need of. It’s going to be interesting seeing what their alter-ego band ‘Mariachi El Bronxo’ are like live. I forgot my camera, for which I am kicking myself. I don’t think this post makes sense, time to get drunk. I have The Walking Dead compendium comic and some new clothes arriving tomorrow, should make for a good lounge day hang whilst the Virgin people hook us up to the 21st Century. I intend to break out my new Macbook and play around with Garageband too, whether any of this happens though…Hope y’all are well. And shit. Speak soon x

whitedrugs

Howdy, I get the internet tomorrow. Go me. But for now I am exhausted (walked like 23 miles and been to 3 Jujitsu/Aikido classes this week). Tonight I am going to see The Bronx, I think it’s been about 2 years since I saw a hardcore/punk band (plenty of metal since then though) so I’m real excited. Am also totally dying for a beer. Not really dying, but in bad need of. It’s going to be interesting seeing what their alter-ego band ‘Mariachi El Bronxo’ are like live. I forgot my camera, for which I am kicking myself. I don’t think this post makes sense, time to get drunk. I have The Walking Dead compendium comic and some new clothes arriving tomorrow, should make for a good lounge day hang whilst the Virgin people hook us up to the 21st Century. I intend to break out my new Macbook and play around with Garageband too, whether any of this happens though…Hope y’all are well. And shit. Speak soon x

Freaked!

seeshelly72:

Yuck! I was eating  a bowl of cereal, enjoying it, and i felt something crunchy in my mouth. I though,”hmmm, must be a bit of wheat or something.” Then I looked & it was a FREAKING LADY BUG! YUCK< WTF!! I told you guys we have a problem with them in this house but I’ve NEVER seen them in my food. I did a few big dry heaves. I could puke, really. Do you think this will make me sick or trip out or something? I’m going for a walk, I’m grossed out, I can still feel it on my tongue. Blah.

 Eurgh, that’s horrible. I don’t think you’ll get sick, hopefully anways…

Shopping

I love food shopping; I just got the rest of the ingredients for tonight’s Risotto and some big bottles of San Pellegrino. I had to get white wine for the recipe and it seemed pointless buying a little bottle so I picked up a really nice bottle of Pinot Grigio/Garganega blend. I’m not a big white wine drinker but this one is my favourite, it’s one of M & S’ own. Check it out. Or not. I dunno if I’ll actually have a glass of it, I might just leave it for Neil and Abigail, I’m thoughtful like that… I dashed into HMV and found a copy of ‘The Seven Samurai’ which is one of my all-time favourite movies. I used to have it on VHS but I never got around to re-buying my Kurosawa collection on DVD. Amazing film, beautifully shot in black and white. It was re-made as ‘The Magnificent Seven’  and Kurosawa was a huge influence on George Lucas/Star Wars FYI. Also, my awesome friend Ian has just dropped me a copy of ‘Acoustics’ by Minus The Bear on my desk (courtesy of the also awesome Siobhan, thanks!) which I’ve wanted for a long time. Quiet Friday night in on my own = sorted.

giftwrapped:

Hee…the husband thinks I’m mad to be so hung up on a gay man.  :)  I expect the set list to be the same but don’t expect me to remember too much of what he plays.  Really excited though - work is hard this morning.

 He’s a cutie. Sorry to hear that, at least it’s Friday though. I’m coasting through my morning. Going to go food/clothes horse/dvd shopping at lunchtime though :)

Proper Fucked

I am, as the title states, very tired. It’s been a Hell of a long week. After the gig Monday and Jitsu Tuesday I then finally finished painting my room on Wednesday night. I’m so glad to have finally gotten rid of every last trace of the hideous fuckin’ purple/lilac that was in there. I’ve also had a bit of a reverse on the ‘Morrocan theme’ after thinking about the type of bed I’m getting and stuff. I think I’ll keep it kinda classy, period English/French style now; walnut furniture, nice paintings (got my eye on some John Singer Sargents, prints obviously) and I’m going to lighten it up a bit by having like cream curtains and bedding. Last night I got my haircut, which I was in dire need of; I always want to grow it really long but then I reach this kind of impasse where I just look like a scruff, rather than intentionally scruffy so I’ve had it chopped back to a sort of ruffled Beatles type cut I guess. Apparently I look like Mark Ronson when it’s like this, maybe that’s just the skinny grey suit and ES 335 I have though. I also went to the library to kill some time and rented a few CDs: Last Night - Moby, a Tift Merrit one I forget the name of, Ys - Joanna Newsom and The Life Pursuit by Belle And Sebastian. They’re all ones I’ve wanted to hear for a while but never got round to buying. Thank God for public spending. I went for a drink with Neil and Tony Blair last night (yes, we have a friend called Tony Blair) and it was a laugh but I ended up staying out far too late on a work night and it again re-iterated my feelings that I am too old to go clubbing and that it is basically rubbish. I feel like I’m just going through the motions. Neil has a date tonight so I’m going to go home and chill out, cook a nice risotto, maybe work on some songs (the fear that I’ll forget how to play them before I get them recorded is huge right now) and I feel like watching some Akira Kurosawa movies. I’m going to detox for a while too, picking myself up some nice mineral water, tea and maybe some M & Ms for a weekend treat. I’ve got an early start for Jiujitsu at 10am tomorrow…

Hope everyone is good and well and again, I’m sorry I’m not responding to stuff much. The internet is coming to the flat next Friday, so it will be business as usual from then! x