I am a measure of area

During ukemi practice on Monday, comments were made on how much of the mat I use to fall. At 6'5", I use quite a bit. Discussion ensued and it was determined that a mat needs to be long enough for me to do 3 forward rolls and wide enough to do 2 forward rolls. That square footage, whatever it is, was designated a zrubek.

A mat needs to be 1 zrubek in area plus 1/2 a zrubek in area surrounding the main mat for a "splash zone".


Monday Night at the Dojo 8/28

Attendees: Randy, John, Keith, Stacia, and Sheila.

Ukemi: Need to extend my legs on the rolls to slow me down some.

The Walk: ok.

Releases: With Keith. I'm late on a number of releases.

Techniques: With Keith. I worked on my Hiki-taoshi. Working on the footwork. We worked on his Kote-gaeshi. Up to the final throw, most of the time. I did end up taking two big falls right-sided and maybe one on the left. One of the ones on the right side was good. The other one was a little bone-jarring. I remember hearing my jaw slam shut. Apparently, I tried to extend out of the hold instead of turning in to it, causing a bit of a twist in the roll.

Watched a preliminary assessment of Stacia's and Sheila's progress. They're getting close to their hours for green belt. They did pretty well. Better with Keith as uke than with each other as uke.

Aftermath: Not too bad considering the falls. Took ibuprofen as a cautionary measure.

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Ammo cans

It's interesting how much I enjoy painting ammo cans to be used as caches in geocaching.

I picked up a bunch of ammo cans on Friday. 6 of them, I think. 3 small, 2 slightly larger and 1 fairly big one. I painted them Saturday morning and Sunday evening.

1. Spray them all flat black to cover up the bright yellow lettering
2. Grab some leaves, pine needles, etc. for use in painting
3. Use the khaki, forest green, and dark brown spray paints to paint shadows of the leaves onto the cans
4. Spray paint the geocaching information onto the can so folks know its a geocache.

I think I'll try to post some pictures of them up here at some point.

Fun stuff. Creative use of natural materials.


A friend of the family called up over the weekend and offered up some football tickets. This friend is an Old Ag and has decent tickets. Kim took the call and offered to pay the cost of the tickets, but she was told "No". Apparently, the friend wants to chat and catch up on family happenings so he's treating us to the game. And including a parking pass with the tickets. Coool!

So, we'll be at the Aggies' first game of the season. Thankfully, it's a 6 p.m. start. 2 p.m. starts at this time of year are uuuuuuuuuugly hot.

The downside to a 6 p.m. start is that it ends around 10 p.m. We then have to drive 2 1/2 hours home (probably longer, since it'll be football traffic). We'll get home no earlier than 1 a.m.

Gig 'em Aggies!

Saturday at the Dojo 8/26

Attendees: Mike, Carla, Tim, Randy, Robert, Kim, and Jeff and Dan from Killeen. Mike was down to do a seminar on Ni Kata and we had the day free, so we decided to attend.

Ukemi: No warm-up ukemi

The Walk: Not done

We worked through all of the techniques, but I've forgotten most of what we covered. I know I've forgotten the stuff we did early in the day. We worked on getting out of: two-handed grabs from behind, one hand and collar grab from behind, knife strikes from in front and a bunch of others. Around 17 techniques in all, I think.

Kim did remarkably well. Took some back falls and threw me as well.

Aftermath: None, really.

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Thursday Night at the Dojo 8/24

Attendees: Keith, Oliver and Kim. Keith and Oliver worked together, so I worked with Kim.

Ukemi: Me trying to figure out what other folks are doing wrong with ukemi is a scary thought.

The Walk: Ran through it a couple of times.

Releases: Spent the entire evening on them. I think we made some progress, but I really don't feel comfortable teaching new folks. Tweaking I can, sort of, do. Figuring out what to correct first for new folks is tough.

We tired out early because we hadn't had dinner before we got to the mat.

Aftermath: Overall ache, probably from the shomen-ates on Wednesday.

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Ju Nana Hon Kata

Posting this for my future reference.

Atemi waza (striking techniques):

1. Shomen-ate ::: straight frontal head strike
2. Aigamae-ate ::: regular facing posture strike
3. Gyakugamea-ate ::: reverse posture strike
4. Gedan-ate ::: low strike
5. Ushiro-ate ::: behind (from the rear) strike

Hiji waza (elbow techniques):

6. Oshi-taoshi ::: knock or push down
7. Ude-gaeshi ::: arm turn
8. Hiki-taoshi ::: pull and push down
9. Ude-hineri ::: arm twist
10. Waki-gatame ::: side of the chest arm lock

Tekubi waza (wrist techniques):

11. Kote-hineri ::: wrist twist
12. Kote-gaeshi ::: wrist turn
13. Tenkai-kote-hineri ::: circular (spinning) wrist twist
14. Shiho-nage ::: four corner (all directions) throw

Uke waza (floating techniques):

15. Mae-otoshi ::: forward drop
16. Sumi-otoshi ::: rear corner drop
17. Hiki-otoshi ::: pull and drop

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Wednesday Night at the Dojo 8/23

Attendees: Tim, Keith, Stanley, Oliver and Sheila.

Ukemi: Not bad. Got a fair amount of time to work on it.

Did a first pass at knee-walking. Talk about the knees complaining. Wow. A nice amount of burn from the knee joints. Left big toe wasn't terribly happy either.

Releases: Worked with Keith. Spent some time on 5-8, working on timing, pacing and getting under my arm.

Techniques: Worked with Keith on Ude-hineri, trying to get the footwork corrected. Improvement, but still more to go. Then uke'd for Keith on Shomen-ate. Spent 20-30 minutes on it. We bowed out to end class and I continued to uke for Oliver, Stanley and Keith on Shomen-ate and Aigamae-ate.

Aftermath: Not much after class. Felt a little like I'd been run over by a freight train when I got up this morning. Back muscle seems to be getting better. Sternum, where I get stuck for Shomen-ate by shorter folks is a little achey.

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Volleyball, again

This week we won 0 out of 3 against "Passing Out", the second place team. Once again, we had a different cast of players. We played decently.

The games were close. Well, the first one wasn't. We had a chance to win the other two, though.

We're in next-to-last place. Mathematically, we are eliminated from playoff contention. We're off next week and then we have one more match.

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Monday Night at the Dojo 8/22

Attendees: Randy, Keith, Stanley, Oliver, and Sheila.

Ukemi: No problems noted.

The Walk: ok.

Releases: With Stanley. Not much of note, for once.

Techniques: With Keith/Stanley/Oliver. Round-robin type. Worked on #5 and #8. Uke'd for other ones that Randy assigned to tori.

We did a couple of interesting group exercises.

1) Tori stand in the middle of the mat, eyes closed. One of the rest of us comes up to him, grabs either the shoulder, the collar or the wrist. Tori's task is to make a shomen-ate strike, very gently, on uke without opening his eyes. I didn't do very well.

2) Tori stand in the middle of the mat, eyes closed. One of the rest of us comes up to his back with evil intent. Tori's job is to get out of the way of uke just in time to avoid the attack. Almost everyone was able to avoid my attacks. Whether because I came upon them with VERY evil intent, or my weight caused the mat to sink under them more, I don't know.

Aftermath: Still protecting to sore on the left hand. Also a sore muscle in the middle of my back, left side (spinalis dorsi?).

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Thursday Night at the Dojo 8/17

Attendees: Keith, Oliver, Sheila and Kim. Keith was running the newly rejuvenated Judo program, so I was running aikido.

Ukemi: Me trying to figure out what other folks are doing wrong with ukemi is a scary thought.

The Walk: Ran through it a couple of times.

Releases: Kim and Sheila worked together. Oliver eventually came over from the Judo side of the mat and worked with Kim on releases while I worked with Sheila.

Techniques: Oliver worked with Kim while I worked with Sheila. We worked on 1, 2 and 5. The height difference is big enough that I did not think I would be a efficient teaching partner for Sheila on 3 and 4. I don't know if Oliver went beyond Shomen-ate with Kim or not.

Aftermath: One muscle in the back is aching, probably from working the convention last weekend. Left foot is slowly getting better.

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A Hawkish Encounter

As Kim and I were getting ready to leave the house last night, Kim
spotted one of our local Red-shoulder hawks sitting on our chain link
fence. I rushed to a window in time to see the hawk fly from his perch
to land at the edge of our garden about 15 feet from us.

He looked around in the g/a/r/d/e/n/ weed patch for a minute or so and
then flew off. It appeared he was unsuccessful in his hunt for food.

It sure was neat seeing the eyes of a hawk pop up between random gaps in the weeds. I had no time to get the camera, unfortunately.

I think it was probably a youngster from this year's crop as his head
feathers were not a uniform as an adult's usually are.

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Wednesday Night at the Dojo 8/16

Attendees: Tim, John, Keith, Stanley, Oliver, Stacia and Sheila.

Ukemi: Not bad. Comments from Stanley about twisting.

Releases: Worked with Stanley.

Techniques: Round robin with Keith and Stanley on 6-9. Not pleased that I haven't corrected the footwork for 8 and 9.

Aftermath: Muscle in the left middle back is giving me a little grief. Perhaps from the big fall on Monday? Bandaged up the left hand to protect the injury caused by pegboards at Armadillocon.

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Volleyball slump

This week we won 0 out of 3 against "Cogito Ergo Boom", a team that had one only 3 games prior to our match. Once again, we had a different cast of players. We played decently. We won 8 straight points on my serve in the second game.

The games were close, but we should have won them all. We're having Robert set all of the time and I think that's a problem. In our co-ed league, the ladies have to hit it once if we hit it more than once before we send it over. Having a guy set it means there's a 50/50 chance of him being able to set to a guy. If a lady is setting, there's a 100% chance that she can set it to a guy.

We're in next-to-last place. Mathematically, I think would could possibly make the playoffs if we win the rest of our games.

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States visited

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Countries visited

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US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Australia

Monday Night at the Dojo 8/14 Big fall

Attendees: Randy, John, Keith, Oliver, Sheila and Stacia.

Ukemi: Pretty good considering I'd been thinking about Art Show all weekend.

The Walk: ok.

Releases: With John. Did some more tweaking, as usual.

Techniques: With John. Did some work on #11 ( new one for me ) Kote Hineri. It's the same as Oshi Taoshi, only different. :) The main difference is the addition of a wrist bend of uke's hand. Also did some work on Oshi Taoshi as a result.

I uke'd for Keith on some of his stuff, mainly Kote Gaeshi. This is usually a big fall , but since I haven't done big falls Keith was going to have me do roll-outs instead. We worked a lot on him getting me off-balance. Lots of tweaking going on. Then he got it just right. And forgot to let me roll out. So I took my first big fall. A nice, solid, relatively pain-free big fall. We stopped at that point in case it happened again.

Aftermath: Skin burn on my left hand from moving pegboard over the weekend caused a few issues during the session. I hope it's healed to the pain-free stage by Wednesday.

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Armadillocon Day 5

Going home.

First task of the day was to get packed up. It looked like I had all of the Art Show and all of my own stuff in my hotel room. And I did.

I need to get all of the packages of mail-in art to the various shippers before getting on the road to Houston. I had to visit USPS, UPS and FedEx to complete that task. It actually did not take that long to accomplish. Maybe an hour or so.

I was on the road home by 11 am and made it home a little before 2 pm. I grabbed the heat-sensitive items out of the truck and then collapsed into bed for a couple of hours of shut-eye.

I needed to be ready for aikido later that evening.

We totaled about $3400 in total sales in the Art Show for the weekend. That's down a little bit from past years, but the convention had reduced attendance because we're hosting WFC later this year and a number of folks could not hit both conventions. Also, our Artist GOH had to cancel at the last minute so we lost the sales we would have made from her art.

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Armadillocon Day 4

Checkout and Tear down.

Sunday morning was when everyone came to pay for and pick up their purchases. A busy couple of hours dealing with the public.

We started tearing down the show at around 2, after all of the artists had picked up their unsold works and Laura had packed up the stuff for the mailin artists.

We managed to get the steel and pegboard taken down, packed up and stowed away in the storage unit by 5:15. That enabled us to get back to the hotel in time to caravan to the County Line for a BBQ dinner. Good stuff.

Got back to the hotel and it was time to reconcile the books. They balanced on the first try!

To celebrate, I went up to the dead dog party and had a few beers. I got to talk some more with Julie Czerneda and kibbitzed a little with Willie Siros before turning into a pumpkin.

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Armadillocon Day 3

More time at the Art Show.

Also during the day was the Charity Auction. Laura D. was willing to be my proxy for the auction since one of us had to stay in the Art Show. I wanted the three books that Julie Czerneda had donated for the auction. "Survival", "Migration" and "Regeneration". The copy of "Regeneration" included two alternate endings. I gave her what seemed like appropriate budgets for the books. I won the first two in the series, but did not win the third. I did win a "Tuckerization" in an Elizabeth Moon novel, though. Laura dashed out during the auction and grabbed me when said item came up for auction. She satyed in the show while I went in and won the bidding.

When the auction was over, the bidder who won the third book came up to me and offered to sell it to me for $40 more than he paid. If I'd been quick on my feet I'd've agreed to the offer, if he donated the extra to the charity. Instead I just declined.

Shortly thereafter we closed the Art Show in order to prep for the Art Auction. We actually had one this year and had 10 items in it. The last minute bidding before the auction was quite lively. The bidding in the auction was lively as well. Once piece started at $15 and made it up to $66 before it was sold.

Some checkout of items occurred after the auction, but traffic died down and I was able to close the show at 9:30 instead of staying open until 10:00.

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Armadillocon Day 2

Time to turn steel and pegboard into an Art Show.

I got into the Art Show around 9:30am and started working on laying out the art and arranging it on the peg board. Grant Kruger (Fan Guest of Honor) was kind enough to help me in this task. I was done, mostly, by the time I was due to open the show. Laura Domitz helped with final tweaking and layout of 3-D art and with displaying a piece rightside up that I'd hung upside down.

Shut down the show at 6 for some dinner at Fuddrucker's and opened it back up at 8. I re-opened so that folks could come in while the liquor was flowing during "Meet the Pros" and bid on the art.

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Armadillocon Day 1

Day 1: pre-con

Up at 5am for final packing and departure. Out of the house a little after 6am. I make it to the turnoff that leads to Taylor and finally decide that the kolaches in Taylor are worth the 34 mile detour. When I get there they still have poppyseed kolaches available. w00t!

Back on the road again into Austin. Whip out the GPS and spot a geocache I want to find. Spend the next 1.5 hours or so searching for caches. I find most of the ones I look for, but not all of them.

Next stop: Aikido of Austin at 5501 N. Lamar. I sat and watched their mid-day practice. They are quite a bit different from my dojo. They have a mat about double, or more, of the size of ours but it looks a lot less pleasant to fall on. They all practice the same technique at the same time. One tori and everyone else ukes for said tori. No warm-up ukemi. Nice folks.

Next: drive down to Driftwood to have lunch at Salt Lick BBQ. Mainly for their legendary beef ribs. It took me a while to find them and it ended up not being worth the effort. The brisket was dry and they only offer beef ribs on Sundays. Bummer. The potato salad was good. The BBQ sauce was ok, honey-based instead of tomato-based. I video-taped the drive back to Austin and hope to get it uploaded soon.

Back to the convention hotel, check in and go chill in the lobby. Chatting with Julia, Renee and Elizabeth for a spell. Julie Czerneda came walking in and I was introduced to her. Such a sweet lady. Shortly thereafter we headed off to Los Portales for dinner, then back to the hotel to assemble the Art Show. We finished that around 11 pm and I collapsed into bed shortly thereafter.

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Art Show struggles

I'm running the Art Show at Armadillocon this coming weekend.

Unfortunately, the Artist Guest of Honor is having health issues and will not be able to attend. I don't think she's had an opportunity to send in her art, either. I've also set aside space for an artist who has reserved space for the past three years but not sent in her art during that time span. I don't expect she'll send in her art this year, either.

That'll be 9 panels of empty space that I have to fill if it all works out as I expect it to.


At least the art that is in the show will be good.

Volleyball humiliation

This week we won 0 out of 3 against "Way Out", the team that was in last place. Once again, we had a different cast of players. It is my opinion that it takes 3 weeks of playing with the same group to play up to your potential. We haven't had the same cast for 2 consecutive weeks.

The games were close, but we should have won them all.

There's the chance we may not be in last place when the standings are updated.

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Monday Night at the Dojo 8/7

Attendees: Randy, Keith, and Stanley.

Ukemi: Not bad. Some adjustments to hand position. I need to come out sometime and just do ukemi.

The Walk: Once with eyes open, once with eyes closed.

Releases: With Randy. He thought I was doing well. I really prefer the free form approach to releases that he and I have been doing. Makes my mind quickly figure out which release is next.

Techniques: We had a round robin for techniques. One of Robert, Keith or I would be Tori and the other 2. We did this for 1-3. We did a little work with an elbow throw and then moved on to "Uke Surprise". This is what I'm calling the scenario where tori is told the technique to attempt but uke does not know what is coming.

What was I told to try? Oshi Taoshi #6, Hiki Taoshi #8, Waki Gatame #10, Gyakugamea-ate #3, Ushiro-ate #5.

I did the eye flash wrong on #8 and I failed horribly on my first Oshi Taoshi. Other than that, I think I did fairly well.

Aftermath: None. Hoping to watch another dojo's practice when I go to Austin this weekend.

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Spider Bite(s)?

At least that's what I think I've got. I'm not certain what type,
though, cause I never felt it and it doesn't hurt. There are two little
puncture spots maybe less than 1/8" apart.

I've been watching it because there is some bruising about 1" diameter
around the spot.

Another guy who takes aikido with me got spider bit on Monday and his
bite rapidly expanded and changed colors. He went to either a doctor or
the emergency room where they gave him some sort of pill that seemed to
have an immediate beneficial effect, perhaps steroids.

My theory is we both got bitten by a brown recluse, but it will likely
remain a mystery.


Thursday Night at the Dojo 8/3

Attendees: Oliver and a friend thinking about joining us. Eek! I was Sempai and led most of the evening. Sensei Ray did chime in a little bit. I took Wednesday off to rest the right shoulder.

Ukemi: Did a little, collapsing the arm according to Sensei.

My task was to introduce Oliver's friend (I'll call her OF since I didn't catch/remember her name) to aikido. We did the usual backfall warm-up, but skipped forward rolls.

The Walk: Ran through it a couple of times, having OF just follow the foot movements.

Releases: Oliver and I worked with OF on 1, 2, 3 and 5. She did pretty well for her first night.

Techniques: Oliver and I worked with OF on Shmoen-ate. Again, she did well.

Aftermath: Right shoulder a little twinged still. A very light evening. I hope OF decides to join our merry little band of aikidokas. Another person to be thrown by is all good.

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This week we won 0 out of 3 against the Fandango, the team that usually wins the league. I was warmed up, due to aikido, and a little tired, but not as tired as last week.

We played well, just not well enough to win.

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Tuesday Night at the Dojo 8/1

Attendees: Ray, Keith, and Robert.

Ukemi: Showed up early and spent some time working on it. Pinged my right shoulder on pop-up rolls. Supposedly I'm twisting and tending to collapse. Sigh.

The Walk: No walk.

Releases: No releases.

Techniques: Worked with everyone on #8 Hiki Taoshi and #9 Ude Hineri. With Sensei Raymond out on the mat for the first time in a long time (His doctor has cleared him to get on the mat in an official capacity), we discovered a tweak in Hiki Taoshi that makes uke fall a lot quicker (1 step as opposed to 3 or 4).

The change:

We've been doing the technique as a 3 part technique: Off-balance, turn, eye-flash/step back/pressure down.

Raymond suggested the following for a 4 step technique: off-balance, turn, eye flash/pull back appropriate foot, apply pressure to elbow/pressure down.

The adjustment of the foot that corresponds to the eye-flashing hand is an amazingly effective change. It gets that knee out of uke's way and forces uke to rebound a little bit more intensely from the eye-flash. That makes the off-balance achieved when the hand hits the elbow and the opposite foot drops back devastating. Tori makes that step and uke drops. It was that drastic of a change in result.

Since Ude Hineri has the same entry, the change works just as well for it.

Aftermath: Had to leave early to get to a volleyball match. Right shoulder slightly pinged. I don't know if I'll go to the dojo tonight (Wednesday) or give it a night off.

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Monday Night at the Dojo 7/31

Attendees: Randy, John, Keith, Robert and Stacia.

Ukemi: Pretty sweet. My first 3 right side rolls were attempts to pop up and they worked. I tweaked my right shoulder blade doing it, so it wasn't perfect. But it happened. Tried doing some cross-legged rolls and was not nearly as successful. Got some suggestions from John.

The Walk: ok.

Releases: With Randy. With a 3 step approach I was working well. Maybe I'll try that with Oliver. We did some variations on the releases, working on my off-balances, whiel they other folks were finishing up their releases.

Techniques: We had a 3 or 4 person round robin for techniques. One of Robert, Keith or I would be Tori and the other 2 and sometimes Randy would uke.

Oshi Taoshi, technique #6
Ude Gaeshi, technique #7
Ude Hineri, technique #8
Hiki Taoshi, technique #9 (I have this listed as #8 in an earlier post. Oops.)
Waki Gatame, technique #10

All of these at three-step distance. Went fairly well. My #8 and #9, since they're so closely related, need a lot of work. I'm letting uke back on balance after the entry and using muscle to generate the fall.

I uke'd for Mae-Otoshi to give them a tall person to deal with and it was a bit of a struggle for both Keith and Robert. Sensei came in to give them tips.

Aftermath: Slight twinge on the shoulder, nothing major.

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Saturday at the Dojo 7/29

Attendees: Tim, Randy, John, Keith, Martin, Robert, Oliver and Jeff and Gail from Killeen.

Jeff and Gail run a dojo in Killeen. They are joining the ATAA to be able to get some higher level instruction. Jeff is a newly minted Shodan and Sensei for the dojo in the Killeen/Fort Hood area.

He and Gail are going to come down one weekend a month and two folks from our dojo will go up there one weekend a month.

So we had a big turnout to make certain Jeff had a number of folks to work with.

Ukemi: Not bad. Nothing of note that I can remember.

Walk: Three times through.

Releases: Worked with Oliver. Better than Thursday.

Techniques: Worked with Keith on 6-10. Then worked with Oliver on my 6-10 (minus #9 as I did not want to be causing the rollout of a white belt, even if his ukemi is better than mine). Then uke'd for Oliver on 1-5.

Sensei'd called out for pizza, so we broke, in a ragged fashion, for lunch and then got back on the mat.

I did more uke for Oliver. Just before we shut down the session around 2pm, I uke'd some for Keith on one of his big 10. As usual, my height requires adjustment of the usual off-balances.

Aftermath: Not much

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