Volleyball, 1-2

I don't know what happened here. We played the 3rd place team in the league and just did not execute well. We had 5 players, the 3 usual guys and a couple of ladies that we drafted to play.

It didn't feel like we got stomped, we were always in the games, but the games weren't very close.

We're still in first by a little bit. We need to win out in two weeks, really, to end up in first. We play the second place team in one of the matches, and that will determine our seedings for the tournament. We've got next week off because of the 4th of July.

Wednesday Night at the Dojo 6/27

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim, John, Raj, and Oliver.

Ukemi: Spent some time on the roll-up drill.


Oliver and I ran through my demonstration twice. I was a puddle of sweat by the end of the evening.

I think it went fairly well.

Little tweaks on a number of techniques. They're in the memory bank, I just have to recall them during the actual demonstration.

Aftermath: None of note

3 days until the demonstration.


George Kesseler, 1914-2007

I don't remember when I met George. It was probably during my courtship of my wife. George was, essentially, a grandfather to her. He built the house that she was raised in, shortly before she was born. And he loved her as if she was his very own daughter.

He was a man with his mind made up. Things were to be done his way, or they were to be redone. In building houses it served him well, they have stood the test of time with very few problems through many storms.

He loved his gardens. Fig trees, grapefruit and sage palms in addition to the everpresent vegetable garden were constantly being tended to. While he was able, he did the work himself. When he wasn't, he hired help to make sure the plants flourished.

Some things I learned about him through the obituary that was published in the Houston Chronicle today.

He was a member of the Houston City Council in the 50's and mayor of Clear Lake Shores in the 80's. He was a founding director of the United Way in Houston and of the YMCA in Houston as well.

In WWII, he was a tank commander under Gen. Patton. He fought in the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded 3 Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and the French Medal of Honor. He was discharged as a captain at the end of the war.

I knew him as a friend who found ways to work around the results of knee surgery performed by the VA system, and as someone whom my wife loved dearly.

I know him now as a hero of this country in times of war and in times of peace.

As of this writing, my wife does not know he has passed away. I must wait to tell her when she gets home tonight from work. This is news she can not receive alone.

Rest in Peace, George.


Monday Night at the Dojo 6/25

Aikidokas: John, Oliver, and Kim(!).

Ukemi: Spent some time on a drill John suggested to help me on rolling up. Sensei Raymond wants me to work on it


Oliver and I ran through my demonstration 3 times. That means: 3 walks, 3 sets of releases and 3 sets of the 14 techniques. I was a puddle of sweat by the end of the evening.

I think it went fairly well.

Ude-hineri was a little rough on the footwork.

It felt like a couple of the Kote-gaeshis were gifts.

My very last Shiho-nage seemed a little ragged.

Aftermath: My upper back, right side, is quite tight this morning. I'm not sure why. The previously injured part of the back is doing fine.

5 days until the demonstration.

Weekend update

Driving. Lots of driving.

Up to New Corn Hill bright and early Saturday morning for the family reunion.

A good time was had at the reunion eating and chatting with the cousins. One part of the family was notable in their absence, but they often don't show at these events.

Turns out the gumbo I made for the event was a little too spicy. Must remember to tone it down a bit next time.

Back home from New Corn Hill via a different route. Gently rolling farmland throughout central Texas.

8 hours driving so far.

Then I drove up to the north side of Houston to drop by Apollocon. Hung around there for a couple of hours, chatting with friends. Drove home.

Total driving time for the day? Around 10 hours.

Sunday found me unconscious for most of the day. Dinner at Joe's Bar-B-Q in Alvin. Yummmmm.


Friday Night at the Dojo 6/22

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim, John and Raj.


More work on getting ready for my demonstration.

I ran through the 14 techniques twice. Once with John as uke and once with Raj as uke. Either Raj is a far less forgiving uke, or his size (smaller than John) delta threw me off, or I wasn't doing as well the second time around.

Gedan-ate was worked on over, and over, and over.

Overall, it's going well.

Aftermath: None of note.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 6/20

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim.

Ukemi: Took all rolls. Took big falls!!

The Walk: as usual, just one rep.

Releases: Worked with Tim. Issues on 5 and 7.


More work on getting ready for my demonstration. We ran through them all once on each side. There were several that I was having issues with, mainly because of a poor first off-balance. This time I was not taking uke where I needed to. I was taking him where I needed to if he was 7'2" and 350 lbs.

Aftermath: It looks like I'll be demonstrating in about 10 days. Tim wants me to come up on Friday to get more time in. I'm going to be at a family reunion on Saturday and he wants me to make up the time, if I can.

Back's feeling ok.

Volleyball, 3-0

Defeated the last place team in a close match, given our respective records. 21-9, 21-13, 15-13. We were down 13-11 in the last game, but I managed to serve it out.

Our record in the league is still just a little wrong, but we're in first place still. I think it would translate to being up by 1.5 games. The second place team has played 3 more games than we have and has 3 more losses than we do.

Two more weeks and then playoffs.


Weekend update

Saturday: up at too blasted early (4am) to head off to College Station for a judo tournament. Kim and I went to a training session and then sat as technical officials for the two tournaments they held there. I think we got home around 7pm and were greeted by the dogs and Kim's parents. They'd come in town to look after the dogs and for Father's Day.

Sunday: up at a decent hour to go shopping for the FD grill-out. Made blueberry muffins, bread for dinner, grilled out salmon and beer brats. Everyone else also went out shopping for items for the apartment while I chilled.

A good, and very tiring, weekend.

Monday Night at the Dojo 6/19

Aikidokas: Sensei Randy, John, and Robert.

Ukemi: Big falls! Lightly tagged my cranium on the first one, but no aftereffects.

Releases: Worked with John.


More indication that I'm going to be demonstrating at the seminar in 10 days.

I ran through 1-14 twice. Once with John as uke, once with Robert as uke. I also ran through 1-11 as uke for Robert, as he'll be demonstrating at the seminar, I think. I didn't want to take the big falls outside of warmup yet.

Issues, as expected, with most of them at some point. The core issue is getting too far off-line on the entry. If I can correct that, at least with Robert, things should improve.

I had a couple of mistakes as uke, trying to keep techniques straight and the proper reactions.

Aftermath: None really. My left leg's tingling a little bit. I'm not sure of that's related to the back problem or what. I'll probably get a Dr. appt and aks. I think it's been a couple of years since I've gone in. Time for some minimal blood work at least.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 6/13

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim.

Ukemi: Took all rolls. No big falls.

The Walk: as usual. Tim pointed out some big steps that need to be reduced to increase my stability.

Releases: Worked with Tim. Issues on 5 and 7.


I think Tim's getting anxious for me to demonstrate. He was willing to uke for all 1-14 (except kote-gaeshi). We ran through them all once on each side. There were several that I was having issues with, mainly because of a poor first off-balance.

We also discussed some demonstration etiquette: don't get back to starting position until uke arrives at his starting position.

The problem techniques, from my perspective: left-sided gedanate (it just didn't feel right), both sides oshi-taoshi (retreating for first off-balance instead of advancing), left-side waki-gatame (need to drive through uke), both sides kote-hineri (retreating for first off-balance instead of advancing), and right side kote-gaeshi (we did this up to gake, I failed to continue the off-balance at the second off-balance point).

I get the impression I may be demonstrating at the seminar at the end of the month.

Aftermath: We escaped from the dojo a little early. There was lots of lightning in the area and we wanted to get home before the storm hit.


Saturday morning photos

Originally uploaded by madmoravian
Gail and Jeff

Saturday morning photos

Originally uploaded by madmoravian
John and Jeff

Saturday morning photos

Originally uploaded by madmoravian
Gail and Jeff

Saturday morning photos

Originally uploaded by madmoravian
Jeff and John


Monday Night at the Dojo 6/11

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim, and Oliver.

Ukemi: Forward rolls!! Yahoo! No severe pain. No big falls. Maybe Wednesday or next Monday.

The Walk: as usual.

Releases: Worked with Oliver.

We also did some work on "blind-folded" releases. Tori closes his eyes and reacts as uke attacks. Tori takes the release, adds the other hand and attempts to come up with a technique out of that.

Techniques: with Oliver

10. Waki-gatame ::: Did ok.

11. Kote-hineri ::: Need to look up more at the end of the technique, not down at uke

13. Tenkai-kote-hineri ::: probably the weakest of the 4 of the evening because I wasn't getting a first off-balance

14. Shiho-nage ::: Went ok. I'm starting to really like this technique.

Knife randori: We spent a bit of time on this. We did the four stages of knife randori: avoid; avoid and touch; avoid, touch and extend; avoid, touch, extend and technique.

Uke attacks and tori attempts to redirect the attack into a different technique. Randy watched to make sure we worked on both sides and inside and outside uke's arm. It was an interesting exercise.

Aftermath: Back was sore, but not too bad. I should be able to get back into a carefree routine soon.

At the movies

What Dreams May Come: 3

I picked up a button for this movie at a Science Fiction convention many years ago. I've wanted to see it ever since. It's a Robin Williams dramatic/sf piece and I enjoy seeing Robin in his less comedic efforts (loved "One Hour Photo").

They did a nice setup of the film while the credit rolled. They covered about 14 years in a couple of minutes.

The rest of the film takes place, pretty much, in the afterlife.

I enjoyed the film and thought the climax was quite appropriate. The denouement seemed a little heavy-handed and could have been better handle. Not sure how, though.

At the movies

Matrix Revolutions: 3

Bizarre movie, as usual. I'm glad to have finished off the trilogy, but I'm not sure I would have watched it without having watched the three previous.

Weekend update

Let's see what happened this weekend.

Gaming on Friday night. My cleric is near death in the midst of a battle.

Saturday morning at the dojo, filming Jeff and Gail. Lunch afterwards at China Wok. Home and start processing the tape from the filming.

Sunday starts with freshly baked blueberry muffins. Lounge about most of the day. Watch two DVDs in the evening.

Calm weekend.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 6/7

Aikidokas: Sensei Raymond, Sensei Tim, Robert, and Oliver.

Ukemi: Took no forward rolls, just the back falls.

The Walk: as usual.

Releases: Worked with Oliver.

That's what we did all evening. Sensei R. got out on the mat and worked us through releases as the entry to techniques.

We also discussed the whack-a-mole philosophy of aikido. If you try to hit one mole (technique) but miss, another mole (technique) pops up for you to hit, using the incorrect part of the previous technique as the entry for the new one.

We also explored what happens when uke happens to trap you. You, as tori, need to move to your weakest position that does not put you in "the hole". I tried to come up with some sort of way to codify this a little better, but my attempts failed.

My first thought was to put your center in "the hole" instead of putting your foot there, but that's not right.

Aftermath: Back was sore, but it's not hurting this morning. I just need to be careful with it. Maybe forward rolls on Saturday, but I'm probably going to be video man for Jeff and Gail again. I hope forward rolls are in the books for Monday.


Friday Night photos

Originally uploaded by madmoravian
John throwing Sensei Randy.

Friday Night photos

Originally uploaded by madmoravian
Sensei Tim throwing Jon

Monday Night at the Dojo 6/4

Aikidokas: John, Robert and Greg.

Ukemi: Took no forward rolls, just the back falls.

The Walk: as usual.

Releases: Worked with John.

Techniques: Worked with Greg and Robert in a round robin setting. Tori'd Kote-gaeshi and Aigamae-ate. Uke'd for Shihonage, Tenkai Kote-hineri, and Aigamae-ate.

I'm in a hurry to get the Kote-gaeshi. I need to slow down and wait for the off-balances. was very cautious, but did ok. Gedan-ate had me concerned as I have to bend quite a bit, at the knees.

Aftermath: Back was sore, but it's not too bad this morning. Caution is the watchword. I'm not predicting a date for forward rolls/big falls. I hope Saturday sees my back in good enough shape for them.

At the movies

The Illusionist: 4

An interesting magic/love story/mystery movie. It'd be nice to go back and watch it again, knowing the ending, to see if there are clues to the ending. I doubt if there are.

Ed Norton did a good job. I've seen a number of his films recently and like what I've seen.

Weekend update

Friday: dinner with friends: K, S, and B at Durango's. The preferred destination for this collection of people, Rico's, is still closed fro some reason. They say they had a fire a while back.

Saturday: at the dojo. Filming Jeff and Gail working on their Nidan demonstration. Lunch with them afterwards, and then on to extracting the video from the camera. Watched a movie with Kim: "The Illusionist".

Sunday: picking blueberries. They weren't nearly as sweet as they have been in past years.

Then on to watch a minor league game with the Bay Area Toros. They're in an independent league of about 6 teams in Texas. Or maybe it's just four teams. We left in the middle of the 5th inning, with the Toros trailing 5-4. They ended up losing 13-7. It was a fun time . The weather was perfect, once the sun went down but that made it too late to stick around.