Every Time Is a Chance To Do Better
I try to keep a positive outlook when I practice. There are times that I feel like no matter what I do I'm not getting it. Other times things feel great. Keep in mind... that in both cases, this is no indicator of how correct I'm really doing the technique.
I now work a full hour away from the dojo. At times I get stuck in unpredictable traffic. This was one such night. I was about 10 mintues late for class. I came in just after people warmed up. Mr. Mulligan taught the class tonight as Bob was asked to do battle with the computer.
The problem with being this late as I didn't have much of a chance to change my mindset. I got onto the mat just as Mr. Mulligan had finished explaining what he wanted the students to do. I looked around and gave it a whack. It was a simple ki exercise where you move from side to side and reach out with unbendable arm. Mr. Mulligan stopped the class and asked me to do the exercise. I was doing them ok earlier but when I started up again it was so bad, he laughed and moved on. Ah hell. He grabbed Buddy and had him perform the exercise and did a few tests trying to raise the arm at the elbow. After a few repetitions of this I actually started getting my mind on things.
We moved on to rowing exercises.... then did some blocking exercises (block against a shomen strike). Mr. Mulligan asked me to do a few for the class. I didn't have much of an idea what he was going to do and I'm still not 100% sure what he did. Basically, he was showing that someone can have not just an unbendable arm but also an immovable posture. He pushed at my back. Judging by the smiles on the other students faces... I think he was actually leaning sideways with a hand against my back. In fact... I could have take on more force no problem. I was very stable.
We then moved on to practicing ikkyo first omote and then ura. My partners for this class were really tall guys. I had the usual problem where you want to catch the shomenuchi strike quickly before it has a chance to come down but they are so much taller that you have to adjust the technique. What I ended up doing was trying to blend(more than block) with the arm coming down and move it to the side. You don't get to off-balance uke by pushing back but instead by sort of translating their motion to the side a bit. Very interesting problem for me.
The last hunk of class we did nikkyo. I loved it. I had one the newer folks for my partner. This guy asks a lot of questions. I just tried to point out that you need the elbow bent for the "Z" and to use your tegatana http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia?entryID=687 effectively.
All in all it was a very basic class but still fun.