It Seemed Colder Than Usual
Sunday mornings always start off feeling fairly cool in dojo. The mat is a little harder, our muscles and tendons a little tighter. It's on these mornings that it's even more important to warm up a bit and then stretch out a little extra.
In contrast to Friday nights 20 people class, we had 4 students show today. A nice mix though. A 5th kyu, myself, and too god knows what kyu's. These two guys have been around quite a while.
Speaking of old students.... Friday night I saw a guy on the mat I didn't immediately recognize. He looked familiar to me. After a few minutes, I realized who it was. When I first came to Shodokan about 2 years ago, this guy used to practice. I loved working with him. I remember him being excellent, and I tended to improve just being his uke. The reason I didn't recognize him immediately (aside from the two years) is he had a full head of hair. When last I saw him he had short/almost no hair. I believe his name is Chris.
Today's practice had a lot of yokomen strikes. We did several versions of kotagaeshi, udekiminage, kaitenage. The first kotagaeshi we had I had this one guy for my partner (not the one mentioned above. I could never figure this guy out. I think he's like a 1st kyu. He almost never lets me feel his technique. He always eases up to a point where you almost can't tell he's there. He totally disappears). Gentle is nice but if I can't feel the technique I can only benefit from it in a limited way. I don't know if he practices this way for everyone or just maybe in the 'regular' classes. I did a breakfall out of his first technique (to practice ukemi) and he made some comment about it being too early for breakfalls. No such thing in my mind. In fact, as soon as he said it I flashed to a quote I think was in a Dune book (Frank Herbert, yes we all read them at one point). Something about being in the mood is irrelevant when it comes to fighting. I still can learn from him but I would prefer it if he would apply more and worry less.
At the end of class we were allowed to do a little freestyle, respond to the attack with your partner any way you like. He limited the beginning to a tensheen so the first motion would be predictable. I tried a couple of things. when the instructor looked at me and said, "How about a sankyo". Oh Goodie !! I didn't think of that. After the yokomen and my step off line I started going under uke's arm(thinking I could get there with an atemi). After class I was wondering if maybe bringing uke's arm up and back down into an ikkyo, then change to a sankyo would give me more control. In any event the first sankyo I did was a little too strong. I had my uke dancing and tapping like crazy. You can usually feel when the slack is taken out of a joint. I have to figure out if he has sensitive wrists or I'm just killing people. I didn't think I had him that bad.
During class I noticed some things I was doing wrong and attempted to make some improvements. For the most part I was spending a lot of time trying to marry my center to the technique. Maybe I'll focus on that for a while and see where it gets me.