Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Practicing Slowly, Softly, and Effectively

I've been going to class and neglecting my blog here as usual. One thing I missed out on was a test that was held at Shodokan. There were something like 5 2nd kyu tests that night and I would have liked to have watched it. Rumor has it some video was done so maybe I'll get to see some of it anyway.

Sunday mornings class we focused a bit on improving our freestyle. I'm sure I need the practice. We had been doing techniques by starting them from several feet away. This was forcing nage to deal with real timing but since it was a known attack and maybe a choice of two techniques it made life more managable.

Monday night Mr. Mulligan taught and had us practicing with the newer people that just came out of their seperate training class a week or so ago. They are mixing in with the regular class now. He asked us to practice slowly. This was excellent practice. I was trying to do the techniques correctly and smoothly while going slow.

The guy I had partnered with obviously has experience in some other art. He was pretty good. He was watching me. At times he figured out how I was doing a technique and improved his own. Some times he could feel a difference but didn't know why and tried doing something different but not correct. It was interesting to see how much he was perceiving.

At one point we were doing shihonage and I decided I wanted him to notice something I was doing. Instead of keeping proper positioning for the arm, I let it float up too high. Immediately, he stopped, looked at me, and very politely told me that he noticed that he felt as though he could just turn and punch me. I smiled and said, yes.... that's right. I was doing it wrong once to get his attention. So then he asked me to do the technique again and I did it normally. He felt a big difference and saw the 'hole' magically close up. After class, I talked to him a bit. I wanted him to feel what I was feeling.

So for our practice I pretty much kept my mouth shut while I took ukemi and he observed me while I was nage. If he didn't know how to start off and got stuck, I would do the beginning of the technique again for him to watch and give him his turn right away. I think he was showing some pretty good improvement over the class. I have no idea if any of it will stick but it was still nice to see. I'm guessing he will be learning fast.

For this class I was going nice and soft and slow and yet still effective. By the time I was done I had felt like I had just come out of a massage.

After I went to North Shore Aikikai for a second class on Monday. It was koshinage night part 2. I guess I missed part 1. So we did various forms of koshinage all night for the class. Some forms were easier than others. Sometimes my timing was off... sometimes my foot placement... other times I wasn't low enough. There are so many ways you can screw this technique up. It was a good practice.

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