I went away on a trip to Colorado recently. Went flyfishing and canyoneering. Very fun to do both. Once upon a time I used to rock climb. Forgot how fun it is to rappel.
I did the "Hidden Splendor" tour. And... yes.... there was chest deep water we had to wade through at times.
I went to Friday night's first class. Mr. Mulligan had us doing wrist grab attacks. We did some kokyunage, Some form of koshinage (garume) and a host of other stuff. I had two partners for about half the class. One was a very experienced person and the other has been around maybe 6 months or so. Big difference in how they react to me. The more inexperienced person gave me excellent feedback with his body as he 'didn't go where he was supposed to'. He was actually turning too much putting himself off balance making the prescribed technique more difficult. I still worked out how to adjust for it. However, in a real situation, I would more likely just take advantage of his imbalance and do something else.
At one point I had Sam as a partner for an ogoshi hip throw. After a few cycles he switches to ukigoshi. I recognized it immediately. I think I surprised him. When it was my turn I slid in and did a nice ukigoshi for him as well. After I got that out of my system I went back to the hip throw that was being taught.
I saw an interesting pair for this class. Serge was paired up with this really big guy with not so good ukemi. I've actually seen him improve the past 6 months. He's really working on it but it's obvious he has a ways to go. Serge is excellent and has wonderful sensitivity. He was throwing him pretty well. Some of the ukemi he was taking wasn't too bad where others obviously caused rough landings. He was told that if he is experiencing pain on ukemi he should take a break. I've heard this from multiple instructors. The thought is that as you are learning you aren't supposed to associate ukemi with pain.
I made it to the Sunday morning class. Peter had us busy with some knife disarms. One bit of practice that was very challenging was starting out with insufficient mai. There may be a time that someone is standing right in front of you, has a knife, and chooses to use it. It was very difficult to get the body out of the way and your hands on the incoming thrust so that you could do something with it. Anyone learning knife disarming techniques... don't fool yourself. Getting involved in a knife fight is just bad.
After class I had an interesting conversation with one of the students. He was talking about how he thought of techniques in terms of their ability to break joints and do major damage. That he doesn't think in terms of pain or mechanical compliance. I was surprised to hear that from someone so experienced. He certainly isn't abusive on the mat or anything. While it is true that the techniques we do do have the potential for damage (I've seen it), most people are taught to think in terms of the aiki philosophy. The idea that you'd rather stop your attacker without actually harming them if possible. Now, there may be situations where you have no choice but to break a wrist or an elbow. Breaking joints shouldn't usually be the first goal. Maybe it's a leftover from his military background.