If You Go Into a Pool, You're Going To Get Wet
Forgive the writing mess. Mostly it's a mind dump with no particular order.
I'm so jazzed today! I hadn't managed to get to an early Monday night class in a while. Last night I was free so I got to go to two classes. I went to the Shodokan early class. Mr. Mulligan taught. We were doing exercises that required us to make nice round aikido circles. Some were easy. Some less so. I worked with a few people.
My hip throws needed work. I was doing ukigosh instead of ogosh for the technique. It was nice and smooth and fit well but wasn't what Mr. Mulligan showed us. I was half aware that I was doing something different but couldn't put my finger on it. After Mr. Mulligan was kind enough to give me a correction I did ogosh for the last few throws.
Chris really has improved quite a bit(he's 3rd kyu, I think). He was doing some very nice koshinage. I think he was floating me too far off to the side instead of forward but he still made it work. One side was perfect. The other side he never got me lined up right and although the throw was done, I was high on his back for that side on a consistent basis.
I got the concept of floating reinforced mostly by Rob at North Shore Aikikai. He's very focused in keeping uke off balance. Actually, I haven't seen him since I poked his eye a few weeks ago. We were practicing and I was reminded to do an atemi, as I started I brought my hand up and accidently tocuhed his eye. I knew what I did immediately and stopped the technique. The thing is.... when I started doing aikido, I couldn't give an effective attack. I had no intent. I'm quite passive by nature(even now). It took a lot of training for me to be able to actually understand enough to trust my partner and attack properly. Along the same lines, I was one of those people who was constantly apologizing. Do a technique wrong... apologize, step on someone... apologize, make light contact with an atemi to the face... apologize, etc. Again, after much training I beat the habit out of me. My partners understand that accidents happen on the mat. It's not intentional. We occasionally get a face hit or get stepped on. Short of causing some bleeding I don't react to these things the same way any more. I'm certainly concerned for my partners safety and may ask if they are ok but I rarely apologize nowadays. My mindset has changed. This is what happened when I poked Rob. I think he was a little surprised I didn't apologize. Although I expressed and felt much concern it didn't occur to me at the time to do anything else. Well... I know you read this blog Rob. Sorry about hitting your eye.
So, anyway, I had a lot of fun in Mulligan's class. At one point I had to work with Gary again. It's not that I dislike the guy. He's just odd. We are doing something like iriminage and he feels the need to drive me into the ground at the end. In fact, he accelerates the throw at the end. It's a little rough but I wouldn't call it abusive. Unnecessary perhaps, but not abusive. A lot of his techniques are unecessarily rough. So later on we are doing taiotoshi. I have a bad(good?) habit of planting uke for this technique. I tend to drive my ukes down rather than throw them out. I've been working on being more mindful so I think about it more, however, last night I was not thinking about it I guess. So I plant Gary nad he actually complains about it. So..... it's ok for him to plant people with techniques on purpose but not ok when people plant him(even by accident)? Gary... make up your mind what kind of aikido you want to practice.
He has a shodan test coming up at the end of the month. He was looking for practice partners after class and most people evaporated. Truth be told, lots of people in the class don't like taking ukemi for him. I wish I could watch the test but test night is my birthday. I plan to be out with my wife somewhere. If it weren't birthday night, I don't think I'd be too keen taking ukemi for him during the test anyway. I'm guessing his natural tendency to be rough will get exacerbated by the stress of the test. Nothing I want to subject myself to.
Now in contrast. Last night I also took a class at North Shore Aikikai. Jim taught. Had a great class. At one point we were doing katemenuchi shinonage. We change partners a lot and eventually I got paired up with a younger student. He's also a beginner. The first time he did shihonage he did what I call 'evil' shihonage. There's nice shihonage where you return the hand back to the shoulder. And... there is evil shihonage where you have the hand out from the body in more of a dislocating/breaking position. I don't mind practicing either. However, usually beginners are taught to return the hand to the shoulder at first. It's safer when they go after each other. I was caught a little by surprise that he had me really extended and I had to breakfall to release the pressure. After that I took a few throws the same way. Uke can either breakfall, or if they know it's coming can sort of backwards tenkan to get your hand back to your shoulder yourself. After a few of those I showed him the difference between evil and nice shihonage and suggested that he learn how to do nice shihonage first. I will say this, considering how few classes he's been to so far, he was doing excellent.