So Matt taught over at North Shore Aikikai last night. He had us working on some exercises that were very interesting. You wouldn't want to do any of these things on the street but this is studying building blocks.
Some of them I worked on and was still noodling around with them. There were one or two that I thought I had done pretty well. Then Matt or Rob would come over and show a variation. I tried doing the new way.
An example of one was offering both hands. The business hand was palm up. The other hand was offered more palm down but doesn't matter as much. You make a connection with uke as he comes in, blending back a bit with the grab. The foot work has you move in front of uke and throw uke on the same side as the palm up hand. The hands make the connection, and keep pushing uke in the direction of the attack. I noticed a lot of people throwing down, perhaps to aim people for the hole. However, I liked the throw out. Throughout the practice I was treated with a great view of people's kidneys. Had plenty of time to strike too. Like I said.... not a technique as it was shown.... but a cool exercise.
The variation of this one was more fun for me. It was the same attack, the same blending as uke comes in. then you do a sort of j-step to turn uke and send them back the direction they came. Huge timing/blending exercise.
Somewhere in the middle of this class I was asked to try and effect an ikkyo a little earlier than I was. So I realized what angle and movement I needed to do that. I saw it in my head and was able to make it happen. As with other exercises it was a matter of lining up my arm a certain way to get the effect I wanted. My partner was instantly affected. That felt really good. Now that I've seen this, I'm wondering if I can use it again for other techniques.
So a mixed bag of practice as usual. Things generally felt good. It wasn't a frustrating class or anything. Just spending time trying to figure things out.
At the end of class Rob showed me something cool. It was a ryotetori attack again. The hand in front of the back foot was used to create a tiny but abrupt ikkyo. As soon as you grab nage you would feel yourself instantly turned. Very cool. I was psyched I noticed that he did that with the "wrong" hand. Often the forward hand over the forward foot would be the one that does most of the work.