Fighting Muscle Memory
Went to North Shore Aikikai last night for the Monday night class. They've been doing this katatetori variant that applies to all kinds of techniques.
For example for katatetori kaitenage soto version, you enter and move the hand/arm in a circle bringing them down and set them up for the throw. Instead of that initial entry, they are having us try something else. You keep your arm inline with uke's arm and drop your elbow and center as you pull your elbow in towards your center. The effect is that uke loses balance and falls into place at which time you can then bring the hand around and up for the throw.
It was very difficult for me to fight many years worth of muscle memory to try and do this. One thing I was getting wrong, I was not moving and dropping my center, instead I was trying to use the flexibility in my hips to create the same motion. I wasn't doing this intentionally. It's just what I was doing. I only realized it when I saw someone do it again and thought about what I was doing.
Later on in class I helped Joe with his 2nd kyu test. I need to look over the requirements for that one. It's good practice for me to review these things. Some of them are from so long ago that I don't remember the variants that they like to see for the test for certain techniques.
After class we had Joe throw me around for a while. His freestyle needs practice. His aikido in class is fine but he must not practice random techniques often enough. I'm sure they'll give him some opportunities to practice that as part of his test prep.