Sunday, February 04, 2018

Awesome Sunday Class

Of course, I'm biased.... I taught it. 

Today I had people focusing on sensitivity again.  It's important for both uke and nage to know exactly what is going on with each other.  Nage needs it to help create kazushi.  Uke needs it to take proper ukemi.

We started with basic ukemi drills.  I noticed that one of the students made an improvement in his forward rolls.  Nice to see.

Then I had them do an ukemi drill where nage is sitting, uke walks past nage taking his wrist.  Nage will pick a moment to move uke back in the direction he came.  The moment can come late or early.  Uke will never know when.  He has to feel when nage moves.  Uke then rolls back the way he came.  At first only the more experienced person managed to do this well.  Then after a couple repetitions, I saw huge improvement with others.

I then had them doing 2 variations of yokomenuchi kotagaeshi.  The first version nage enters with an atemi mirroring uke and then does the kotagaeshi.  The second version was one where nage steps back with the forward foot off the line.  Using the same side hand, he cuts the yokomen attack to his center, takes a kotagaeshi grip and pivots.

We practiced the first version for a while.... then the second.

The second version I was seeing a student telegraphing.  Instead of just moving the foot back, he moves the forward foot forward a bit and then backward.  he was working on it.

The difference between the two variations is that uke has to be in two very different positions to take proper ukemi.  The first one uke doesn't have to move very much to be in position.  But the second variation, uke really has to move to try and place himself in a good position for proper ukemi.

After a while, I told them that nage will randomly pick one of the two responses for the attack.  That means that uke will have to be paying tons of attention and be sensitive to what's happening.  I was seeing people out of position all the time for this.

I definitely want to repeat this class.

After this we did some 3rd kyu techniques for the guy who may be testing soon.  Then we did a two man randori.  Although it's not a requirement, Sometimes, they call for this for a 3rd kyu test.

After class Russ approached me talking a mile a minute as usual.  Russ is the arnis instructor.  I couldn't really figure out what he was getting at.  He did say that one of our long time aikido guys was going to try Arnis.  Then he was asking me if I wanted to join or if I had questions I was always free to ask them or mix in.  I'm not 100% sure what he was getting at.  Perhaps he was just trying to build some bridges.  This is the second aikido person he's gotten interested into his program.  I actually think this is great.  I don't think of it as poaching students.  Everyone should try different arts and do what works for them.  Arnis can be a good complimentary art.

Last week he asked if they could take over a section of the matted area for arnis. for that class.  This is the second time this has come up.  At times he is blessed with a nice large class.  I'm not sure why he isn't working on the giant floored area downstairs.  Perhaps the Zen center asked if he could practice upstairs.... or maybe they are trying to save on the heat bill.  I have no idea.

My biggest concern is that it is VERY obvious to me that the arnis folks are not paying attention to their surroundings.  They swing their sticks into and move into the aikido area as it is(our mat area is adjacent).  It's not just one of their students.  It's like half of them.  It could be that their focus has to be entirely on what's going on if front of them.  If I had sticks whacking about at me, I think that would occupy a good deal of my focus as well.  Perhaps it's the nature of the practice.

I am convinced that if I share mat space with them, that there will be a safety issue.  Sooner or later, a body will fly into them.  Or more likely they will be backing up swinging sticks and hit a student I am responsible for.  Right now, we only have to worry about the edge that joins our mats.  When I have a new student, I make sure to tell them to give that edge a bit of space.  Don't be close to that edge.  Be mindful of what's happening there.

In addition, today I used the whole mat area for the freestyle practice.  It would be awkward if I couldn't count on that space and had to have conversations with Russ every time.

I said it before in a previous post.  Either we have mat space to have an aikido class.... or we don't.


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