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A long time friend of mine Brion had some business in the area, and came to the dojo to practice with us. He has just made Shodan in his dojo. I was at once excited about his coming to do Aikido with us, and a little nervous about having a friend see me as a beginner in something. Once we were on the mat all of that disappeared and it was some of the most fun that I have had in Aikido so far. We worked mostly on the techniques that I need to pass for my upcoming 5th kyu test. I was a little worried that this would be boring for Brion, but on the second technique, Irimi Nage, he stopped in the middle, (I hadn't taken his balance I admit and could see that I needed to make some changes to the technique) and asked what I was doing. I told him what we though Irimi Nage was, and then he did his version on me. They were somewhat similar, major difference the earth had grab in his case was a head pin and mine was a should grab. I then told him about my discussion with Sensei about the different grabs. He found this fascinating, and we started again, this time I go it more correct, and he does hit the mat nicely. He laughs, and sensei comes over and explains the head, neck, and shoulder, along with another grab that somehow involves Nages forearm along Ukes head! Wow!
We spent the rest of the class working on things comparing differences. One of the things that I found amazing was that Brion's atemi skills are wonderful, you know that you are going to get hit with the hand that you are not controlling well in your technique.
We also worked on the pins for Shiho Nage, and Kote Gaieshe the second was taought to both Brion and I by sensei when he realized that the standard end of the pin was probably not going to work for either Brion or I as we had not as flexable shoulders. Brion was amazed at this as I was.
It was a wonderful evening. I learned a lot. Shiho Nage, stay straight up, lock the ukes wrist to your wrist so that his arm has to twist in a spiral, stay straight up and down, don't bend over, push on Ukes arm in the spiral, don't pull on it, use the connection that you have to control the other arm.
It was a blast watching and listening to Sensei and Brion talk and train a bit together. I learned a lot, and heard some things that Sensei had said before, but I had failed to stick in my memory.
There was a lot to learn, and some of it was easier when I saw the way that Brion did things that were slightly different that the way that we did things. I then had to think of why it was that Sensei had told us to do them that way, and to feel the differences between what we do and what Brion was doing. It was wonderful!
Brion asked sensei if he would come to Port Townsend and teach a seminar when they opened their new Dojo. Sensei said that he would. Brion asked again, and then a third time, so I think that there is a real possibility that Sensei is going to get to go to PT.
One of the fun things was talking to Brion after class, and I told him how I had picked the Dojo. I asked if he thought I had made the right decision; He looked at me and said "Yah think?". I knew this already of course, but it felt really good to have Brion so impressed with our dojo.