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Oh my gosh... you have no idea unless you've seen the man in person. Awsome! He locked down on one uke so hard, it made ME tap out! LITERALLY! :lol:
Anyhow, Friday we left for a ten hour drive to Houston. Ugh! Long drive, but well worth it.
Things I picked up on:
1) Keeping everything in front of you. Sensei moves his hips so well, you barely notice what he's doing. You have to really pay attention to pick up his footwork, hips, getting off line... all of it. Everything stays right in front of him, so if he tenkans, he's chunking you and you better be ready to take the ukemi on it!
2) Posture. He is so relaxed, has such good posture. With the good posture comes the ability to tenkan very well and maintain your own balance. If you have good posture and extend your arms, then you will not muscle anything and you will let your hips do all the work, that is of course if you move them.
3) Relax! I did kokyu dosa with one of shihan's students (he brought two students from Japan with him, a guy and girl) and she allowed no connection until I finally relaxed. Once I did, she moved with the gratest of ease. I'm still trying to figue out this one. Though my knees are sore, I'm REALLY looking forward to doing kokyu dosa again so I can work on this.
4) Up, up, UP! Everything comes up! On our jo work, he corrected Couch on raising the jo high. He explained that back in the day, in kendo practice, if you struck shomen, you would hit the uke... sure. But if you RAISED your weapon high enough and struck, you could crack/break the helmet... more martially effective! Everything must come up. Sitting here and thinking about it... ikkyo thru gokyo, shihonage, tenchinage, irimi (especially irimi) nage, just about everything I can think of needs to come up! That's one thing to really work on.
5) Translations. Whenever Sensei's student would translate Ura, he would say in english to "Change Direction." So if the uke's attack was coming at you, then yes... going to the rear would be a change of direction. But I'm thinking that "to the rear" which is what I've heard for almost 4 years may be a little to literal. I could be wrong, but it is something I'm going to play with and see what comes of it.
6) Hand position/Wrist turning. Sensei was really concentrating on kokyu ho again, but this time doing alot of ura, he would show us techniques where he would turn his wrists in ward and down and back. Imagine you're holding a softball in your hand: kokyu ho. It's kokyu ho if you have your tumb on the inside and the fingers outside all pointing away. Now then, turn your hands inward so that your thumbs are pointing down. He would lead with the thumb knuckles, it seemed, and draw back with the hips. This is another thing I need to actually do to work on and understand. VERY strong though. Powerful.
One thing Shihan tried to show us was Ryokatate dori Kokyu nage. BOOM! POW! DAMN he would explode! He does the rowing exercise very hard and fast... leading with the hips of course. I think this is one of those "secrets" that if you ever figure it out, you'll be kick ass with it. Well, I'm still trying to figure it out. He loaded up his student doing this and literally picked up the uke, turned and just chuncked him. His studen is sandan and took excellent ukemi. When asked why he would jump while taking ukemi for shihan, he's answer was,"Sensei is dangerous." and then he'd laugh.
All in all it was a great seminar. I met MANY great students and instructors down there: Dave and Simon from Austin, many from San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Houston of course. There was one instructor there that I first met at Michael Black's dojo in Houston 2 to 3 years ago and was at the seminar. Really great guy, nice, knowledgable, and took some good ukemi from Shihan. I think Shihan liked throwing him around.
FUN STUFF! I'm gonna be months thinking and rethinking about it all. Too much to process...