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Things went pretty well on Thursday (5/8/03). We worked on jiyu waza (free technique, usually against an unknown attack). This is one of my requirements for the upcoming test, so it felt good to work on it. Generally, I feel I did pretty well. I ended up responding with a lot of iriminage, but I also pulled off some shihonage and kotegaeshi. The best feeling technique was when I responded to a yokomenuchi strike with a blend that led right into gokyo -- and I hadn't even planned it that way! That's what jiyu waza's all about.
The frustration came with our regular Thursday evening slow motion randori exercise. Briefly, the point of this exercise is to practice randori with everyone moving in a slow walk. The real trick to this exercise, from uke's point of view, is presenting realistic slow motion attacks and reactions. Anyway, I've slowly become frustrated with the way the exercise has been going for the last few weeks. Friday, I shared my frustrations with my instructor. He seemed to agree and has said we'll be doing more full speed exercises to we can get a better understanding of what we're simulating in slow motion. I've generally found that talking with my sensei is the best way to deal with frustration that won't go away on its own.
Saturday, we had a demonstration at a local elementary school's May Day celebration (a relatively common festival-type thingy in my area). The demo went well, but as one of the primary ukes, I got tired before the end. Still, having my sensei throw me (all 330 lbs. of me) in a series of breakfalls made quite an impression. Two things really stand out. My instructor and I performed the fifth kumitachi. We first did it with me as uchitachi (striking sword -- I lose), and then we switched roles with me as uketachi (receiving sword -- I win). I didn't realize he was going to suggest that until we were doing the demo, but it came off feeling great. I don't think either one of us held back much. The other thing that really struck me was our kiais while demonstrating jo and sword suburi. We performed the demo on a stage in a very noisy elementary school gymnasium. And yet our yells bounced off the back wall and cut through all the noise. Pretty cool!
I'm gathering my thoughts on aikido attacks to be posted in the next journal entry.