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Due to some miscommunication between sensei and I, I ended up at the dojo by myself on Monday. I used the time to work on my Jo and Bokken katas after I finished a good warmup/workout. Threw in some shiko and ukemi and I had a pretty good sweat on after an hour.
Towards the end of my workout I started to hear people show up next door. I thought this would be a good opportunity to train there again so I asked that sensei if I could join them. He said certainly, and thus I was training for another two hours. Good workout!
We started out with paired bokken practice. The first technique we practiced involved uke attacking in showmen. Nage counters by drawing the sword and slicing uke's arm pit, and moveing forward and off line of uke as he raises his sword for the attack. The technique is finished by nage turning 180 degrees under his sword so it remains pointing in the same direction as before the turn, and showmen striking ukes sword close to the hilt. I couldn't help but notice the relationship between nages body movements in this bokken practice, and the near identical body movements required to preform Shiho-nage Irimi.
I saw no other relation ships to empty hand in the other bokken techniques we practiced. I did notice how powerful a suttle move can be if the bokken is moved from your center. ie: Keeping my hands in front of me, using my wrists to control the bokken for parries, and my hips and legs for power during thrusts.
After bokken practice we moved to tai-sabaki (sp). These were exersises on moving off line of an attack. In this case all the attacks were Yokomen. I found this a good practice not only for nage moving off line, but also for uke issuing a proper attack. When at the end of class we tied our tai-sabaki to an actual throw (a type of kokyo-nage) I found I wasn't continuing the attack properly thus not giving nage enough energy to complete the throw. (Sorry Jeremie I think it was).
All in all it was a good learning experience. The class gave me alot to think about with respect to my ukemi that isn't part of the falling and rolling. I look forward to returning to give Jeremie a proper opportunity to plant me into the mat.