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Three more hours yesterday with Erickson Sensei. First class we did kyuu testing work. My katatori ikkyo isn't nearly as smooth as I'd like it while taking uke off balance, but once they are down, I can flow right into the pin softly and balanced. I know I'll be fine on the test, but I don't want to be fine. I want to be great. Prolly just a function of time.
The second class was jo. We did jo kata I, which was impressive because none of the students in the class were above 6th kyu. Yet after twenty minutes we were walking through all 22 steps pretty fluidly. From there we moved into jo dori from primarily shomenuchi attacks.
I'm noticing that the jo and even bokken don't wobble as much at the end as they did when I began. I can't say I'm solid with either, but Erickson Sensei mentioned something that sticks with me. While holding jo or bokken, you should be completedly relaxed everywhere including your hands. The only moment of tension is when you fully enter into the strike.
My shoulders used to hurt a lot after a weapons class, but now that's gone. Relaxing during any technique, weapons or not, is something I'll continue working on for the rest of my life I think. It's hard. It's hard to relax when someone is coming at you.
The last thing she talked about in class was the power of breath during strikes. Not just kiai, but how breathing from your hara sets many things in motion. I understand the concept of one point, but I can't really feel anything just yet.
During the final class we did some techniques based on shomenuchi ikkyo undo. One attacker, then two, walking them around the dojo. With two guys full of muscles trying their best to hold you down and back, it's pretty tough to manupulate them.
As we each in turn became nage, we stood in a tight square. Sensei and I faced each other, and on the other two sides of the square were the uke. They each grabbed an arm, and when I was able to finally raise them up, Sensei demanded I not break eye contact with her. She then began to step backward and I had to follow her, taking slow controlled steps, forcing each uke forward.
I couldn't believe it was working. Each uke had to have at least 100lbs on me. They both had huge arms and thick centers compared to me. But from one end of the dojo, back and forth, I was able to pull them off their center and walk them around.
Intention is starting to mean more than just following through on an attack. My new Aikido definition of intention is "visualizing the end goal" above and beyond whatever you're doing to uke. If you can "see" the end, getting there isn't as hard as you think.