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Good fun, of course. After dropping the boys off at gramma's I thought I would be late, but I was just in time. It was a small group, sensei making a total of 6. I like these kinds of days because it always feels more intensive.
Bokuto things to focus on:
Softer right hand
Less tucking tail/better hip alignment
Activate and relax the knees more
Drill and Kill kata
I started out paired up with the new uchi deshi. I suddenly couldn't remember my next movement in a kata (I should have down pat by now), but fortunately he remembered it for me (er...it was a test...yeeeah, I was testing him!). I've been focusing more on the parts of the kata so I still have a strong sense of the whole flow for some of them and need too much memory jogging. If I'm going to work toward that "First Step" I need to cross those proverbial "i's" and dot those proverbial "t's."
The major lesson seemed to be better use of the hips through better alignment and rotation; and relax more in general. I would be moving and sensei would say "stop," so we'd freeze and he would make various postural corrections pointing out where I had too much tension. At one point sensei demonstrated a connection between a kesa exercise and taijutsu application.
For the taijutsu portion of class I requested shomenuchi tenchi nage. We didn't quite get to the whole thing, but we did get a nice close look at shomenuchi. After practicing the attack itself we essentially practiced slipping past it with a shomen of our own. Then we practiced using that same initial feeling but while connecting with the other hand and finishing with kokyu nage.
Being so close to New Year's there were a handful of sanpaisha visiting the shrine so we were mindful of this throughout the practice. I would hear the bell and clapping followed in a few minutes by a ring of the juyosho (shrine store) "door bell," and the sound of Mrs. Barrish hurrying to greet the visitors.