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Saturday's keiko was great, as usual. I arrived on time, but feeling a bit out of sorts. I had been up all night with my littlest boy and had received some information that, while not entirely unexpected, was also disconcerting and I carried it around with me a short while. It soon was washed away in sweat and efforts of concentration though.
We went outside for bokuto practice. I've been having a hard time getting the patterns down. I often omit a step or add a step, or get a movement backwards. I suppose it makes sense since the swordwork is mostly quite new to me. It was a lot of fun though. I paired up with the current uchideshi, who is pretty new to Aikido as far as I know, but he was able to remind me of a couple things I forgot.
Once we went back inside for taijutsu we worked on kansetsu waza, doing a continuous sequence of flowing into ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo, and rokkyo from an ai hanmi seigan initiating point. We then focused on rokkyo from an uraken attack. Periodically sensei would stop us to focus on some aspect or another. For the uraken, in this instance at least, the point wasn't to deliver a devastating blow, but to offset aite's head enough to begin entering into, and controlling, his/her structure. He made the point that someone who is well organized in their attack will be ready to spring into you the moment your hand stops its forward momentum.
We also practiced a rokkyo exercise where we used only one arm to wrap around the attacking arm like a vine. This helped some of us who were not very familiar with the basic form to understand it better.
Once again there were too many points for me to catch them all, but each time one was made, the movement was improved a little. Overall I'm focusing on remaining centered: not leaning too far forward, back, or in either side; not over-extending any of my limbs; and maintaining as upright a posture as possible. One of my training partners (nearly all of them, to one extent or another) really likes to have his technique checked for holes by having me try to move. I also love this because it really gives an idea of where I might be weak in my structure.
As I was leaving it was grtifying to have one of the other students tell me he thought I was doing the sequence of kansetsu waza pretty well. He's been training pretty seriously for a little while as far as I can tell, and he's always felt like a pretty strong guy, so I really appreciated hearing that...even if I still feel a long way off, generally speaking.
Lots of fun...and now I'm off the back yard to do some suburi and other solo practice.