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I'm suprised how much latitude Sensei gives me with teaching. I've made a few minior changes and he's ok with them. The biggest is the use of proper kamae when doing katate dori; something that's puzzled me for a while was the palm up/palm down thing which isn't needed and isn't proper kamae. I know it's explained as coming from drawing the sword but what relevence does that have today?
Drawing the sword actually involves bending the elbow which in an art that's practically built on the unbendable elbow is frankly a bizarre way of doing things. "You know that unbendable elbow I spend ages teaching you? Yeah well don't use it in this technique because if you had a sword.............."
a) The guy does not have a sword
b) If he carried a sword in public the armed response unit would gun him down like a dirty dog
c) The technique works not just fine but actually better without having to resort to some bizarre medieval paradigm.
Why are we teaching impractical things for medieval reasons which actually detract from general competance in the art across the board?
Also I think it actually has a psychological impact in that it teaches a moment of messing around behaving like you have a sword before responding rather than simply teaching an immediate, aggressive and decisive response to an attack. Then when I get around to having to teach shomen uchi rather than having to teach a completely new movement I can just tell them to do exactly what they did for ai hamni. Simplifcation and rationalisation FTW!