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I hear through the grapevine that in actual fact things at HQ seem to have improved. People are working together rather than bonking heads.
In other news a new guy showed up at our dojo. Apparently he likes our atmosphere, he visited some other dojo where there "Was no talking when everyone came in, no talking when everyone got on the mat, no talking when sensei came on the mat and no talking when everyone went home."
Sounds like a cheery place. Sensei commented that he wished we'd talk less; it is one of his ongoing battles and I doubt he'll ever win it.
Our dojo at times can be rather rowdy and rauchous with pleanty of banter; it's a very lively place with lots of big personalities.
Most of that is a ton of communication between uke and tori that I've not found in any other dojo. Uke will tell tori what they felt and will actively tell tori what to do during the technique so that tori can adjust their technique as they're going.
And then in the interval where tori and uke swap over there's some kind of banter or repetition of a running joke, "It'd be far easier if we just used guns you know" "Lacks finesse though" "We could do a western style shoot out" "Ahhh, that's a good idea" *bow*.
Or, again unique in my experience, there'll be a brief discussion between uke and tori about what tori is working on and what they want from uke or what uke wants from tori. Or perhaps uke will tell tori what he needs to do next time, "You need to cut up more, you're almost there, just needs a little bit more." "Get that heel down!" "Why are you so tall? It disrupts my awesome technique, I want you three inches shorter by next week!"
And when Sensei demonstrates we don't always just sit there and watch sometimes we can end up in full blown discussions and debates. Training doesn't start until everyone's clear in their mind what Sensei wants. Or Sensei gets fed up and says "Enough, practice."
Uke also has a unique role during demonstrations in that he's expected to floor or hit Sensei if possible. We have a score board in fact. 1 point for a punch 2 points for a strike with a weapon and 3 if you manage to floor him. I am top of the leader board.
Sensei and the uke work in partnership, Sensei as part of his demonstration will make deliberate mistakes and uke is expected to expolit them to demonstrate to the class why techniques are done as they are.
This occasionally means that if you screw up in practice someone will floor you, enter in with the wrong foot in our dojo and you may end up learning what sukui nage is. Goof up irimi nage and you'll get thrown with ippon seoi nage.
All in all our dojo is a much more interesting place to train than any other Aikido dojo I've been in.