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Aikido on and off the mat are two different dynamics.
I noticed there can sometimes be strong tensity in attacks off-the-mat. A lot of it depends on the experience of the person attacking but applying technique to that tensity can be a real eye-opener. Deflecting the attack wasn't that much of a problem but I found myself buying time quite a bit - probably due more to my lack of experience than the art itself. Had a strong desire to break out of Aikido a few times.
Controlling that line of attack is so important!
I was amazed by the application of techniques against grabs. Tensity can be your friend when grabbed with intent. With seemingly little effort Nage can gain control fairly easily.
Be aware of uke's resistance and don't push it too far.
Overall I am enjoying these off-the-mat practices, bruises included. I feel it's very important to experience the different dynamics when you don't know what (non-traditional) attacks are coming.
I'm looking forward to more...