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This isn't the first time I've visited the Capital District Aikikai Dojo in Latham near Albany, NY. It is the first time that I've had a chance to show up for a large, well attended class. Unfortunately, the sensei -- Irv Faust -- didn't show up today, but the man who taught the class did a very nice job. The dojo was welcoming and warm and beautiful. The class was very active and dynamic, and the mix of students was delightful. I'm not used to lining up by rank or to having the group work separate out by rank / willingness to breakfall, and I admit to feeling a little uncomfortable with that. On the other hand, I love the way that the teachers at this dojo give a lot of time for each technique (is that characteristic of Federation dojos?). Combine that with the fact that almost no time is wasted on lengthy explanations and that the techniques usually involve a lot of flowing and movement, and you can get a pretty good work out in during an hour.
The thing I work most on learning when visiting this dojo -- or most other Aikikai dojos I've been in -- is managing to pay attention to the detail of the form and to put aside the tendency to improvise (from ASU) or to cut corners (from Seidokan). This is great practice for me.