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The UK is currently experiencing a heatwave, and Sensei is amazed that so many of us have shown up at class
Fortunately we work on joint locks tonight instead of projections, Sensei making the point that taisabaki is the driver and the technique application can be varied easily
One of our ungraded students earned the nickname 'Crusher' from me, after several vice-like crushings to my thumb joints and fingers during the course of ikkyo application. His enthusiasm is commendable, but I pointed out (and physically demonstrated) to him the difference between control and crushing with strength. He hadn't quite grasped that using all of his muscle strength is not the way in Aiki. I will attempt to convince him that he will live to fight longer if he learns to apply techniques in a more relaxed way, using the strength of his centre, and kokyu to power techniques
Later, during the discussion in the pub, Sensei and I answered a question from this student about the relative ability of graded students to 'take' throws.. He was under the impression that anybody wearing a black belt was fair game and could take whatever was thrown at them I immediately used myself as an example of why this assumption could not be made, and also another yudansha who sufferes severe knee problems. Sensei said that communication is the key - you ask if you're not sure what the other student can do and he doesn't volunteer that information This also works for mudansha as they all wear white belts in our organisation, so you can't assume anything - a student may have just stepped on the mat or he may be about to take his shodan exam
Poor Crusher suffered from one of my mistakes, also in ikkyo I stumbled and dropped his arm just as he was heading to the floor, leaving him to land with a spectacular crash I checked he was ok, and he was To make it up to him I'll offer to help him with his ikkyo ukemi!
Another very useful point about new students came up this weekend, made by the founder of the National Children's Orchestra with whom we work several times per year. This lady has been teaching young music students of all abilities for a very long time, and she told me that she'd recently begun to teach beginners with the assistance of another teacher at a nearby town. She said that she expects high standards, having been working mainly with the more talented children in the NCO, and that her new beginners have risen to the challenge and excelled in a way nobody would have thought possible
Keeping this in mind, I shall be stepping onto the mat on Tuesday with high expectations of myself and my fellow students