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(I suppose I'll just break down and call people in my class by their names since other people do it. If somebody from my class finds my journal online, then I'll just have to suffer as uke if they read something about themselves that they don't like.)
Last weeks classes were very encouraging! Well, I was a little disappointed that my favorite sensei, Mark wasn't there (he's my favorite because he's was my first and main sensei for the first several years and he never intimidated me like the other guys did from time to time). My mom and I (and the other students) were happy and thankful when Bill arrived. Otherwise we wouldn't have had a teacher! We call Bill "Bokken Bill" sometimes because when he teaches, he's a great teacher but he often likes to have us do around 400 bokken cuts and that gets very tiring!
Tuesday was one of those classes of at least 300 bokken cuts (I'm glad that my bokken is the lightest one in the dojo!) but the rest of the class was neat and fun with Ikkyo, Nikkyo, and just barely got to Sankyo from the Yokomenuchi strike.
Thursday was even better as Bokken Bill added variety in the bokken cuts (95 and 180 turns, tenkan and cut, and 8 directional starting from both left and right hanmi). Technique-wise, we picked up from where we were on Tuesday. We started with Shomenuchi Ikkyo and then uke gets up and attacks Yokemen and nage does Ikkyo again (omote with the Shomen and ura from Yokomen) and we added Nikkyo and Sankyo until we had 6 continuous attacks and techniques in a row. It got rather tiring as uke to keep getting up and down but it was fun! Wayne (the new guy) had to work on Yokemenuchi Ikkyo (omote and ura) almost the whole class but he was allowed to have the other techniques done on him so he could feel it. heh heh
Anyway, the encouraging part was that when I was nage with Henry, I actually felt like I was blending pretty well! My techniques with him felt more flowy and I wasn't hesitating as much! I actually got complemented not just from Henry but from Bill too several times! And Bill doesn't say "good!" as readily as some of the other sensei's might. Besides usually I don't blend very well so I hardly ever get praised for it! We also did Randori at the end--uke striking only Shomen or Yokomen and nage doing only Ikkyo, Nikkyo, or Sankyo. I was the last one for a turn and Henry and big Jim were my ukes. I messed up like usual once or twice but I did manage to get Henry in a Sankyo lock and I kept him in-between Jim and I so Jim couldn't get to me (Mark taught me that, I think). Bill clapped to end my turn and also end class but to my surprise, when we were all in seiza getting ready to bow, he looked at me and said, "Excellent use of strategy using Henry as a shield"!!!!! He said it just to me in front of the whole class!!! What a great feeling! Every Aikidoka/Aikidoist has there good training days and their bad training days but this was a good day!
I really do want to have good techniques someday! There are some people that I know (who shall remain nameless) who can do the techniques well but they are rough or go too fast and uke at times struggles to keep up and new students are overwhelmed or are intimidated. I find going to fast leads to too many mistakes and jerky-ness--especially on my part. I try to do my techniques slower but in one motion (my problem is that I hesitate too much!). Once I get the techniques correct (with the right torque, stay in center, other basics, etc.) then I should be able to speed up IF I HAVE TO while still maintaining correct control and not hurt uke! I want to be a good Aikidoka that can do techniques "right on" and smoothly and also someone who nobody would mind being partnered with! I'm working on it and Thursday was just a little taste! Hopefully, in another 4 years, I'll be at the point.