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Last night Utada Sensei taught an excellent version of ACE1&2...first we did it with a partner in the usual fashion, and then with both partners using the bokken. The point (I believe) was to focus on maintain connection with your partner through the bokken during the movements of shihonage ichi and ni (omote and ura), while also maintaining focus, balance, form and breathing. It gave me a very special feeling almost right away...and once I was used to the movements in that context, I found it very meditative yet focused. One interesting thing was that I got to work with a brown belt I don't remember training with before, so it was like meeting someone for the first time, yet doing something very personal with them.
The exercise deffinately enhanced the feeling of connection during the randori style portion of the class for me. This is one I want to do more often.