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Well, the attention to the basics and the connection to uke is paying off. We worked a lot of muto dori(?), (boken take aways) and it really seems to be coming together. The presense of the boken seems to highten the focus, and the basic movements (especially the initial movement) seem to
1) provide the power for the techniques
2) postion shite appropriately
3) initiate the correct response from uke (as in leading for the attack).
I also used elements from a paired kata (awase yokomen) for a defense against a knee attack. Worked like a charm, and the transition to empty hand was almost seemless.
I've always been rather hesitant about the aikido weapons stuff...but Ohama Sensei has been able to prove the value of the buki for empty hand. And the zanshin is becoming totally different...flowing from one technique into the next. I still have some reservations about demonstrating this stuff though...its not like I'd pull it off against a real swordsman. But I do see the value of its practise, at least as long as the understanding of its place in the curriculum is correct.
I still miss working with Utada Sensei's buki waza...I need to go back to working the 3 new jo kata he gave us. And doing more paired boken work.
Missed the sunday practise due to the snow...have to try to make up for that this week. The demo at the end of march is not that far away.