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Last night (July 17, 2003), I went to the only class I'll make this week. A student who hasn't trained with us for two or so years, on of my sempai, joined us for class last night. It was interesting working with him as he's been training at another dojo and his ukemi is rather different from ours now. One thing I had trouble with was him spinning back to back with me when I tried the opening blend for ryotetori kaitenage uchikaiten omote. I think I know how to fix the problem, but I didn't figure that out until later. He and I did a few rounds of jiyu waza that felt pretty good. This was during the open mat session prior to class.
During the open mat session the three of us who are senior students were trying to figure out how to do juji nage (sometimes known as juji garami). This is a throw into a break fall with uke's arms crossed. Both Richard and I had trouble with this technique. We each had a side that worked correctly and one that didn't work. This is a well-known phenomenon and I'm sure that pretty much every aikidoka has gone through this at some point. Still, it is a bit frustrating to have a technique go well on one side, think I'm doing the same thing on the other side, and have it consistently not work.
My wife and I are heading out to Pittsburgh this weekend so I'm going to miss out on a chance to teach tomorrow. Last Saturday's class went pretty well except for the henka waza that I tried to teach, and Richard tried to help me figure out. I asked our sensei about it last night (having missed class on Tuesday), and he said we had it about 80% figured out. The weapons work went well. I think I was able to explain jodan geyashi (I'll have to check on that spelling) -- the high level reversal -- pretty well.
I enjoy leading classes. I don't think it's an ego trip as I've always enjoyed teaching and coaching. Instead of ego gratification, I feel a strong need to provide a good class so that the other students really get the most value for their dues. At the same time, I've got some leeway as I'm an assistant instructor who is not expected to know as much as the head instructor. In any event, I feel I've got a good sense of where my strengths and weaknesses are. I try to answer the questions I encounter to the best of my abilities, and I defer a lot until I can talk to our sensei at the next class. I feel that it's good to make a point of following up on questions as soon as I can; there's usually one or two for each class I lead.