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The Dojo I currently train in is closed for a couple of weeks due to a surgury my sensei had to have to repair an injured knee. Our style is Shin Shin Tau Tsu. Next door is an Aikikai where I ask (upon the suggestion of my sensei) their sensei if it was ok to train there till my sensei is back in action. The Aikikai sensei graciously allowed me to train and I was there last night for the first time.
We started out with Jo training, begining with what I thought was a complicated Kata. Of course any Kata would be complicated the first time. lots of spins, foot work, and unfamiliar change ups with the Jo itself. Technique was quite different. We moved on to a partnered jo kata that was easier to grasp and very cool to watch at higher speeds.
When we were done with the jo we started throwing technique. we started with a Katatadori tenkan ouijiji (sp). At least I think that's what it's called in shin shin tau tsu. Not sure what its called in Aikikai. The shock to me was that even though the technique was almost identical in our dojo the ukemi is ushiro. There it is a forward roll. The thing that made the difference in this was upon spinning uke from tenkan there is an atemi to the face that causes uke to shift his balance enough to set him up for a forward roll. I was impressed that such a suttle difference in technique could result in such a dramatic change in ukemi.
We did Kitenage, long and short version. Technically I saw no difference but there was something sensei ws doing at the end that landed the uke in a break fall. I think it was due to a simultanious manipulation of the head as well as the arm control. I couldn't figure out how to capture the head as well so I ended up relying on the arm push which sends uke into a roll. Its still effective but it's not Aikikai, so I'll have to work on that while I'm training there.
We did a zemponage that resulted in a break fall because it was a total weight underside that brought you straight to the mat, as opposed to a lead and extend that sent you into a roll.
Kokudosa was also very different, but very effective in training your body to extend from center. We also did a standing version that was kind of interesting.
I didn't point out any differences in the dojo out of respect for that style. It was very interesting to see and feel the differences though. I'm looking forward to going back tonight. I understand that the training is much more intense than what I seen tonight. I guess I'm going to have to suck it up and hope no one has to perform CPR on me.