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Sensei Riggs, Couch, Lan, Derren & Mike C. all attended a seminar in Houston with Kato Sensei. Hiroshi Kato Shihan has officially announced taking Sensei Riggs as a student, and now Aikido of Midland is affiliated with the Suganami dojo's of Japan and the Aikikai Hombu. VERY exciting stuff! (I was unable to attend, but I'll catch in in Oct/Nov.)
Lan was tested for Shodan and passed the exam! YEAH! Congrats Mr. Lan Man! Lan Powers in an excellent student and aikidoka... very proud of him. (Good job, Lan!)
Sensei Riggs again took up the baton of "subtle things" that Kato does that help make a difference. Last nights class consisted of a few of these:
Ikkyo - We did this off of the lapel grab, wrist grab and shomen strike. Slight adjustments were made to our footwork, putting more emphasis on moving the hip first and following through with the hips. Also, it was important not to just "walk in" on the uke, but that after the cut down is made, to draw the uke across. It really takes the uke's balance!
Things I need to work on would be the hip movement as well as lowering my center to get more UNDER the uke. I found I was collapsing my arms to get under their arm. Big NO NO!
Shihonage - Did this off of the wrist grab and yokomenuchi strike. On the wrist grab, we started staticlly and again, worked on hip movement first.Also, bring everything UP! EVERYTHING needs to come up! The hands grasping the uke's wrist need to be in front of your forehead just as or before you step and turn. If it is in front of your chest, you haven't taken uke's balance. Raise it up and lift the uke off the floor... they'll come up off the floor if you lift the wrist!
I noticed in doing this technique, I have been leaving my foot planted after I step through... leaving that back leg back and "straight" which is another capital "NO NO!" Draw the foot back and retake balance. Uke is already off balance, they are no longer a threat. I need to slow down here and protect myself instead of getting in a hurry.
In fact... I like that idea: Slow down and get it right. Sensei always demonstrates techniques slowly. If it can be done slowly, then I should be able to do it as well... slowly. If I'm not, then there's something off that needs to be fixed. Think I'll make "slowly" my new M.O.
Anyhow, finished the class with Shiho off of a yokomen strike. Hips, Hips, Hips! The hand change is something I had forgotten, until just now (couldn't even think of it last night!) but I'm sure it will be much better next time. Block. Cut. Draw.
Good class! I'm feeling better about my aikido these days. My weight is down considerablly from the last time I tested, so I'm hoping I'll be much better this time around. Polish, Polish, Polish!