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Well - I had my first Aikido class today and it was certainly interesting.
Dojo name : Lower Providence Aikido
Sensei: Jeff Bowden
The dojo was nice, lots of mats and a spring floor. The Sensei and I had some good conversation before class, setting my expectations a bit and then the class began.
There were about 15 students on the mat, with a range of ranks from white belt to black belt. We started the class with some stretching and then right into "rolling". I have some experience here from my Judo backround so a forward roll and a breakfall were no problem. This dojo does several additonal falls that I started to leran but don't recall the names of. I do recall variations on front and back fall and everyone including the white belts was doing this so I figure I should be picking this up quickly.
We practiced several techniques from a "side" attack. Yokoman is what sounds correct but I'm not sure and was not ready to start asking a lot of questions at this point. The foot work was reviewed and we spent some time working on the initial movement.
I found this part of the practice to be very interesting in that the Sensei stressed that we move forward during the attack and I had to keep adjusting to not back up or turn to the side. In addition to the forward entrance, we stressed taking the balance which I am used to from Judo and then eventually, we moved to a wrist throw that seemed very effective.
Utilizing the torso (hip) turn as a larger circumfrence against a smaller circumfrence (wrist) made sense to me and it wasn't long before I was effectively controlling my partner (or so it seemed). Not quite used to having my partner fall for me is something I need to get used to.
We continued with this attack for the remainder of the class with various defenses. All in all ,I enjoyed the day, the students were very gracious and seemed enthusiastic about the class and the teacher.
One student commented the following " If you can't learn Aikido from this teacher then you can't learn it." This is a good sign and something that I was hoping to hear.
Follow up note: I'm sore already - tomorrow may be rough...