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It's amazing how ideas that are simple and everyday in one dojo can be revolutionary and inspiring in another. Sunday at Capital District Aikikai is an open-mat day. I showed up hoping just to throw and be thrown. Still, I was the only yudansha and we had a circle of 7 people working techniques and it seemed like people were pretty much following my lead, so I started to turn it into an informal and simple randori class. Now, anyone from my home dojo can vouch for me when I say that my randori is nothing to brag about. Still, we do randori very regularly and start on it from the very beginning, so in my 4 years at the dojo I've at least learned the basics of how we teach it. That was what I brought to the class.
It was a lot of fun helping the students let go of the break that came up for them between one uke and the next and helping them let go of the tendency to get stuck on one uke as they tried to complete a technique. I'm not a big fan of the 'randori as fear inducing threat to high level students.' I like much better the everyday randori-as-meditation. Finding the flow of moving from uke to uke and feeling that you are still at the center and in control is a wonderful and exciting feeling. It was fun to share it.