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Not to say I have good timing, but I thought I would share something from years learning Aikido in New York. The teacher was good, the senpai were good, in general the people to practice with were good, we could learn from those junior to us, etc.
But I have to mention one particular practice session where the technique was hanmi handachi ushiro waza, probably kokyu nage. After uke grabs the right hand with his or her right hand he or she then circles around to grab the left wrist of nage, who is still seated. Sorry about the awkward description, but I wanted people to be able to picture what is going on.
The nage was someone probably in her twenties as I was, had joined a few years after myself, and had progressed rapidly. Was good at ukemi, too. Myself, taller and not so naturally coordinated as she. I have hesitated telling this story before, because it might sound like sour grapes! Yes she was very good at Aikido but I did find one thing to correct, although I did it in a rather annoyed way at the time, although I usually didn't like to interrupt people, and I shouldn't have acted annoyed. But I think she was the first to act annoyed.... As I said I was rather young and immature, and she probably thought I was just trying to stop her technique.
She was trying to throw me before I had gone round from her right to her left and so was pulling on my arm before I had arrived.
I don't know if I derived any satisfaction from the thought "Gee, she's not perfect after all!" I just told her I couldn't speed around any faster and could she please wait for me before throwing.
I guess by seeing her try to complete the technique before uke arrived at the right spot made an impression on me and I hope I learned from it to be careful to note where my own ukes were before throwing them.
Neither she nor the friend of mine who gently elbowed me in the ribs in my previous blog entry have been mentioned in my blog before, so they remain anonymous!
Years later, as a teacher, I had a student who had studied another martial art, Shorinji Kenpo, which he explained had many circular movements in it, when I wondered how he picked up the circular motions in Aikido comparatively easily. And we were training in standing ushiro waza this time, with uke grabbing the right wrist with the right hand and continuing behind to grab the left wrist of nage with the left hand. But this time Larry concentrated so hard on the right wrist that there was little forward momentum to the left. So I stopped my technique, which I don't suppose I liked to do. It was one of my favorite techniques!
I thought it was important for the technique to reflect where uke was at that moment and where his energy was directed. I asked Larry to start again and when his energy was still mostly focused on my right hand I pointed to the ground with it as in the earth hand of tenchi nage and I heard a voice from the floor saying "Eat mat!"
That was my assistant Larry, saying he understood. I know he won't mind my telling this story, if it finds him. I think we all have fond memories of our little dojo in Southwestern Connecticut in a YMCA years ago.
I don't usually try to give technical advice in my blog entries, but if it helps anyone, it will have been worth it although many readers already know all this about hanmi handachi, ushiro waza, being uke, and about leading in general.