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My Nidan test in on Sept. 18, and I was looking for ways to help me focus and organize my practice. This journal thing came to mind. There's a lot of advice that I'm getting write now, and a lot of things that I'm trying to think about and integrate into my Aikido. Just keeping track of it here might help keep me from feeling overwhelmed.
The test is going to be a stretch for me. Even though I've been practicing in my current style for 5 years, since my shodan exam, I still haven't internalized a lot of the things that are important here. My teachers put a lot of emphasis on a 'martial sense,' which involves a careful maintenance of a martial posture and an awareness of where my feet and arms are at all times. Those are all good things, but they are different than the things I was really brought up focusing on.
Anyway, here are the things that need focus:
1) moving from hamni to hamni. Almost every time I find myself struggling, I have also moved out of hamni.
2) keeping my shoulders drawn back in order to open up my posture
3) taking and controlling the first move. This is just like back in Seidokan, but I guess it's time to take that to another level.
It's also worth noticing what, specifically, I want to be working on:
1) Rondori. Worked on this recently and I am starting to feel comfortable with it.
2) Bokken and Jo kata. I am at a place where I 'know' all of these, but they still need a lot of work. The key here is finding senior students who are willing to go over them slowly with me.
3) Koshi. When I'm doing well, I can do these well, but they just aren't as well practiced for me as they should be. Not 'clean.'
4) Hamni handachi and swari waza. I'm comfortable on my knees, but more work here, again, could just make it all much cleaner. I certainly don't move like some of the people who are really comfortable on their knees.