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Class on Saturday went pretty well, except for a freak fall that tourqued my left elbow a bit. My elbow is feeling better now, so I guess the fall wasn't that bad.
Right at the beginning, during our warm-up ukemi, my instructor commented on my forward rolls. I was quickly able to make the correction that he pointed out, but I guess I get sloppy at times.
The empty hand work went well, and the weapons stuff was interesting. My instructor's first instructor taught some techniques with hanbo (3' stick). We worked with a couple of them, utilizing aikido movements. We ended the first one in a choke, and the second was a shihonage. In both cases, uke had a tanto.
More on stick techniques can be found in a book by Masaaki Hatsumi and Quintin Chambers. Meik Skoss calles it "an excellent work on tanjojutsu, based on techniques of the Kukishin-ryu." It's titled Stick Fighting: Techniques of Self-Defense. I'm tempted to pick up that book. But then again, I'm tempted to pick up a lot of books.
Last night (Thursday 3/3/05) was my first class back at my home dojo after Ellis's seminar. I was gratified to see opportunities for some of the strikes that we worked on in our taisabaki.
I especially saw the nikkokyu (2nd vector) in our taisabaki where we go to the outside against a yokomenuchi strike. Nage's arm rolls around uke's strike and I saw the elbow strike we practiced at the seminar in that movement. I was able to use use that movement pretty well -- without the strike, but the strike was there if I wanted it.
The seminar at Itten Dojo with Ellis Amdur is over, and boy, am I sore!
Unlike the last seminar of his I attended, Ellis focused almost exclusively on atemi (with only a very brief mention of ukemi). That was just fine with me as I've struggled a bit to implement Ellis's suggestions for really integrating atemi practice with my regular aikido practice.
(If you'd like to read more about Ellis's approach to atemi, get his book, Dueling with O Sensei. I can't recommend it more highly.)
There was some new material that Ellis presented that complements his overall teachings on aikido. He's working on classifying aikido movements according to their particular vectors, of which there are five. Those vectors closely match the movements of the five pinning techniques, but also encompass the other aikido body movements (like tenkan) and atemi.
Ellis showed how to use uke's structure to guide and even give energy to strikes. He also consistently emphasized that there can be no technique without irimi. In fact, irimi and atemi are closely linked.
Ellis's overall approach to aikido technique was very positive and direct. He stated that each of us should have the attitude that our own bodies are perfect, and everyone who is shaped differently is a little deformed. By that he means that we should make our partners conform to our own body's strengths. If you're short and uke is tall, bring him down to your level.
I think I've captured the bulk of what I learned, but t