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I missed class on Saturday and Tuesday of last week due to the flooding over the weekend and my grad school work. However, I made it this past Saturday (9/24/04) and ended up leading the class for its first half. Richard took the second half.
Things went well. I started everyone out on a tai sabaki against yokomen uchi with a tenkan movement. After that, we worked on four techniques that all used the same attack and basic tai sabaki. I made sure to work in with everyone and take some ukemi.
Richard then took over and showed bokken dori techniques that were nearly identical to the open hand work we had just done. It was almost as though we planned it that way.
Toward the end of class, one of the new students asked why he could stop one of the bokken dori techniques just by locking down. This led to a good discussion and demonstration about how (1) locking down is no longer attacking, and (2) we are stretching time in order to give nage plenty practice applying technique and uke plenty of practice attacking.
Then Richard and I had an "aiki moment." In our dojo, that's a term for when uke and nage both reach a certain state of sensitivity to one another's movements and something unplanned, but totally appropriate happens. I told the new student who asked about locking down that I was going to attack Richard with the bokken and then follow through with a second attack. Richard moved well and then did something with the sword just as I was starting to raise it agai
I'm now in my third week of grad school, and things are finally starting to settle down. I'm still making it to class, but I'm down to twice a week instead of three times a week. It's funny how I've come to view my aikido training as necessary to maintaining balance in my life. The physical activity and ritual really help counteract all the sitting and computer work I'm doing for school. In many ways, it's easier to get motivated to train now that I have another activity to keep me occupied; the time spent training is all the more precious now that I have to work harder to do it.
Classes have been going well. We have a good group of beginners and class sizes are holding stead at about 6-8 students. The kids' class seems to be growing now too. It's good to see the dojo healthy and the students happy.