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Last night Utada Sensei taught an excellent version of ACE1&2...first we did it with a partner in the usual fashion, and then with both partners using the bokken. The point (I believe) was to focus on maintain connection with your partner through the bokken during the movements of shihonage ichi and ni (omote and ura), while also maintaining focus, balance, form and breathing. It gave me a very special feeling almost right away...and once I was used to the movements in that context, I found it very meditative yet focused. One interesting thing was that I got to work with a brown belt I don't remember training with before, so it was like meeting someone for the first time, yet doing something very personal with them.
The exercise deffinately enhanced the feeling of connection during the randori style portion of the class for me. This is one I want to do more often.
Spent Friday night, Saturday and Sunday training with Kondo Sensei at John Goss's study group in Maryland. Great training, with great people, and lot's of corrections from Kondo Sensei himself.
Friday night focused on applied technique from the goshin no te. Still trying to come up with some descriptions of the techniques. I believe we will have dvd available with the techniques eventually.
Saturday and Sunday were almost completely devoted to the Nikkajo techniques, tachi waza, ushiro waza, hanza handachi and idori. Sunday included some review of rising aiki with shiho from Ikkajo, and in a 3rd control based technique from the idori set in nikkajo. Kondo sensei stressed the aiki in ikkajo, as opposed to nikkajo being primarily jujutsu based, with aiki in certain places.
I'm still working on putting together my notes, but it was a fantastic opportunity to see the basis of the techniques in aikido. I had some very good revelations about sokomen iriminage that I need to explore more deeply. Also got to work koshi garuma off of yokomenuchi, very difficult but wonderful technique!
Also got to see kyu and dan testing...now that was a treat!
I'll either add another entry or edit this one as I get my thoughts together. I still have to write a review of Nizam Taleb Sensei's seminar, and I'd like to write my first full review of a yoshinkan seminar...Chida Sensei is in Phila. at the Doshinkan for 3 days this week! Not to be missed...I'm hoping I won't get