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Yippee! I'm getting slowly better at high falls. Our Friday instructor is moving the class along slowly but surely and just giving us the time and space to keep drilling till we begin to feel more at home with them. This time round we still did them slowly but distinctly faster than the nice soft low ones we did the last time. Am definitely feeling a little more comfortable about shihonage but of course we're still drilling at relatively slow speeds and not forcing uke too much.
Also figured that my left front roll which has a distinct tendency to be be crooked gets a bit better if I start out by bending closer to the ground to start with...maybe it just makes me turn my hips less. I suspect I unconciously turn my hips just before I roll which is what causes the problem.
1. shihonage: extend more to keep uke off balance when turning. I have a tendency not to and my uke after several rounds of me not extending, finally just pulled me in to show me where the hole in the technique was and told me how to fix it.
2. kotegaeshi: the first lock on the wrist is a lot more effective when done at my waist level. Have been really doing it too high.
3. relax more: especially in the kokyu exercise at the end, my uke demonstrated how I was using muscle strength when I could simply just reach and achieve a far more relaxed and effective result
Haven't praticed with this particular uke since I was a blue-gold and was really happy to get to partner him after so long. He's one of the senior dan guys who are actually very nice to the more junior to them and impart their skills very effectively. He always reminds me of a giant teddy bear somehow but with great speed and flexibility.
My falls really sucked yesterday though...somehow my left front rolls were really crooked, even more than usual.
Today i got to practice with one of the guys whose aikido I like and I've never really partnered. He was kind enough to give me a couple of pointers which I note down here in the hopes I'll remember them on the mat.
kotegaeshi: in the turning around, I need to hold and turn the hand close to the ground in order to ensure the uke is well and truly pinned down
sankyo ura: turn in and backwards...i'm not quite getting the angle right for ura somehow although my omote is more effective.
He was fun to work with in that he plays a little and experiments so that there's always a possibility of being surprised which keeps me more alert. Plus since he's got excellent control so I feel freer to attack in a more committed fashion since I know he can bring me down safely and softly.
I've always been afraid of breakfalls particularly from shihonage. So in our last Friday small class, our instructor took the whole class through breakfalls 101.
Turned out to be quite easy and not too painful even if one forgets to slap the mat first. What made it easy was that he asked that nage drop to his/her knee and simply allow the uke to fall out at her/her own pace. This reduced the distance to the mat considerably and therefore the impact and scariness factor.
We then did breakfalls from kotaegaishi which I've always found very elegant when done slowly, so it's more like a roll since nage leads with his hand very close to ground. Uke tips over very slowly and unfolds into a breakfall rather than a roll. Easy-peasy when done at this nice relaxed pace.
Our instructor then called up the shodan guy to do it at a much higher speed to demonstrate that the technique is exactly the same when done at higher heights and speeds. But fortunately we didn't have to do that yet .
So I've finally learned how to do them...at least at a slow pace.