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Minegishi Sensei visited our dojo today and taught a seminar. There was a lot of focus on ukemi and it was interesting seeing the variations what she chose to emphasise. She was exacting in her demands on the ukes she picked. I'm noting some points here before I forget them which are the ones I'd particularly like to remember:
(a) as uke bringing ones feet closer together often creates more ways in which one can roll or breakfall out whereas having ones feet more widely spread apart tend to narrow the angles one can breakfall safely out of.
(b) keeping one's back straight and head out of the way of nage is standard stuff but something I know I can forget to do. She certainly didn't let any of her ukes forget. It also means that overall one keeps one's butt in line and maintains balance better on the whole.
She also taught a couple of interesting variations. One was on tianqi nage which was to draw uke first towards nage before throwing them. I thought at first it might be hard to do then realised well, if there was a committed attacker even if he was a lot bigger, then it would work fine since there would be forward momentum from uke. She was illustrating that particular variation and said because she said in her experience this worked better for a smaller person against a bigger person.
Overall though the best bit is always seeing a pint sized woman at age 67 well able to hold her own and bursting with life. She could easily be 40 with the shee
Just when I thought my high falls and general ability to take falls was improving, i realised today that I'm still too fearful. My instructor did a move I've only seen once before with me as the uke and I just completely stopped and that was even though I kinda half recognised it and it was a perfectly safe fall to take. But i just got scared and stopped. And then after I got up and tried again, a few times into ukemi, I managed to hit my head on the mat. Not enough to get hurt but enough to bump it. And I realised just how bad it was that my fear was getting the better of me.
I watched the other uke take falls and he's very good so the instructor threw him using a lot of techniques and throws we often don't practice so the class could see how the ukemi worked. All I can say is that I'm just disappointed with myself but also am sitting here wondering where's the balancing point for me between safety and fear. Fear has a role to play by stopping me from doing things that can be too difficult for me but it also means I don't take a chance when I should and then it paralyses me and stops me from growing. And this time around I'm pretty clear that it wasn't that nage was going too fast, at least not physically, but that my fear simply got the better of me, my brain then kicked in and over-rode my reflexes and I stopped to think .