Originally posted by Don_Modesto
What did you--Jun, or anyone else who saw it at the expo--think of Matsuoka spending so much of his randori running backwards?
The feeling I got watching this was mild disappointment. It's fair to suppose he used all that mat space because it was there. Brace this against this fact: for anyone the Aiki Expo Friendship Demonstration is a 'life or death" situation because of the amount of attention the demo would receive, the scrutiny, the inevitable criticism, it's wide dissemination via videotape. Especially for the demonstrator but also the ukes. So, no one is perfect. Running backward is one of the things I have never heard as a good randori strategy, so that was not a positive.
For randori I charge the strongest uke on either end; like Jun says that lines them up. I like an irimi technique first; I think randori is about taking charge and psychology is important too. Running backwards also sends the wrong message.
I remarked to Jun (before Ikeda Shihan's demo) that it seemed (from my perspective) that in general uke were more nervous than nage, and uke tripped up the demos more than anything else.
I found the demos exciting. Some were intentionally humorous. One just sad. One exceptionally inspiring, a few impressive, all entertaining.