Review: Toby Threadgill seminar in Santa Ana
I was not sure what to expect from this seminar.
The explanation of principles was very good. Even though Toby is not an Aikido instructor, he can come across as a really good one. The TSYR techniques were both softer and more sophisticated than I anticipated.
Some of his throws were Ikeda-like using very subtle and minimal body movement to take kuzushi and drop the uke to the floor. He did an as -reasonable explanation of what was happening during those throws as could be expected.
Today's Koan: If an uke falls in a Koryu dojo from an IP/IS throw, will anyone know?
The emphasis on proper body alignment and structure was good. In hindsight I should have visited my chiropractor prior to the seminar. By the end of Sunday I could not hold my back straight and therefore all the alignment throws went out the window.
Toby was very approachable and seemed very concerned with making sure he answered technical questions so that everyone understood. I asked him a question regarding the nairiki conditioning exercises in TSYR and he gave me an answer, then a few hours later, he modified his answer to me. This shows he took our questions seriously.
Uke's did not fall unless the technique was done correctly. After years of being conditioned that my Aikido techniques always worked based on the feedback from the fall-no-matter-what uke's I had, this was fun. I probably heard "no, not working" twenty times for ever throw I managed to successfully pull off. When I did manage a throw, I found Toby behind me making animal sounds. Those Koryu guys have some unusual traditions!
Conclusion: Toby's explanation of body movements were excellent. It has changed some of my ideas how to execute throws and move on the mats. I recommend attending one of Toby's few seminars here in North America; you will not be disappointed.