Tonight's aikido class we worked outside for about half the time until we (finally) got our thunderstorm that cooled us off. We did tegatana, making a point to completely recover the back foot after each step. Then we zoomed in on the first turn, as in yesterday's aiki homework assignment. We worked on it for several minutes emphasizing getting the timing of the push up synched with the timing of the body rise. Then we worked this motion into hanasu, reviewing #1-4 with Kristof and introducing #5 to him. In hanasu we emphasized low-level strategies, including:
get out of the way
turn to face uke
get behind uke
move with uke
It turns out that each technique in hanasu is an example of these principles in this order. Really, these four principles will improve your aikido randori pretty much no matter what type of aikido you do. Keeping these principles in mind instead of trying to DO a technique to uke tends to help performance considerably. Tonight's material included some of the techniques surrounding hanasu#4, including reverse kote gaeshi, aikinage, ushiroate, kaiten nage, and release#3.
One of the great things about training at Mokuren is the variety of students. We get to work with a small, maybe 130 lb, student, a 170lb student, a couple of 250 pounders, and a 350 pounder on a regular basis. We also have the special benefit of having a student with a birth injury that resulted in one "normal" arm and one arm that is drawn into a permanent chudan uke (middle block). Aikido that will keep a one-armed guy safe against a 130 pounder a 250 pounder and a 350 pounder will work for anyone! We pretty much have the 5th through the 95th percentile of the population represented. We are looking forward to having a couple of females practicing with us starting this summer, including one blind student. Aikido is awesome as an adaptive self-defence!