Bad news, Usher-san. Tonight a ki-catcher flew through the dojo. Sure, it was an old, faded, ragged, nearly-dead ki-catcher, but it was there for sure and I recognized it's markings!
Tonight we started as usual with tegatana, looking at small steps and then looking at the wiggle test. Then we moved into evasions with partners. We practiced the ones from tegatana and then worked on the one from the beginning of hanasu where we are forced to walk over the hill to evade. We practiced this drill with tori weight-shifting and uke looking for just the right moment to cross ma-ai to force tori into the ditch. Walking over the hill worked pretty good and our ukes became a touch sharper tonight.
Then we spend all of our hanasu time on hanasu#1, emphasizing walking over the hill and getting tori's center of mass on uke's stance line so that we hit the otoshi offbalance. From there we worked on releasing, and it occurred to me that in hanasu#1 alone we are doing 3 releases. First there is a situation building due to uke getting ready to cross ma-ai, so as uke crosses, tori releases by moving his center into uke's stance line. then there is asituation building because uke has nmanaged to catch tori's wrist during the evasion, so tori releases down the line. Then there is a situation building because uke's momentum is getting ready to move him behind tori, so tori releases in order to get behind uke. This resulted in really cool hanasu.
As we moved into nijusan I demonstrated the two paths of motion that occur in the kata and had the students practice those two motions. This got us onto an emphasis of moving the center off the attack line toward the hole between uke's feet and then almost allowing uke's strength to hit us there - in the hole. This is where the ki catcher first showed up tonight. Darned thing flew through and trashed one or two of my ukes and then disappeared!
So we kept practicing and started working on ushiroarte as a response to uke crowding us when we are on the outside path of nijusan. We also got to work on oshitaoshi as a response to uke spinning away from tori during the outside path. These both worked well and everyone got them very well - especially the time or two that that pesky ki-catcher reappeared.
Anyway, this was a particularly rich class, in which we got to emphasize taisabaki, offbalance and continual motion in hanasu#1, ushiroate, and oshitaoshi. The four or so instances of ki-catching in one class were remarkable. I'll have to work this stuff for several more years before I can tame that bad boy, though!