Today the dojo was very cold but warmed up nicely. We worked on ukemi as an emphasis, getting into the idea of making one's landing mechanism habitual and reflexive. There are two common landing mechanisms. In the first, the legs land separated with the top leg behind the bottom leg and knee pointed upward. In the second, the top leg lands crossed in front of the bottom leg. Each has plusses and minuses. We use the first exclusively. The point is, it is vital to make one or the other so habitual that it is reflex because if you indiscriminately land at random then your body will eventually sort of "average" these two positions and you will end up hammering your legs together and injuring yourself. Everybody's forward rolls were looking better today.
In tegatana we worked on making absolutely sure that we're doing tsugiashi with only the two innermost balls of each foot bearing weight. The outside of the foot is simply not made to bear weight.
In hanasu we worked on release #1 making sure that we were getting on the offbalance line right as the foot touched and then pushing forward until uke starts to recover upwards. Tori is then able to follow that upwards, pushing through the whole motion. The consequence of this idea: we're always talking aboutfinding an initial reaction that is halfway between hanasu#1 and hanasu#5. Well, it appears that it is a little bit farther forward and up along that path than we have mostly been doing.
We repped nijusan in kata mode 1-2 times, looking for fine tuning points for kata demonstration. Andy made the comment about his brain that "all these moves are in there, just not in the right order." Andy really looked pretty good. It's mostly just a matter of not freaking himself out about being perfect.
One thing that showed up that needs to be adjusted for kata mode is the fact that most of our practice of 6, 7, 8, and 9 have been in the form of a chain, where one does 6 then 7 then 8 then 9 in one flowing sequence. Well, in kata they are not demonstrated as one long chain. Everyone wants to demonstrate 6, then 6+7, then 6+7+8, then 6+7+8+9. Instead, demonstrate 6, then 6 flowing into 7, then 8, then 8 flowing into 9.
We worked on the two wakigatame variants today - one inside and one outside. These worked well and led us into some knife evasion practice and some pinning practice. We got to play with several interesting pins.
They ere all screaming for a "cool ninja killer technique" of the day, so we repeated the toe-stomp taoshi from last time. It occurred to me that this is really a pretty good way to teach this variant of ikkyo because of the extra brain input we get from the foot as a feeler. This should help us to learn more about the timing and placement of uke's front foot. It's also very cool as a pragmatic thing. Holding someone in that front offbalance with your weight on their foot while youre in their dead angle is a pretty good place from which to talk sense to someone.