Today it was Patrick M, Kel and myself. We worked on rolling and falling and tegatana getting Kel up to speed on how we do class. We worked a lot on the aiki basic instinct and used it to build up hanasu 1-4. Then we chained through chain#1 for a while.
Today we worked on uke's attack. I've talked and written a lot about attacking lately but this was a different way of thinking about it. One of the big recurring problems with a lot of aikido is poor attacks. Ukes lurch forward like the living dead, hanging an arm out for tori to break. Well, today we specified that uke's attack had to be one balistic motion through ma-ai just like always, but then uke has to retract his arm and center on tori in order to bring his other arm into play. Basically this turns all of our aikido attacks into either 1-2-type jab-cross or grab-cross combinations. This simple rule adds a lot of reality back into the training and gives tori a motivation (the second arm) to shape up. We've played this way some before but I really think I'm going to specify that pretty much all attacks in my class from now on are this type of simulation of jab-cross or grab-cross.
We worked shomenate this way and then added a knife, but with a twist. Uke's job was to stab tori twice no matter what else happened. This is another excellent way to put an end to the attack of the living dead. You'd be surprised how much of what passes for 'knife defense techniques' on YouTube goes totally down the toilet when uke starts with the express intent of at least stabbing twice. (Or maybe you wouldn't be surprised.)
And guess what - shomenate still worked like a charm! Sure we all got cut up some on each attack, and we each got totally evicerated once or twice, but we did pretty good against a decent simulation of a relentless knifer - which is about as out-classed as we can get ourselves without dealing with ninja or snipers.