Tonight Patrick M. arrived a little early and we began early, moving straight into his rank requirements. Specifically emphasizing nijusan #6,7,11, and 12. We worked some of the wholly magical stuff Greg Henry recently showed me regarding slipping aside at the end of the line. Kel showed up and we rewound into tegatana, hanasu 1-4, and nijusan 1-3. It was a very good practice.
The really interesting thing of the night was a followup to the momentum exercises I posted a week or so ago. Patrick M. and I ran races across the mat, stopping on designated finish lines and watching how long it takes to recover to a neutral, upright posture. Then we repeated the exercise with me holding his arm. Guess what? The simple fact that we were connected damped out our momentum at the finish line, allowing us to recover to neutral much faster.
So, what does this mean for our aiki practice? When doing the offbalances in nijusan, you want to leave uke hanging freely out in space over the offbalance point. If you push or pull or even just connect to him then you give him stability and improve his speed of recovery. However, if you get the offbalance and leave him hanging in space then the only thing that he can exert against to regain control of his momentum is the ground and he is limited as to how hard he can push on the ground without coming off the ground. So, you get a much better offbalance and uke slows way down for you.
Thanks to Henry Copeland, Greg Henry, and Terry Gibbs for explaining these points to me. They are making a huge difference in my aikido already and I've only just started exploring where these points fit in.