I love having new white belt students! They make me revisit and rethink how I present the basic fundamentals. I have a theory that you can find the best Aikido teacher in the world by finding the one person who has brought the most students through the white belt material. And I think I'm definitely in the running for that position! :-)
So, last night we were working on shomenate. I've done this helpful handful before, but here are the things that I was emphasizing last night...
1. Kuzushi-tsukuri-kake - these elements might show up in different orders or they might develop all at once, but you have to have all three.
2. Get uke's chin lifted fully, so they are looking at the sky instead of you. When they can't see you its harder for them to continue attacking. Plus, lifting the chin locks the spine, which then becomes a great lever for you to use to move their center of mass away from you.
3. Step both of your feet all the way between and beyond uke's feet.
4. Don't add the little extra oomph with your shoulder at the end. If dropping your entire mass onto their locked spine is not enough to blast them, then a little extra shove from the shoulder won't be either - plus you can wreck your own posture and maybe hurt your partner's neck.
5. Uke - take the fall. Take a step or two back to absorb some of the force, then sit down. This gets you lots of practice falling from one of the most severe back falls you'll ever have to take, and it allows Tori to learn to apply his mass over a full range of motion.
This year we are discussing the Book of Martial Power (BOMP) on Saturdays
I don't have much to say about this chapter in Pearlman's book, not because it is not important - control of the center line is one of the most fundamental and important concepts. But because I just don't have much else to say beyond what Pearl an has said in his explanation.
Simply put, because most of our vital targets are located on our center line, we must protect ours, while seeking to own theirs. Additionally, because most of the important action in a conflict between two people happens in the center of the space between them, we must seek to own the center line of the conflict.
I think if I were writing this book, I would have placed this chapter before the two that surround it, because Owning The Center is the central theory, and Triangle guard and Primary Gate are primarily how we go about owning and controlling our center, their center, and the center between us.
It's a fine balancing act, and it is the nightmare of all martial arts instructors (at least the ones with any sense) because you have to go for the right balance of co-operative and competitive, frustration and building the student up.