Saturday, March 14, 2009

Aikido 3/14/09

After warming up, we did tegatana no kata. I've been sliding my feet way too much, so we addressed that. I was under the wrong impression - I thought the idea was to slightly slide the balls of the feet, but to keep the heels barely off the mat. I'm glad that's cleared up, because intentionally placing the steps without sliding was more felt more natural. We played with the hip switch motion, placing the steps and comparing that with pivoting the feet.

Another thing we discussed was bringing the following foot along with the leading foot pretty quickly. I think it was helpful to think of something Dave Lowry wrote in The Karate Way, in the chapter on taisabaki. He advised imagining a thick rubber band around your thighs, so stepping forward with the leading foot stretches it, and it pulls the trailing foot right after.

A really cool thing we looked at is the possibility of combining or "linking" some of the steps in tegatana. So instead of "1st step, pause, 2nd step, pause, 3rd step, pause, 4th step, pause..." we might try "1st step, pause, 2nd step - 3rd step, pause, 4th step - 5th step..." and so on. It's possible with many of the steps in the kata. There's a different feeling when you link the steps. I'm going to begin practicing it both ways.

Next we worked on Releases 1-8, focusing on 5-8. Pat demonstrated how the same principles are present in all the releases: evade, get your hands up, and point your center at uke. When I focused on that instead of how the release was supposed to look or work, they went much better. I keep trying to lift my arm and do the turns when the line between my hand and foot is way outside my center. Again, when I "step through" that line, things seem to work much better, and I don't have to force the technique. Pat used the analogy of stepping through a barbed wire fence - stepping on the lower wire, and raising the upper one with your hand as you step through.

I need to remember that I shouldn't be forcing uke's hand down after the turns in 5-8. It's much better to position my body in such a way that my arm is able to just fall in a relaxed way. When that happens the technique works much better. Lastly, we camped out on release #6, moving into aikinage and aigamaeate.

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