This past Saturday was one of those days I did NOT want to get out of bed to go train. I spent most of Friday moving lots of dirt from one location to another with only a shovel. As a bonus, I got a terrific sunburn. So when the alarm went off on Saturday morning, I was tempted to stay in bed. Nevertheless, I got up and went to the dojo.
We started with our entry into kosotogari from a failed deashi barai. The we practiced "stepping around the corner" into a variety of other throws. We had an informative discussion about what is, and what is not, "the sweep". The motion I've been thinking of as the sweep, is really the "feeler"...the antenna (putting a foot on uke and getting feedback from it). The sweep is actually a "hamstring curl" motion once the "feeler" determines the time is right to execute. I don't mean a full-range hamstring curl, or even a large one...I'm talking about a small motion that originates in the hamstring rather than a lateral motion of the hip. Difficult to explain, but I get the concept mentally. Making my body do it is another matter. We spent a lot of time just practicing using the feet as feelers during some super-light randori. It's tough to get myself to do this. I consider myself an intelligent person, but days like Saturday make me feel like I have a learning disability. I certainly don't feel naturally gifted at this stuff. It's frustrating, but I suppose I'll get it eventually.
Once the feeler foot detects the opportunity for a sweep, that decision has to be made very quickly. My problem, as a newbie, is that if/when I recognize the chance, it's long gone.
For groundwork, we went over a few fundamentals, and some variations: 1) shrimping across the floor, 2) shrimping while keeping the non-pushing foot on an approaching opponent (as a control mechanism), 3) shrimping with a foot and a shin against an approaching opponent, so when he tries something, you can use it to help you move, and 4) shrimping with 2 hands on a point.
Pat talked about how to rest when your opponent is in your guard if you have to: keep him in an asymmetrical position. Seemed to work wonders on me! Kept me in a bind while he expended little or no energy. Again, it's tough for me to explain here.
Lastly, we briefly played with an Aikido Release #3, transitioning into kosotogari.
The biggest take-away for me from this lesson: Feelers, Feelers, FEELERS!!