This weekend I finally got to make it back out to Pat's for some Aikido (an extended Aikido session, no less)! It's been way too long. Sicknesses (on both sides of the state line), honey-do lists, tire blowouts, and the FDIC have all conspired together to make me miss about 4 consecutive weekends. I say I'm "partially" back in the saddle, because I know of a couple more weekends coming up in May that I'll have to miss, but I should be able to get back to my regular schedule after that.
Every part of class was an exercise in shaking cobwebs out of my mind. We started with tegatana, and did that a couple of times. The first "wrong-footed" turn screwed me up both times. Pat talked at length about otoshi motions and garuma motions, and we tried tegatana while mentally counting "otoshi, garuma, otoshi, garuma..." and so on instead of "1, 2, 3, 4" etc. I've assigned that to myself as a long-term homework project. I still have a problem with otoshi and garuma "clicking" in my head.
We went through releases 1-8 (more cobwebs). The we played with getting a gedanate out of a release 5 or 7. I need to remember to keep my shoulder relaxed so I don't interfere with uke's natural garuma motion if and when I miss the timing for the otoshi motion. I commented to Pat that it seems to me the higher numbered techniques are not the advanced Aikido material - the subtle principles (such as otoshi/garuma), and the ability to use them, are the real advanced stuff. I also need to remember to close the distance before trying gedanate, so more of my body acts as a "feeler" rather than just my hand. Easier to find the right timing to execute the technique that way.
Lastly, we played with the first three or four techniques from Owaza Ju Pon. Super slick, super cool stuff. Magic-looking stuff. I can't wait to be able to do those well! I love the way so many Aikido techniques come out problems with other techniques. It's a brilliantly fault-tolerant system.
It was really nice being back. I needed that.