Today we did "concrete aikido", out in the driveway. All the unusual aspects of that (wearing shoes, Sloping ground, acorns/debris, gnats and sweat in my eyes, etc) tend to shake things up, which I think is good once in a while, since chances are pretty low I'll be attacked on a mat while I'm barefoot.
Our walking kata was odd - it's tough to "fall into a step" uphill. We also did the kata with a knife in one hand, and that changes it up even more.
Releases were wonky too; for some reason, release 2 gave me fits this morning, and it usually doesn't. We talked about not only getting off the line, but getting out of the "box".
We played with Junana 1-10 with a knife-wielding uke. It was really interesting, and we explored ways to keep the knife at arms length by not engaging shoulder muscles. We talked about how Junana 1 and 2 were pretty much the only things that consistently had a chance for knife defense.
I was happy to be able to make the Saturday session for this Spring's Aikido Buddies Gathering this weekend. Pat led us in an exploration of 2-hand grabs in Koryu Dai Ichi and we had a really good time playing with it. There was some very cool stuff in there.
Some of the guys from Starkville came down; it was great getting to train with Dr. Usher, Chops, Ross, and Tony. It was nice seeing Andy again too, and training with Jason, Kel, and good to meet Kevin, a striker who's a little new to Aikido.
One of the highlights to me was getting to play almost-full-speed randori with Andy for a while... Pat and I normally practive very slowly, and Pat has probably 20+ years experience on me, so it was nice to see the effect of our normal training expressed in a more chaotic situation with someone closer to my level.
Bottom line: wow, the day was really fun. We ended with Kel's shodan demo and promotion. Big congratulations to him!