Goto Sensei got us started, at the beginning of the first Aikido class of 2006, doing forward rolls the length of the mat. I inwardly groaned at this, since I'd been away from the dojo for three weeks and was feeling very stiff and inflexible. But, along with Akiko and Cory, I got down on my knees, worked my arms into a kokyu-circle, and. . . away we go.
I got dizzy and crashed into a heater at the far end of the mat, then staggered getting up and crashed into the shoe rack.
That was how my Aikido year, 2006 got off to a start.
We talked a little about Tatoian Sensei's impending departure to the Phillipines, where he'll hook up with some high-ranking teachers, including Hitohiro Saito Soke, and continue preparations for the construction of his new dojo south of Manila in Tagaytai. This trip, his second in six weeks, was supposed to be just another visit before his permanent relocation later this year.
But when I talked with Tatoian Sensei earlier this week I had the weird feeling that he was just going to go next week and not come back. Over the holidays and during his November absence I'd grown out of touch with his dojo and his students, so I don't know what the situation is for continued training while Tatoian Sensei is gone. Maybe Bryan will look in and provide a comment.
Meanwhile, today's training focused on katate dori ikkyo omote and ura, which seems like a fine way to begin the year. At roughly the beginning of the curriculum. We practiced stepping off to the side into hanmi, not just leaving the trailing foot out in the middle of the mat. In the picture Goto Sensei is reminding us to make an atemi too. We practiced raising the grabbed hand as though holding a sword, which alleviated us from having to reach across and absurdly try to drag uke's hand across our bodies. Down that road lies rotator cuff surgery. At one point Goto Sensei had us all strike laterally and then front to back with a bokken. It was the exact motion he wanted us to make empty-handed for ikkyo omote.
He said, "make your weapons training look like your tai jutsu, and make your tai jutsu look like your weapons training."
Soon he shifted us to ikkyo ura waza, and this involved a technical change allowing us to rotate our throws to the rear. I thought hard about how Hitohiro Sensei had taught ikkyo ura in October, and tried to extend uke as I captured the elbow, just before the throw. It was hit and miss, but we were all going very slowly and I think I saw where I was getting off track. I wasn't stepping in with the proper hip rotation as I entered to capture the elbow. "Do them simultaneously," Goto Sensei said. I tried it and the technique felt smoother.
By the end of class at least two people had come into the dojo and taken information flyers, one of them asking about class times. It felt good to think that perhaps we might have some new training partners as the new year unfolds.
technorati tag aikido