Little House In Ise

More on Dojo Etiquette
October 22, 2007, 23:17
Filed under: Aikido, Japan | Tags: , , , , , ,

Tonight’s class was one of those rare, unplanned all yudansha classes. Sensei took the opportunity to get into nitty gritty. In my case he was focusing on how I behaved in my role as uke more than how I did technique. I was his uke all evening and after I back-rolled out of a shihonage he called a pause to the demo. It wasn’t to give a reprimand, rather, it was a teaching opportunity. He said that proper behavior as uke for the demo portions of class was to take the fall, hold position and then stand up for the next attack. I had been rolling out and starting my next attack immediately. Sensei’s point was that behavior that is appropriate and good during normal practice is not necessarily what shihan want during their demonstration. Mind you, all shihan will want something different but their technique is usually the focus of the demonstration so there needs to be time for the students to catch it. Immediately flowing into the next attack also has the uke setting the timing of the demonstration which is, once again, not necessarily the best way for students to pick up what is being taught. So, I stopped rolling out of his techniques and class progressed.

Later, another pause was called in order to correct my za-rei (seated bow). Now I know my bow is less than graceful, my wife always says my butt ends too high, but I had no idea that my feet were wrong too! It seems that the seated bow should be performed with the backs of ones toes flat on the mat. I had been bowing with “live toes” — toes extended, butt on heels. Good to know!

I didn’t notice much technique but there was one other bit of nitty gritty Aikido that I just loved. We were doing something or other from gyaku hanmi katatetori. My partner had strong, veiny, muscular forearms and he looked tough. When I grabbed for his wrist it was as though he was a ghost. His technique, for all its power, was remarkably soft. I spent our whole time together trying to copy the way he moved.

It was a good practice and a good night.


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