Some things that stand out right now are the extreme differences of pressure that come up when doing a technique. There's the incorrect way of just bully-ing through the motion which i still go through sometimes when a push/pull situation comes up (more on that in a minute) but then there is the eye opeining difference between dead arm weight and a practically feather touch. I know that that may seem an obvious thing but untill Sensei Rich showed me how i can be moved around with a pinky finger and when chris and i did some of the nijusan stuff i didn't even begin to think just how much of an ocean of difference it made. It seems that whenever something like that becomes apparent to me the figurative half full 8oz glass of water that is my brain suddenly gets empty. SO MUCH TO LEARN! And the bonus is that i'm no where near close to dying of old age.
The other thing that came up was the aforementioned push/pull idea. This came up alot when we were doing number 6 and 8 of hanasu. I've been having some trouble with this for the last few weeks but nothing can throw in the monkey wrench quicker than a new idea. We've been doing it where we follow an uke through to the arm turn but starkville does it where uke stops as soon as that contact is made (Just had a question pop up: Why would an uke stop in mid motion if there's no resistance? If he's coming forward at me as i step off the line what would incline him to suddenly change direction when his foot comes down? At the moment it would seem like a extra effort to do that) and then changes direction 45 or so degrees and walk in that direction. It's a cool switch from the norm but when i was trying to re-orient myself with uke i ended up pulling outward when i should have been pushing. Sensei Rich brought this up during one of our sessions that pushing was a better idea to have because as your arm is moving out you can't exactly pull away from your center of gravity easily. I also think that it's an easier thing mentally to get in the habit of doing, atleast in my case i feel less complicated to push and follow than pull and follow.
Both of these things that came up seriously altered the way i look at aikido. I think my extensions are better because of the pushing thing and my ideas about leading and moving got yet another callibration, though as usual it was greatly needed. I began to see just how the pushing movement made any motion in an upward direction that much more offbalancing for uke and i also noticed how it fits into jodo or just about anywhere for that matter. Not just offbalancing though but less complicated. That's another thing i just sorta noticed... though there is more for me to learn and work on certain ideas seem a bit more..sure i guess? Or a better way to put it is that there's less clutter in my thinking right now.. i just hope unlike my room it stays that way.
The randori session we had was really great. I have a greater appreciation for just how light Kristof's movments are now. Something that became glaringly obvious was that i have got to keep my arms centered when i move. I was having a embarasingly bad time keeping that straight so halfway throught the weekend i made it my mission to start practicing more on tegatana and keeping my arms in the right place, i just hope that i can keep it in my head not to try and keep them centered by force or all i did this weekend will be shot.
I can't really do this weekend justice by saying it was awesome. It was definately a unique experience and can't wait for the chance to do something like that again. I met cool people, made some friends, and learned really cool aikido. Definatley.
Though i am a bit disapointed that Woodhenge actually exists.