After months of false starts and schedule animosity John and i finally headed down to the Kissimmie, FL area to see Sensei Charles Crist at his dojo. His dojo is in his garage which was cool to us given out little slice of heaven downstairs and Pat's dojo back home...the Fugakukai tradition continues.
Sensei Charles is a great guy and even better teacher. The class started off with ukemi and his students are AWESOME at it. I have to say when it came to my turn i was a little intimidated. They were all very fluid in their motion and came right back up and rolled right back down again. I have seriously got to practice more, it was a clear view of what i need to aim for.
Next we did tegatana but the switch from what we're used to came in the form of doing it by the count. It was a different tempo to attempt and i found myself looking around once or twice to make sure i was on the right foot or hadn't skipped ahead by accident.
Then came nijusan. I really enjoyed this part of class (which luckily lasted the rest of the session). Tori would step out on the mat and the rest of the students would line up and attack with a straight arm to the chest at what Sensei Charles called "actual speed". It was a different animal from measuring off at ma'ai and making a single step/lunge forward but i dug it. Shomen ate, Aigamae ate, and gyaku gamae ate were all easy for me to go through but gedan ate, the black sheep, reared it's head again. As we lined up for it i was curious to see how they were able to use the technique in the midst of all this dynamic movement and avoidance. The way they practice it is different from ours...but i think (because i'm able to make this work much better) that it's more effective. It involves the same idea...a "failed" attempt at gyaku gamae ate but instead of getting under the arm for a bumping off balance it uses uke's other arm being turned over the first to cause him to air fall onto the ground.
The one we practice the most often, Sensei Charles said, seems to work best as a linear move instead of happening in the parameters of what their type of nijusan creates. He still has the regular version of it up on his techniques page and all of them are worth looking at.
Afterwards we talked about aikido and whatnot and said our goodbyes. I walked away with a refreshed sense of aikido. Our time in class gave me another opportunity to see how aikido works no matter how it's approached and a few new ideas to use when i travel back home next week.
And soreness...jeeze it's been a while since i've practiced.