Thursday, June 02, 2011

The difference a year makes.

Its been one year exactly since the last post on this blog and there has been a lot of changes in my life since then. The video blog project fell through almost right after its inception. I moved back to Mississippi from Washington State. Several other upswings and downturns occurred but yesterday one of the biggest things for me personally finally happened: I taught my first class!

Who would have thunk it?

Even though I've been doing aikido for years and I always had a somewhat illusive concept I would teach one day, I never really believed the day would actually come. At the end of the day I suppose it was nothing really special (class activity to be described shortly) but its a milestone we all get to at some point or another if we continue our practice.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at getting a local group together vs. schedule conflicts and disinterest I was able to get a friend of one of the Starkville instructors and a friend of mine (who has done some aikikai) to meet up at a local park. The class was what I assume would be standard "this is aikido" fare. After some chatting with the new aikidoka and my friend we did stretches and a little intro ground ukemi. Nothing to report on the ukemi really, just forward rolling from a kneeled position and backwards falling with emphasis on the "sitting on the couch" focus I learned from Pat. The new guy picked it up rather well.

The next thing we worked on was tegatana no kata, the walking kata. I went through the entire kata once as a walk through, breaking down which directions we were going in and how the turns were executed. The next few reps we did with just the first 3 sets: diagonal moves, side steps, and turns. Stepping on the balls of the feet was emphasised for these.

Hanasu was our next segment. All of the eight techniques for Hanasu are wrist releases and I had us work on the first three as a primer. We worked on all three pretty slowly as I wanted them both to get used to feeling the moves in three steps at kata speed. I also wanted them to get the concept of being good ukes so we used a firm initial grab to give tori something substantial to work with. It went great!

The last few things we did was Shomen ate and Aigamae ate from Nijusan. I went over Shomen ate first then explained the idea of the "cow catcher" block against an incoming attack. After several reps of both we moved onto aigamae ate. On this we worked on staying behind uke's arm and allowing uke to decide when he would stand up to face tori.

All in all it was a lot of fun for me and I believe they had a blast as well. It has always seemed like a daunting task in the past, but once I actually got to show people some aikido it was a relaxed thing. I just tried to show them what I know and help them understand it the way I do, which I guess is the whole concept behind instruction.

Can't wait to get better at it! If anyone has advice I am all ears....

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