Well, day 3 was also excellent. I got a good nights sleep in the hotel and was relatively ok in the morning. I went to breakfast in my wheelchair whilst the pain killers took effect and I met two fellow aikidoka. D’oh…that’s my illusion of being able-bodied blown! Luckily they were two of the Salisbury guys who already knew I had mobility issues so I didn’t have too much explaining to do. Although in pain from my pelvis and knee I was surprisingly functional and managed all the sessions again much to my surprise.
I learned that I step back far to early in ikkyo ura and if I delay the step with my back leg then it is much better. I also made some progress in my ongoing mission to have half a scoobie about tai no henko. I had thought that a grab in handshake orientation was best dealt with by an old-style tai no henko and a palm down should required an Iwama- style response. This turns out not to be true and is a huge over simplification. On the course I learned how to mix and match any presentation to either tai no henko. I also learned an important point about how flexing at the wrist affects the energy flow and makes much more strength required to get past. In ryote kata dori attack I learned how to “float” with the initial movement which means matching the speed and direction of uke rather than remaining still this allows an acceleration-type effect when you start the technique because uke is continuing at entry speed rather than having been slowed down by me first. Pat sensei made multiple corrections to my hanmi and I really hope I can keep some of them and not slide back into old habits. Mainly I need to bend my back leg much more. I learned that there are at least two types of high fall and the one I do is too slow for a full speed shihonage. I did learn the new way of high falling from shihonage and I need to make sure I practise it since I only had a precarious understanding of it. I learned a new throw for use in randori and perhaps the best thing I learned (not from Pat sensei!!) is how to pee without taking your hakama off. I never would have imagined that a persons bum would fit out of the leg of a hakama but I’ve seen it done and with the correct undergarments I think it could be an essential skill for me to learn.
Overall the teaching was at an advanced level but since many things were arranged with the same beginnings it was possible to practise the beginning of each without too much concern for the multiple henka. Changing partners frequently but doing similar techniques is really valuable since some people have wildly different ideas of what has just been shown. Sensei Pat also adjusts her corrections so those of us less able are corrected on basics such as posture and she ignores small errors in difficult techniques. All this meant that I never felt out of my depth even though so much of it was beyond me. I really enjoyed the whole course and feel like it was of huge benefit to my training. I’m sure that, health permitting, I will be going back down next year when it will be held in Salisbury.