Sempai's Log Star Date 06 08 2013
- Today's class started right off the bat with shikko and ukemei warm ups around the entire perimeter of the tatami. The students had to be aware of the person ahead of them and control their rolling. My greener students were able to work in the center of the mat this way with the assistance of my sempai. We then drilled our tankan and taino tankan techniques with focus on getting lower in stance and sweeping with the feet to the ground, not picking up our feet. When moving on to flow drills, we continued to focus on moving our lower body without picking up our feet. They had to really focus on their center of gravity being stable this way instead of rushing through the technique with quick, unstable steps. I could see a few light bulbs going on when they realized that the lower stance and sweeping feet greatly added to the success of the technique.
With the second hour I was able to make three groups. Group 1 drilled more mae ukemei as well as intro to ushiro ukemei for the very new students. Every single one of them made enormous strides today and had awesome safe and quiet rolls! Group 2 worked with showmen uchi and yokomen uchi vs. tsuriagi. We focused on proper attack against a fixed target first, then added in tsuriagi once we had an effective attack. They realized how important it is to "begin" the technique much earlier than they thought.
Group 3 included only two senior students so they were able to focus on showmen uchi vs. ikkyo and sankyo. They were able to focus more directly on proper position and "using only the amount necessary" to begin with. I described this thought via a horse riding analogy. I asked them how they'd ask their horse to move forward. The first answer was "spurs". I explained that if I first ask my horse to move with spurs, it is a more painful and aggressive approach, thereby making my horse unhappy from the get go. They immediately then realized the first queue should be a leg squeeze instead. I ask my horse first by providing a gentle "aid". If that does not elicit response then I ask by using a more forceful leg "kick". If a and b get no reaction, I then have c, my spur or whip. I asked them to apply the same analogy to their pins. Instead of "cranking" on the uke from the beginning, unify your technique with the energy, or response, that the uke is providing to you.
We finished up class with that concept being relayed to all students no matter what the technique. Remember to flow with the energy. It is not necessary to "spur" our uke right out of the box.
Quote of the Day: "Be nice to your ponies and your ukes if you want to use them again!"