Small class yesterday – Xmas is getting close.  We worked on how the different escapes (irimi, tenkan, and tenshin) get you out of trouble while leaving you in the right place to control uke.  We did some techniques from kosa dori, katate tori, tsuki (chudan and jodan), yokomen uchi and shomen uchi.

It is of course important to control distance, angle relative to uke’s attack (and line of energy), and angle of nage’s energy.  Atemi is important to both keep uke at the right distance and control his posture.  We mostly worked on ikkyo and shihonage, but the principles work for any attack and any technique, though sometimes it is difficult to practice them unless uke responds in the way you need. (If not, then something else works, but that makes it hard to hone a technique.)

Aikido is like dancing in that uke’s and nage’s movements are synchronized and related to one another.  This can be the most difficult part of a technique to simulate slowly, even though it generally happens naturally at speed.  When uke does something unexpected, it is usually because nage didn’t to something quite right.

We finished by practicing escapes from multiple attacks, both one after the other and simultaneously.  Of course, for ukes to attack simultaneously, nage must be cooperating by staying on one place.  If nage moves constantly and correctly, it is almost impossible for even two ukes to attack at the same time, so simultaneous attacks are the worst case situation.

It is very important for nage to avoid signaling where and when he is going to move (pre-motion, telegraphing).  This can be quite difficult to avoid, but it was noticeable how little pre-motion there was the time I saw Saotome Sensei demonstrating randori.

One more practice this year.  Please tell all your friends that new students can practice for free throughout January!

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