At Aikido Mugenjuku we believe in constant focus on and polishing of our basics so it was a really good chance for our advanced students to focus on some easy movements and really work on improving any weak points.
Anyway, today we had two classes back to back. The first one is what we call a weapons class. In the weapons class we practice Bokken (wooden sword )and Jo (wooden staff) forms both by ourselves and with partners. In the first half of the weapons class, we did Yoshinkan Aikido kihon dosa with a Bokken. The added weight of the sword makes for good core muscle building and balance training.
In the second half of the class, we worked on some Jo basics and them finished with some Kumi-jo (Jo forms done in pairs). The video below is of two of our students performing Kumi-jo at the All Japan Enbutaikai last November.
In the second class, we spent some time on ukemi and trying to doing it very slow and controlled. Then we worked on some more kihon dosa but this time without a Bokken. We finished off the last 20 minutes with some half speed hajime geiko (techniques done in succession without much break time in between) to practice the techniques for the 6th kyu test. Everyone trained really hard today!
Today’s class was a weapons class but for the first thirty minutes we practiced many types of Ukemi. In particular we practiced taking back break falls simulating a situation where you fall backwards over something. This kind of ukemi training is always interesting because the timing is very different from the nice controlled normal back break falls we do.
After ukemi practiced we worked on staff forms. 13 and 31 jo-kata and we ended the class with some kumi-jo (jo-kata with a partner). It’s always a challenge to give an honest atack with weapons because we’re afraid of hurting each other. Without an honest attack we can’t correctly learn the forms. But if we practice the forms correctly and slowly we can get give honest attacks safely and help our partner avoid developing bad habits due fear of getting hurt.