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Day 4 marked the first class for the remaining Shihan. It turned out to be a great yet humbling day.
I also have made a new friend, Eita from Israel. We talked quite a bit about what was going on in Isreal and Judaism in general. It was very interesting as there was quite a bit I didn’t know or understand about both.
Also, it turns out he was recommended to take the Godan test by Nagato although he was only a Nidan. I talked to him about my similar experience. Turns out that he has been training for almost 10 years, so he is bery qualified. I gave him what little advice I could, and reassured him that he should do fine (which I’m sure he will).
Shiraishi Sensei class is always a pleasure and a challenge. Again the key is on his subtle deliberate movements.
His method of foot work spine work hand work does pay dividends. It was interesting to see him teach Sanshin no Kata. Although not dramatically different in overall movement, the subtle positioning and shifting of weight makes it feel like brand new. While watching his feet I began to realize that I have seen the other Shihan demonstrate it similarly, just with different emphasis.
He then began to show kihon with his method of movement. It makes the attacker more confused about where the attack is coming. And since the uke is effectively connected to the tori, the twisting of the spine affects their balance dramatically.
I went in feeling fairly confident I had gotten better with Nagato Sensei’s movement since it was something I had worked quite a bit on. However I found class very difficult as I tried to follow his Taijutsu. There would be moments where I’d suddenly feel I got it – until the next technique was shown.
What proves difficult for Nagato Sensei is also what makes his Taijutsu so intriguing; he is constantly dancing and moving on the periphery of range while he is constantly switching hands. Yet he does it so gracefully it is easy to miss exactly what he is doing.
Nagato also performed a hanbo technique on me that I was struggling with – I think part to help and part to have some fun with me. He had me flopping on the ground as drove is nails into my cuticles while I looked up at him and seeing a small grin on his face. I would let out chuckle in between hisses and yelps. Pain can be fun.
His class is indeed a challenge, but I am determined.
I was particularly excited with Someya’s class since he had to cancel the last one. I wanted to see more of the Kihon and sure enough so did everyone else.
I was surprised at both the number of technical details I was missing, as well as techniques that were very different than I had assumed. I was uke for the class and had to execute some serious Ukemi as I got flung.
The pain from the joint locks was steering and explosive – like a dagger. I was sure at any moment I would be snapped. But there were no injuries, demonstrating his level of control.
Yet I also noticed this time around some very subtle shifts he would do at the beginning of the technique. He even confirmed that these were intentional and part of the technique.
I always enjoy the intensity of his class as well as its technical nature. It’s also a good reminder that I need to work on my ukemi.
It seems the theme of this trip is subtlety as I notice more and more subtle things each Shihan does that dramatically changes the dynamics (and success) of a technique.
Hopefully this is a sign of improvement.
Tomorrow, a first class ever with Rob Renner and another Hatsumi Sensei.