This class we focused on the 2nd Aiki Taiso...ikkyo undo. Notice how in Ikkyo undo, the center moves, then the hand goes up, next the hand comes down and only then the center moves. This is opposed to funakogi undo where center, hands, center, hands is the basis of the movement.
When moving center forward, it is acceptable to sink, more so than to push or propel your hips forwards. This becomes especially true when you meet shomenuchi strikes head on. Moving forward will generally bring a conflict of energies, whilst sinking allows you to blend easier. At least at the start. Sinking though is not dropping down. The center movement is actually very fluid and relax. Rigidity or straining the core is not the right way of doing this exercise.
The hand moves up powered by center. Its a very relaxed movement that is also directed more by intent and ki extension. This movement is light but it is used in atemi.
The hand moves down naturally, like from floating hands to a drop with weight underside. It goes immediately to the sides near the center. Don't pull or push downwards.
Next the center moves to the original position. In each movement, the body remains vertical.
From this exercise, we started by exploring a mid level kamae. Uke and nage both position their hands touching each other and extend their fingers to each others throats. From this position, nage tries to push uke's hands away, Uke just continues to extend. Done right, uke should penetrate nage's defence and will be able to attack the neck. Next, nage maintains extension, and turns chushin. Done right, uke will follow the movement on nage's axis and thus offer his back to nage. We advance this training by having uke punch nage's face.
Next, we study movement to execute iriminage from the same position. Nage tries to push uke's hands diagonally away and uke should be able to respond with an elbow to the face. Nage tries to maintain the hand in the same position and try to slip beside uke, Uke should be able to enter and take nage's balance. Nage tries to cut down uke's hands and move to the side, whilst besides each other uke should be able to elbow nage's ribs. Now following the same exercise, nage turns chushin whilst maintain extension, and half steps into position besides nage. Continue to respect uke's ki and extend to the same direction (don't bring his hand down). Gather uke's head to your chest and execute iriminage. We advance this lesson into shomenuchi iriminage. Using the same principles. Extend hand lightly but intention is strong. Move chushin to redirect and blend. The don'ts are : Don't move forward or into uke. Don't stiffen up and block the strike. Don't stay rooted and get crushed by the full weight. Don't try to side step and get a faceful of elbow. and etc etc.
Next we looked at yokomenuchi. Before that, we did a refresher on striking. An example showed is how an ideal straight punch is done. Try punching a straight right with your right side. Now, try powering the punch using instead your left side and relax the right. The resulting punch should be more penetrating, faster and stronger with the latter. Similarly with yokomenuchi except you'll be powering it with your center instead. Hands kept at chushin, jodan, move forward and empty step the uke's ura then complete the strike.
In yokomenuchi, maintain nage's position. Extend hands as in ikkyo undo and turn chushin to accept the strike. Maintain vertical line. An irimi occurs from the changing forward toe, not by taking a step forward or leaning forward. Correctly done, uke's power is taken and they will enter kuzushi. Sink center and they will drop. Push them down and they will walk backwards to regain balance.
From this exercise we proceeded to do yokomenuchi ikkyo. From both striking hand and defending hand. Again movement must begin with extension, sinking of center and empty steps. Forcing uke into moving will result them getting their center back.
The dynamic jiyuwaza we ended the class with, identified many common mistakes. Most of us would stand there waiting for the attacks. In each case we get overwhelmed. Employ fluid movement but not to avoid, instead go meet and greet uke. Technique is done only if it feels right. If not just maintain control of chushin and move uke with you. Keep them as gifts for your other uke.