Jerry Zimmerman teaches at the dojo every other week. I always look forward to his classes. His demonstrations and explanations are very clear, and I always feel I learn much from him. He's a heck of a nice guy, too. I wish he came around more often, but I guess Jerry is busy with his own dojo, Aikido of North Jersey. I keep meaning to plan a trip to his dojo, maybe some upcoming Saturday morning.
The class focused an attack I need more work with, katatori. Although I should know better, I often don't get my center involved enough in the opening kusushi. Jerry came over and demonstrated and almost bowled me over! His center is very strong. Strong and soft at the same time if you know what I mean. Also, his posture and form are pretty much perfect.
We did lots of different variations. We even did nikkyo tachi and suwari waza. I just had to do that suwari waza for my test on Sunday, but I felt I learned a lot more about it yesterday. I wish I had that class before the test! Anyway, that one still needs a lot of work.
We did a sumi otoshi variation as well. That really needs good timing and a committed attack to be effective, otherwise it's just going through the motions. I almost felt like I grabbed a center here and there. ;)
Finally we did kokyu ho, but morotetori, not the usual ryotedori. At first, I was completely flummoxed. I mean, don't move the water dish like that! But as I started to get into it, I got more of an idea of what it should be like. It's really not at all different from ryotedori. The same idea and movement.
After class, I asked Jerry a bit more about how I should approach morotetori kokyu ho and he talked about making the connection, center to center and relaxation, of course. I want to keep fooling with this, it's a valuable practice.
The kind of relaxation I'm trying to develop is what the Chinese call "song" or "jing" which has more to do with lack of tension, subtleness and responsiveness than it does to the traditional Western idea of "relaxing." Anyway, I find it very hard to do this, especially in my shoulders. If I'm not consciously thinking about taking the tension out of my shoulders, they just keep rising and rising, but I've mentioned this before...
Here's a video clip of Jerry teaching at the aikikai: