Well, a week has gone by for the Aikipenguin, and I've been remiss with this blog.
It's sometimes hard to keep up every day. Lots of days are imperceptibly different from the last... Though things are always happening, if only unconsciously.
I've been working on my posture, especially at the end of a throw. Yesterday, I had a kind of revelation about shihonage. I always knew I wasn't exactly throwing straight in front of me for this throw, but I never knew why. I think I've been unconsciously being "too kind" to my ukes, as Doug pointed out in the past, though I didn't get it at the time.
When it comes time to cut down and throw, unless uke is positioned perfectly, there is going to be some natural resistance from uke's arm angle. Fearful of hurting uke, I would turn my body in his direction to reduce the angle a bit. This might be fine for an inexperienced uke, but at a certain point, I have to learn to just trust uke will take care of himself and do it.
I was partnered with deshi Mariusz, who was a pleasure, and I suddenly realized where the throw should be. One reason was because there was little space on the mat, so we were working on carefully throwing along the line in the space carved out. I noticed that I was turning my body off the line for the throw, and simply stopped doing it. Of course, Mariusz had no problem with it, and suddenly I realized that this was the was it was supposed to be and I'd not been doing it all along! My body posture and connection to the ground immediately got better. Wow.
Now I'm thinking that is the same problem I have with iriminage. In particular, I've been working on my posture with that one. I think I'm doing the same thing -- turning my body slightly to make it easier on ukes who don't keep up. I can't wait to try it out.
It all makes sense, too. I know that some guys who can throw very effectively, regardless of how slow we are going. I think that has to do, at least to some degree, with this very point. If nage allows uke to dictate his body position, then unless the ukemi is perfect, nage will not do the technique in proper alignment. So the trick is to let uke follow, but make sure to place him in the right position and not let him drag me into an improper one.
It's funny how I've been trying to fix one throw, but I find the solution in a completely different one. It's just a matter of inches, but it changes the whole feeling! :)