Last night we didn't have an extremely large class. I think there were ten of us altogether, but seven of us were yudansha so we kicked it up a notch for training. We all warmed up and did suburi and kirikaeshi together and then we broke into smaller groups for uchikomi practice. We've done this a few times lately and it gives me a different perspective on the drills. Instead of being part of a big, rotating line of people, I'm able to do my practice and then step back more frequently to watch the rest of my group go through their strikes and techniques before jumping back in for my turn. I appreciate the new information or outlook that I get by doing these kinds of practices, and it's really good to be able to see my dojo mates and how they move and strike. How does Seth strike kote so well? How is Billy so fast with that men strike? What small tells do they have, or don't have, when they are moving to strike? There's a lot of benefit to watching and learning through watching, and I've heard before that this is called mitori-geiko. We worked on a lot of oji-waza last night. My strongest ones were debana kote and nuki men, which I do use quite often in jigeiko and in matches. My kaeshi dou still leaves much to be desired. I think it's gotten progressively worse, actually, since I hardly ever use it. I can definitely use it and it's effective, to a point, but the setup and timing are lost on me sometimes when faced with faster partners and opponents. It's definitely something I'll have to work on more if I want to make it a viable technique to use.
Sinclair Sensei brought up a good point on Monday, and it's one that Wendy reinforced with us last night. He said to think of a canvas. A blank canvas, ready for you to create a masterpiece. Every day you see the canvas and draw a red line on it. At first the line is faint, light, but it's there. Each day you add another layer of paint on the line, and the color becomes deeper, richer, and more pronounced. This is what happens when we show up and push ourselves at practice. Each time we come and work on improving ourselves we are making that line darker and richer. But when we show up and just go through the motions, or we don't show up at all, we can actually end up taking layers off of that paint, so that it starts to become lighter and faded again. What this means to me is that each day I show up I should work to improve myself. If I can't improve myself physically, because of an injury of some issue I'm having that day, I should work on improving my spirit, or my form, or any other number of things that don't require much physical effort, or that will isolate those parts that I can't quite work on at the moment. There's always a way to improve and to push myself, and I should be hungry to make that line as deep and dark and rich with color as I can.