The Turning Point
Saturday was tanto dori (wooden knife practice) and after a few techniques Sidney Sensei had uke put the tanto to the back of nage at which point nage picked a side to swing around and choose the type of technique to use in response to the attack. Basically if you turned around and your chest is vulnerable, you went for nikkyo. Otherwise you went for kotegaishi.
But the point of the exercise wasn't clear until Sidney announced we had to responded the moment we felt the tanto touch our backs. Up to this time I was basically trying to remind myself what I might do and then turn around and pick the response. But Sidney's point was that we had to get used to responding at the moment of attack. We didn't have to perform the technique quickly, just start quickly.
It was really a neat experience, and reminded me why I practice Aikido. Not to to win (although that would be nice), but to to respond.
The video has some examples of some of what we worked on, although it is a bit flashier that our examples.