Excellent lesson with Al last Monday...
--MOVE IN around pocket! Staying in one place while pocketing allows Al to do whatever else he wants.
--Tool replace, penetrate and/or smother with shoulder while moving in, rather than staying out and trying to free arms if arms feel blocked.
--Don't second-guess yourself! Al punishes you (grabs arms, hits, etc.) primarily when you stop moving because you hesitate when things don't go as planned. Trust your sensitivity and keep moving!
--Allow arms to "fall" in when being suppressed (i.e. swing below obstruction) while using body to tool replace, penetrate and/or smother.
--Subtle pulsing: just a change in contact point from fingertips to palm (no pushing!) allows opponent to feel your structure. From there, no matter what he does (e.g. yield, push or go somewhere else), you're ready to take advantage.
Matt Kovsky, after watching part of the lesson, commented that I tend to stand too tall (i.e. straight-legged) when working with Al. Gotta remember that for next time!
Also, Matt implored me not to allow even much more experienced training partners to build pressure at the beginning of a contact flow engagement. Patrick, a fellow student, pointed out that he sees in me a bad habit that he deals with himself: When he begins contact flow with Al or Matt, he finds himself observing and thinking about what they're doing, as opposed to simply moving with the initial contact as he should. This allows the more experienced person to pulse or do whatever else he wants with the initial contact. The solution to this for the less experienced person is to simply not think about the fact that your training partner is more experienced, so that instead of watching/worrying about what he's going to do, you just trust your sensitivity and move normally. As it says in the book, you should be "reaching out" with your sensitivity in order to engage his intent and begin to move with him even before contact is made. Matt's and Patrick's diagnosis actually makes a lot of sense, and is something I'll work to correct--even if it may "feel" slightly disrespectful to do to people like Matt and Al. But hey, "respectful disrespect," according to John, is the way to go.
Looking forward to the Master Class with John this coming Sunday. . . .