We had a seminar at the dojo this weekend: Mitsugi Saotome, Shihan, my teachers' teacher. He's incredible--it's not that old aikido masters are necessarily powerful in the way we usually think, but if you attack them, you're going to fall down and it's entirely up to them whether you get to lay hand on them in the process. I was lucky enough to take ukemi from him once, and he was sort of holding me in place without much effort. That did depend on my continuing to exert force against him; in theory I could have disengaged and tried a different attack, but when you do that, the higher the rank of the person you try to attack that way, the harder and faster you'll hit the floor (and as one friend pointed out, the more likely they are to apologize to you as you lie pinned and heaving on the ground).
Four two-hour sessions over two days, but I petered out midway through the last session, as my knee started to get a little sore and I realized I have an aikido test on Tuesday which is really more important than driving myself to overtrain for no good reason.
Seminars are kind of strange, because in my experience the teacher usually isn't teaching a technique, often using techniques that everyone knows and not being overly concerned about the particulars (the more so because seminars have an even greater variety of aikido styles than regular classes). Instead they try to get across an idea or a feeling; a way of being expressed through the technique. And for a little while, we students do the technique with some of the spirit of how the teacher does it, and then it fades. Maybe the seminar links our ki with the teacher's: a student once told O-Sensei, "When you're here I can do all these techniques perfectly, and when you're gone I have difficulty." O-Sensei said that when he was there he linked his ki with the student's and that helped him do the technique. It feels like that still happens to us.
For something to do tonight I rented Starship Troopers, an over-the-top sci-fi parody. It's funny, for the most part, but just for what it is, rather than anything the characters say or do. It's also about 40 minutes too long, quite grotesque, and sometimes just too loud. Not a wasted rental, though.