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Sensei demonstrates -- we copy, to the best of our ability, but looking around how many differences do you see.
It's also interesting in Aikido, when we see the ‘same' technique performed differently, from different Sensei's and associations, each one equally valid.
In November Sensei McAuley was teaching Gokyo from Shomen Uchi during the Tuesday class, Sensei Derrick then showed a different method on Sunday, and during training Sensei Dean Sheldrake showed yet another version.
In each case the technique worked, using the gokyo ‘form'
This got me to thinking -
How strictly do we follow the set form and still call it ‘my' technique?
How much can we adapt our technique, and yet still follow the set form?
I remember attending a seminar with Judo Sensei Chris Dalton, who addressed this issue by comparing it to 3 famous artists creating a picture of the same building --
One painting in water colours.
One drawing in pastels.
One drawing with ink.
All 3 would be slightly different, even though they had worked from the same form, none could be called right or wrong -- just a different interpretation.
These expressions of personality should and will over time happen naturally.
If we compare a shihonage performed by a short and tall person, we will notice natural differences, due to their respective body mechanics.
However one should not set out to change their techniques, for no other reason than to be different or to appear special.
We obviously need to follow correct set form as closely as possible for our grade examinations, over time your confidence and understanding will develop within your techniques the more of your personality and ‘self' you will be able to express naturally in our techniques.