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I had started the day off in a particularly foul mood. I couldn't seem to get a grip on why I felt this way, there was a mounting tension in my entire being. On the way to Aikido, I started to discuss this with my wife, who was along for the ride. Yesterday the Sensei had me practice pushing against him, and being pushed against, he was explaining energy, connectedness, and flow. Somehow this physical practice, had surfaced an old but very large issue of mine, which I had never correctly processed. I was able to think about it clearly for the first time ever tonight. I was also able to see how it affected my life in a not too subtle way. I know that I need to work on this issue now, and I have a good handle on starting to heal and change myself. Not that it is a magical transformation, I just now, know that the issue is there, and that it MUST be worked on.
I wonder if others reading this will understand? It seems really hokey when I read over it now. I realized for the first time in my life, that there is a connection between your body and your mind in BOTH directions. I have long known, and at times practiced mind over body in situations which called for superhuman endurance. However this was the first time that working with my body, had helped my mind deal with an issue. I started Aikido exactly for this kind of insight into myself, something to help me on The Way. However I had no hope that I would see anything so soon, if ever, and definitely not this clearly. Perhaps treating my body as my enemy for the last 20 or so years, seeing it only as weak flesh to be bent to my will through shear mental effort, has left a number of lessons for the mind invisible. Maybe these issues have been growing, and any work where I started to see the two parts of the whole, mind and body, contained the opportunity to realize the presence of this issue? I don't know but it sure has been a powerful week for me.
Class tonight was great! I was worried that I would not be able to be in the minute, as I literally stepped out of the car to enter the dojo thinking about an issue who's roots I can trace to 1991. There were a number of people there, and I seem to have gotten through most of the warm up session without looking or feeling too out of place. I had some problems two stepping while trying to move my hands again. Sensei helped me with this at the end of class. I think I might have it for the next class.
I worked on the Mat with Bob, who is a Shodan. This was not apparent by his uniform, because at East Bay Aikido Hakamas are not worn as a badge of rank, yet they cover the uniform belt. It was very apparent from the first time that we practiced the first move together. I could feel his smoothness. His concentration when he was uke, was amazing. I learned a lot just by feeling him as my uke. It was interesting to watch him dissect the earlier (Simpler?) stuff that I was working on. It seemed that he had to bring it up from muscle memory to an intellectual level to answer my questions. It was very interesting to watch. Looking back on it, I realize that I was very present in the moment all through class. (Ok I was thinking about feeling stupid, when I got the rhythm of the clapping wrong at the beginning.)
I worked with Rick again tonight. He was kind enough to come over and help me with some exercises which were new to me in the warm up.
There is so much to learn, and again my Japanese fails me, I can't state what the techniques we did tonight were. I am going to ask Sensei if I can get a list of them next time that I am in class. At least that way I can look at them and try and fix them in my brain. I did do a new one though, which involved twisting the ukes wrist backwards. I have to get a list of the techniques that I am doing so I have some hope of entering them here, and of ever coming up with a common method of communication on them.
I need to work on rolling. Especially backwards!
Sensei posted a sheet of paper discussing rank on the bulletin board today. It was good to read, very different concepts in rank than I had ever heard before. Rank as responsibility in the dojo, rank as connectedness, and willingness to participate in the community of the dojo, and the fact that you did not have to achieve rank if you did not want to. ( I am still processing the idea of that…Being in a driven, hierarchal society in which upward mobility is most important, this is a new idea for me.) There was a list of projects that needed to be completed at the dojo, something that I had not seen before, but which I am sure was there before, as items were crossed off which had obviously been completed.
I was invited by another Aikidoka to come to the weapons class tomorrow. This seemed strange to me, but I was assured that beginners are welcome in the weapons class too. EEEK more to learn. I will see how I feel tomorrow. After one large mind issue, and my third training day, in my first week on the mat, I may require some time to recharge. Although I come out of each of the classes more charged up than when I went in.
My Gi is really hot in training. This is a major revelation. It didn't look like it could be this warm…