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This has been the schedule week from hell for me. I am taking a class, and it requires about 4 hours of homework a night. It really does not leave time for Aikido. That said, doing Aikido has become part in a way of who I am. So while I only got in three classes this week, and I was late to all of them, I worked as hard as I could. I felt the tension of sitting at a desk all day, working on mentally stimulating subjects, fall away with the physical workout in aikido. It was a great week. We worked on Irimi Nage all week long, probably my weakest technique. Tuesday was frustrating, but I was learning, Thursday was so frustrating, I felt like I couldn't even get the stuff that I knew in there, let alone the new stuff that Sensei and my sempies were teaching me. Thursday we worked on Irimi Nage all class too my frustration was even worse on Thursday than Friday. Friday we worked on Irimi Nage from Kihon, and worked on getting our technique as precise and accurate as possible while doing them. This was great, I focused on some of the things that I was doing, and when working with Sempies had some great stuff pointed out to me, I also was blessed in being thrown by Sensei a lot on Friday, and it was great, I could feel some of the parts of the technique when we were doing it slow, that I would never have understood, or have been able to see watching. It was great. Working with two of the Sempies really helped me out a lot, the smoothness, and ability not only to blend, but allow you to gently drop to the mat was amazing. It really was great! Hey and Friday since it was a long class, I even wore my Hakama!
Take always from the week: Keep my arms and THE UKE in front of my center. Allow the Uke somewhere to go that allows them to walk through the arch that I have created with my heaven hand. You don't need to really pull on their shoulder, but you do need to make a place that it stops completely. Feeling things because they were going so very slowly was awesome. I even got a few "very good" comments from Sensei!!!!
The contrast between my class and Aikido is striking. The difference between something that has very narrow "right" answers and a gradient that address people where they are as holistically as possible is so striking this week that I am physically struck by the contrast, between the two learning and teaching methods. The traditional education methods in this country and most of the others that I have been in some 18 of them in the last 4 years or so, are wrong, I have thought this for some time. I have been able to navigate them with some alacrity for so long that I have not bothered to look at the systems as successes or failures. The systems that we expose our children, young adults, and even ourselves to on occasions are poor at best, and severely damaging as a norm to our growth, learning, and sense of self. The methods that Tom Gambell uses in his part of the world although I fail at this point to completely understand them seem far superior, I wonder however could he teach math that way….Somehow I think that he could…..What would that be like???? Kinetic engineering…oh wait that is one of the classes that he teaches three times a day twice a week. :-)
Some part of all of it comes down to powerful compassion. Something that I don't completely have a handle on yet. Something though that most of the people in our society are missing in their goals to become powerful. The compassion is gone. What would it take to make them understand that they are powerful already, and that they have ways in which they alter the world for the better or the worse everyday in their existence. Aikido? Hmmmm….. The compassion is where the real power comes in. I can feel the power under all of sensei's techniques, they are powerful I "FEEL" in part because of the compassion that they spring out of. Fear, Anger, Resentment, none of them would have the power that Sensei's compassionate techniques feel.
Working with the new people is great, I used to dread it, incompetence meets incompetence in a big way. Now I see from the other side what I knew when I was first starting out, that vectors from ourselves upward are invisible, that even though I do my best to show newer people what I know and how to do the technique "correctly", I know that I am doing tons of things less than perfectly. However there is a range of perfect, and where we are on that range is perfect for us the moment that we are there. (WOW that sounded wooo woooo!)
Strangely for the first time in my life I dread the idea of having to go on vacation the end of December, that is looking like two weeks of no Aikido mat time.
The aikido student asks the aikido master; "Master, what happens after I throw them if they get up and attack again?" The master replies; "You throw them again". The student asks again "what happens after I throw them if they get up and attack again"? The master replies; "You throw them again". The pattern is repeated for several minutes, until the face of the master lights up, and he says; "Oh you mean the kind of people that get up again and again! Then the person is obviously trying to commit suicide with you as their instrument of death. Kill them with as much compassion and honor as you can. For they must be in much pain to seek such a violent death."