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I was always bad at chemistry because I have trouble learning what I can't visualize. The world of molecules, ions, periodic tables, and formulaic balancing was lost on me—I couldn't see any of it, so as a result, nothing made sense. In aikido, I would grasp onto kernels of wisdom from various training partners to extract meaning from initially confusing techniques. Here are a few that I've filed away to refer back to:
First bokken suburi: To avoid using excessive arm strength while swinging the sword, therefore wearing yourself out faster, first "squash a bug on the tabletop with the hilt," then cut down and extend.
Ikkyo: To keep the ikkyo lock, "keep the Freddy Kreuger fingers pointing up."
Nikkyo Omote: The hand change is "like the axle of a train wheel staying vertical while going round," or "like holding a cup without spilling the water."
Nikkyo Ura: To keep the torque on uke's wrist, keep the palm facing you, "like looking into a mirror."
Sankyo: The hand change is "like peeling back the layers of an onion."
Yonkyo Ura: Keep uke's arm extended once in the yonkyo hold and "trace the radius of the circle before tracing the diameter" to bring down to the pin.
Kotegaeshi: When turning uke over for the pin, one hand holds the wrist while the other pushes the elbow to uke's nose. Then turn the arm "like a steering wheel" instead of pulling on it.
Iriminage: The free hand that takes down uke goes up and over the chin, "like a wave breaking over a rock."
Shihonage: During the takedown, "cut down like a sword."
Tenchi-nage: Upper arm rises straight up from uke's center "like a dragon to the heavens," lower arm spirals to the earth "like a nautilus."
Shomenuchi-to-Kaiten-nage-to-pin: Instead of grabbing uke's arm and using force, clinch it to the body "like holding a baby."
Katate-dori: Move the caught wrist off to the side "like a sword tip slicing outward from uke's belly center," or "like wiping a table."
Kokyu Ho: When extending in kokyu, lift the hands "like drinking from a big jug of water (glug-glug-glug)." ("Glug-glug-glug" courtesy of Sensei).
Morote-dori Kokyu Dosa: First open the palms "like a flower blooming," or "like opening a book."