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Learning a martial art means not only shaping physical behaviors, but also changing mental and emotional reactions. Apart from any kind of training, my first, most natural reaction to sudden conflict is fear; sometimes causing me to freeze, sometimes to lash out, sometimes to run away. The success of any of these reactions is mostly dependant on luck, so any martial art must also address mental and emotional condition in the first moments before contact is even made between combatants. In my experience of Aikido, two particular concepts are taught that address our need for successful resolution of conflict; evasion and blending. Evading an attack is an obvious goal to any seeking training; not getting hit is a good goal. Blending seems much riskier, even counter-intuitive. Technique-wise, it certainly takes long years of diligent training to master. So before going too far down that path, it seems a good question to consider: what is the difference between evading and blending, and is blending a superior approach?
Learning to evade an attack is not necessarily an easy thing. Being able to react without fear, flinching or panic to a weapon swinging with speed and force at your body, particularly your face, is not natural. It takes time to learn timing, to be able to judge the direction and speed of a strike. You can't move the same way to evade a round-house and a straight in punch. As for the panic factor, well, it takes more than a couple of
Well, I suppose I am in a training "trough" as opposed to a "peak" this month.
It seems like my rolls are lumpy, I keep forgetting to tuck my chin on back fall, and I thump my knees when practicing shikko.
It all started in September, when the yudansha started leaning on me when I took too long to complete shionage. It's kind of humiliating to be used as a leaning post Perhaps I lost my center when I started to get frustrated about that, because everything just started to go south after that.
Part of me gets that this is the end of the beginning and the percursor to REALLY beginning. I have a lot of the vocabulary, I know how things "should" go, I can see and feel more about how things go. But I can't reliably pull things off on a consistant basis. Yet.
We just spent two classes this week on iikyo. Part of me feels like a kid with a broken toy. It isn't working. I know it's time to quit at the end of class, but I can't help wishing I could spend just 30 more min, but then knowing that it's more a matter of letting what we practiced in class "sink in" doing what I can at home to "walk thru" the technique, and then coming to the next class with a fresh body and a mind clear of frustrations/expectations.
On the upside, I'm acting as sempai for class a few times a month when Brian isn't there. Thursday we were projecting a throw from iikyo, almost a kitieinage throw. I swear, it's the first time I wish I had taken a breakfall -- Sense
Well, just back from fall camp. Things must have gone well, because I'm only wearing one brace (left knee) . The folks from Arizona Aikido did a great job setting everything up. And the weather couldn't have been better.
The experience of training with so many different people was great, but what did I take away? I guess time will tell, has MY aikido changed? Have I made progress that I wouldn't have realized if I had stayed home?
Everything was basics, something everyone, yudansha and mudansha can relate to and integrate more deeply into their aikido. From Sakakibara Sensei, I learned, "First your body moves, then your hand." We worked from static with only ki to keep uke connected. Next year I'm definitly going for the full camp (arrive thursday pm, train a full day Friday) . As I look back on it, think I was too excited and full of my own strength to really get the most out of his class. Veneziano Sensei spoke alot about finding the spiral in uke and following it. And if you think that might lead to a soft a twirly class, think again because, man, that lady runs a TOUGH class . In weapons in the afternoon, she taught a Bo kata adjusted for Jo, which I've already mostly forgotten . Well, I'll search for it on the web, maybe someone's posted the moves. During that class, most eveyone was in the main hall taking Sodeman Sensei's ukemi class. I probably should have been there too (ukemi is where I really do need to focus on improving), bu