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Monday, my wife and I came back from a week long vacation celebrating our wedding anniversary. I missed three training sessions, but the vacation was wonderful!
Tuesday's class went well. It's good to see the same group of guys showing up regularly. We worked on two variations of ryotetori kokyunage with a pivot that I was unfamiliar with (I already know one variation). This is a good thing since our sensei has set a test date of June 14, and that particular technique is one I need to know.
I've read some very interesting things lately about aikido; many of them contradictory and many of the highly critical of aikido. The topics range from the effectiveness of aikido techniques to the realism of the attacks we use for training. In the end, the opinions on those matters reflect the state of development of the person holding them. I think some of the opinions are very valuable, some are dead wrong, and for some, I just don't have the experience to evaluate.
The bottom line is that there is no shortcut to experience. I can learn some things from other people's experiences and stories. But I'll learn the most from my own practice. It is best to view books, video tapes, bulletin board postings, and even a teacher's instruction, as guides for my own practice. They are not doctrine that should be swallowed whole without critical thought or testing though experience. The flip side is that I need to be patient enough to give my experience time to catch up with my ideas.
Tonight I need to get to the dojo early so I can open up for an open mat session prior to the official start of class. These are usually well-attended and can be a lot of fun.