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Lately I've become mesmerised by the way that we move, or the way that someone can influence how another person does. It's not enough to know what to do anymore, or know what works; instead, more and more I want to know why it works.
Watching class the other night, some thoughts and ideas I've had started crystalising and taking shape. So, here are the 10 points I've come up with on the topic of movement. As usual, the warning: they may not be correct, they're simply a marker of what's going on in my headspace at the moment...
1) Seeing the aikido someone does is like watching a painting in motion. When they begin, there is texture but no definition of colour. Gradually, colours that contrast boldly are introduced, which allows form to emerge. It's a bit like Picasso doing Monet though, there's a subtlety between colour that needs to, and does, emerge over time.
2) 'What goes up must come down'. We impact others through the directions we can grasp and focus on as we move. Like a compass that floats and steers a ship, our motion is directed by the dynamics in us between the directions. Forwards; our intent and our commitment to that cause. Upwards; our wholehearted energy. And like a magnet, these directions repell and attract responses and stimulate symmetry in other people.
3) Elevators are precise machines, and they can operate even when not aligned correctly. The doors can open between levels, or just after or before having reached one. The key for these is timing and precision to ensure a smooth operation. Just like these, very often our techniques are chunked up and broken up into stages. Be careful not to trip! The transitions define how we percieve the destination (or our purpose for ourselves and the uke) when we reach it.
4) Blocking and adapting to a situation without redirecting it and changing it seems to be more dangerous than not being there. You reveal your stance and your intent, which makes you predictable and therefore vulnerable. It's no good to break up the technique between the block and the technique because that's the worst possible time to stop. It's better to just get out of there if you can't or won't follow through.
5) Not being where expected can be more formidable than being there for the opponent. Absence from the expected place creates doubt and uncertainty, which is a hole in the other person's physical and mental defence.
6) Lessons from the herd. At class on Tuesday night there was: a panther who shows me how to find the ideal place; a rhino who shows me how to actualise intention; a dingo who shows me that bravery can come down to consistency; an ibex who shows me that detail is magnified in effect; and a cheetah who shows me how to impose on circumstance. If you're reading this, dear panther, thank you infinately for showing me things no-one else can.
7) Relaxing into the movement is more effective. It makes your center more solid and connected and brings clarity, which in turn gives you options without holes in your defence. For the opponent, there is "nothing to play with".
8) We have ways that we move specific to the context or person we are training with. The way we interact is different when we uke for a demonstration, vs. a partner who you see as better, vs. a partner who you see as not better. The headspace comes through the body. To change the effect, we must first change the headspace.
9) To bring back the analogy of aikido being artwork, each experience influences each thought for the stance each person is involved in. Changes the hue of their interaction. Each person changes the colour shade of the movement dynamics. By restraining the self at the right time, or changing the focus between others (especially as a teacher), the truer colours of others can be brought out with increasing boldness and greater, growing clarity.
10) Don't be restricted by your perception of what's possible. The world will adapt if you decide to do more than just react. Like so often in aikido, extend yourself idealistically; it's everyone else's responsibility to cope and finally end up where you want them to be.
Wow, that was much easier than doing my last 'Challange of 10' (Space). I think this one's going to need quite a bit more thought, there's probably heaps more to delve into. Keep an eye out for Part 2, just in case.