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Question: Why does it matter where I place my hands?
Answer: Because the body is like a wild pony. It has to be trained to your bidding. If we let our hands just land willy-nilly all the time we do not develop good habits. We ask our body to do something a certain why and then work to develop that way by training. Aikido affords us the opportunity to accept feedback without judgment and to work that feedback into our movement to create correct feeling and impeccable technique.
Another reason it matters where we place our hands is because we want to be mindful every moment in class and out of class. By paying attention to details we set the intention for our hands to go a certain way and then we follow with the movement to come as close to that intention as we can. This practice helps us develop mind body co-ordination and gives us a reference for how we can be at all times.
We can notice distractions like problems or compliments and then come back to our centers and be paying attention to all the details of our daily life. Nothing really feels as good as a technique done just right so we blend with our uke and they fall in complete coordination to nage's direction. Life feels better when we are in the flow. Aikido gives us an example of that flow. We let go and move with what is in a precise and practiced matter. Our effortlessness comes from much practice.