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Generally when one is injured it is considered bad form not to go training anyway and at least watch. The curious thing about my position is that I actually still have a job to do even when I'm off the mat: I'm still the assistant instructor, I'm still responsible for the seniors progress. I find myself circumambulating the mat issuing instructiors and corrections, calling people to the edge of the mat so that brief demonstrations can be made and waving sticks at people.
I find that I'm a perfectionist, which I kinda knew already. I thought though that I would confine my perfectionism to myself not have the courage to demand it in other people but no, I demand perfection. I find it suprisingly easy to achieve: all you have to do is encourage the student to the point where they demand perfection of themselves; if you build in this positive, can do, atmosphere into training the rest is easy and I find I can stop things and be frank about what's going wrong and what needs to be done without it impacting on morale too much.
Actually I think the frank honesty is good it gives confidence that anything positive that's said is meant. The core of it though is to communicate to the student that they can do it and that they are expected to be able to do it and then keep your demands small so that the student is always thinking "Yep, I can do that, yep I can make that correction."
I find myself getting into these formulaic instructions: "Good, we're almost there. Next time....
I'm not in the best of moods. I fell funny, right onto the top of my shoulder actually and there was this cracking kinda sound and of course immediate pain. It was x-rayed at the hospital and nothing is broken and they checked for AC separation, but it hurts like hell. The annoying thing is that I'm meant to be on a two day course over the weekend that I need to do to take shodan.
I think I'm fighting to become me. I feel that this explains my depression most of the time, aside from the fact that I'm bipolar and all that. More like fighting to just be me. I can't quite believe who I am, that's what therapy seems to be showing me.
And usually when I'm just being me it's on the mat because I'm being attacked and there's no space in my head to be anything else; I can't hold on to myself and respond at the same time and it feels awesome.
The grading panel want to see if I'm good enough for dan grade, so I'll show them me. Not an Aikidoka, not a martial artist, not a student, not a 1st kyu hoping to be dan grade, not how I think I should be, just me.Not even me doing Aikido anymore.How can I do Aikido? I can't seperate me from my Aikido, it is not something I do: It's who I am so I will be me. Just me.
We were doing hamni handachi shomen uchi irimi nage and uke wasn't going anywhere so Sensei starts getting uke to go mental with the attack such that he's pretty much diving into the mat. I hate it when this happens. I hate it more than when I'm uke and I deliver what I consider to be a good attack: powerful, accurate and leaving me in posture and ready to deliver another attack if need be and then tori wants me to throw myself on the floor because they can't move me.
As I see it if uke is delivering a good attack and I can't do the technique that's my fault and so I said to sensei that it was my fault and I worked through the technique until I could do it. It doesn't help when certain shihan say that uke's job is to make tori look good.
That to me is a profoundly unhelpful view; that's no different than saying "You didn't attack me correctly" or "You're supposed to fall over at this point".
I think the problem is that Aikidoka generally really can't attack correctly because they're only really interested in doing the technique. So it becomes that getting the technique done is the only important thing and the attack can be modified if need be to suit that end. The past couple of weeks we've been doing lots of attacks from tsuki and it's obvious to me that no-one in our dojo can actually throw an effective punch except me. I'm not being conceited here, I've done other arts.
It's got to the stage where I stand still in shizentai and ask them to punch me and initiall
My ki has been depleted by hard practice; only pizza can restore it. If you do not understand this fundamental truth of aikido then you will never be any good.
Take the character this clearly shows a roof over an oven and represents the feeling of joy and love that one experiences when eating pizza. of course expresses the energy contained within the pizza and finally illustrates a man carrying a stack of pizza boxes with sides and drinks on top.
If you do not understand and agree then you are wrong. Simple.
So I went to Karate tonight; I've not seen my mate in a while and he's going through a rough patch and he was teaching so I decided to train with him. In my previous post I talked about the way of the Aikidoka being found in getting hit and I had this very much in mind as sparring came up.
I'm very hard to hit; I see everything as it develops and either I block it or I move. My acceptance of being hit and my determination to watch the blow as it hits me has massively improved my timing. I suppose this is what the old stories mean when they talk about battering the student with a bokken until they stop defending themselves as an initial step of training and perhaps part of what O-Sensei was talking about when he talked about non-resistance.
In this case I am not mentally resisting the attack, I'm allowing it to develop, there is no thought in my mind of stopping it or avoiding it. I create no desire for things to be different, I embrace reality on it's own terms.
I used to have this problem where I flinched and stiffened up when attacked. Then I remembered how many times people from Kato Kiyomasa to Miyamoto Musashi to Yammamoto Tsunetomo have said "You're going to die; get over it" and then I formulated my own version.
"The way of the Aikidoka is found in getting hit" and from then on everytime I faced being hit I simply accepted that I was going to be hit and there was nothing I could do about it. Occasionally I even let myself be hit, mainly to check that the kohai are attacking properly, but ever since I adopted the habit of accepting I'm going to be hit I find that I no longer flinch and I can move freely.
I know immediately when someone does combat sports but has never really been in a fight; they think fighting is just like sparring or randori or rolling and actually a lot of Aikidoka do too. I would even say that really you struggle to understand Aikido without having been in an actual fight because it is strategically at odds with western notions of fighting.
I remember a while back we (my dojo) were out drinking and discussing why our outlook on Aikido was so different from the mainstream and the conclusion we came to was that'd we'd all been rather heavily bullied; getting beaten up for us was fairly normal at certain stages of our lives and so we had no illusions and even there was among us a real sense of fighting with the spirit of ken ore ya mo tsuki. Winning a fight was an alien concept because four or five on one fights are not the kind you win.
This experience is central to how I practice Aikido and I know the same is true of all of my friends that practice Aikido and this experience leads to the understanding that all real fighting must be done with the intention of ikken hissatsu and by extention the training for that fight must be done in the spirit of ikken hissatsu.
To my way of thinking this rules out the possibility of sparring or randori or rolling. If your opponent is still standing after thirty seconds you are dead because his friend has killed you. Now the sports minded among you, and western thinking is fundamentally sports orientated when it