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My Path Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 06-08-2009 01:55 PM
Linda Eskin
My path to and through Aikido. Observations on Aikido, fitness, happiness, horses, & life, by a 53 y/o sho-dan.

This same blog (with photos and a few additional trivial posts, but without comments) can be found at www.grabmywrist.com.

I train with Dave Goldberg Sensei, at Aikido of San Diego.
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 242
Comments: 367
Views: 787,724


In Learning Look for the Lesson Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #33 New 10-29-2009 07:46 PM
In any interaction with Sensei I assume there is a lesson - that Sensei knows exactly what he's doing, and there's a point to it.

In a recent class we were doing an exercise, each walking straight toward Sensei and turning tenkan to avoid his bokken swings, sideways at our midsections. I did OK the first time through, and got back in the end of the line.

The next time I was up I was ready. Was it going to be right or left? Watching for any sign... a shift of weight, tightening of arm, or settling of a hip. I knew what was coming, and was ready for it. I tried to be equally ready to tenkan out of the way to whichever side, depending on the direction of the swing. When it was my turn I moved toward Sensei trying not to favor either way. Trying to not anticipate one or the other, left or right...

And he tsuki'ed directly into me.

I'm sure he had to pull the thrust to keep me from impaling myself, even though I folded in the middle and backed off. And the class and I had a good laugh. Dammit. I didn't see that coming.

I can't say whether he really meant it as a lesson, or if he was bored with going to the left and right, or was just having a little fun. But I took it as a lesson - although it didn't quite sink in until a couple of days later, when I sort of got the joke and started laughing as I was feeding the horse and donkeys. I had been ready for something I "knew" was coming. I was planning what I was going to do, based on my expectation of what I was sure would happen. I was not open, perceiving, and responding to what was actually happening. Now I get it!

As far as I'm concerned, the exercise was a direct, intentional lesson in what can happen when I think instead of feel. Sensei knew exactly what was going on in my head, and pointed out the potential consequences in an immediate and visceral (or eviscerating?) way that I was sure to remember.

Did he really mean it that way? Maybe not. I don't actually believe that teachers always do everything so deliberately. It's just that it's most useful for my own training to assume that they do, and always be looking for the lesson.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if he did do it very much on purpose.

I'm grateful for having "gotten the point," in any case.
Views: 1860 | Comments: 5

RSS Feed 5 Responses to "Look for the Lesson"
#5 11-02-2009 10:52 PM
Linda Eskin Says:
Hi Heather. I like your theory. Alas, I think the truth of it is that Sensei knows I don't know what I'm doing at all, and is making sure I'm well aware of that. (And I mean that in the nicest way possible.)
#4 11-02-2009 10:52 AM
My guess is your Sensei thinks you know what you're doing and wanted to give you some extra challenge!
#3 10-30-2009 11:42 PM
Linda Eskin Says:
p.s. Confirmed. He really did do it very much on purpose, and knew exactly what I was thinking.
#2 10-30-2009 11:55 AM
Linda Eskin Says:
Yep. :-) (LOL The message board wouldn't let me post my reply because it was too short. So there. Now it's longer.) But really, it's uncanny, disturbing, and delightful all at once to work with someone who can see right through you.
#1 10-30-2009 10:11 AM
ninjaqutie Says:
Always expect the unexpected is what my old sensei used to say. If she thought she knew what you were thinking, she would do something differently on purpose.

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