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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 10:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 834,077

In General Moving Beyond Kihon Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #238 New 11-15-2008 01:09 AM
Takumusu Aiki: 武産合気 - A "slogan" of the founder's meaning "infinitely generative martial art of aiki." Thus, a synonym for aikido. The scope of aikido is not limited only to the standard, named techniques one studies regularly in practice. Rather, these standard techniques serve as repositories of more fundamental principles (kihon). Once one has internalized the kihon, it is possible to generate a virtually infinite variety of new aikido techniques in accordance with novel conditions. (Definition is courtesy of AikiWeb's wonderfully comprehensive Wiki :-)


I like to think that --- thanks to muscle memory and a great deal of persistence --- much of the fundamental principles of any art become internalized over time via the dogged repetition of action and technique. As with many things, it certainly sounds simple enough. When asked by Sensei at the end of class if they had any questions, my past sempai years ago would often say, "More practice, Sensei!" It became a kind of mantra (along with "This ain't knitting class" and "Suck it up").

How true it is. Yet when asked by Sensei at the end of class, "Any questions?" my own oft-repeated response now as a senior student myself is usually, "Always, Sensei." No matter how much you practice, they're always there.

While we all know that most people learn by doing and there is more value to be gained on the mats from action rather than words (ie. "Less chatter, more splatter" as another senior student once said) I'm coming to appreciate the concept of (I suppose what I would call) "thoughtful training" more and more.

Don't get me wrong --- by no means am I advocating a kind of newbie-style of practice where you stand perfectly still with your arm out for two minutes while you figure out and decide where and how to move. Nothing like that.

I suppose that I'm realizing more often than not that when I practice a particular movement or technique, the level of its success is usually directly proportional to the amount of focused thought I give it. Now, this doesn't mean to say I spend much more than a split second preparing or deciding what to do and how to it. Hardly. *laughs* If only there were enough time to dwell on such things. It just means that I will often tell myself (and in turn, my body) to specifically focus on a certain thing.

Naturally, my focus will alter according to whatever it happens to be that we are training with a particular exercise. If we are working on flow and blending with energy, I tell my body to relax and stay loose. If we are working on the entry to Ikkyo, I tell my body to extend. If we are working on off-balancing our opponent with a direct shove into them, I tell my body to root and become a steamroller.

Well, the whole point of me bringing this up in relation to "Takemusu Aiki" is that over time, I have noticed that I have had to consciously tell my body to do certain things and focus on particular aspects less and less as time goes by and as we eventually come to practice techniques and exercises more and more. I've found that it's in retrospect now, upon seeing newbies struggle with certain fundamentals that I find myself thinking, "Now how would I explain what I do to accomplish that?"

The fact is, in the midst of practice, I'm rarely thinking consciously about the fundamentals anymore. It's not like I don't need to implement them --- for ideally, I am practicing them all the time (heck, if I didn't, boy would I get flak from Sensei). I just find that my mental focus has shifted towards the minute, the even more extreme details of how I might alter what I am doing as I'm doing it. This will just as often be applied to how I perform aspects of the fundamentals as well --- only the basic principles behind them are no longer the conscious effort that they once were.

I greatly suspect that one thing that is helping is the idea of continuing to train in one's daily life even when you're off the mats, even in the most mundane situations: practicing how to root and stay aligned while walking or waiting in line/standing around; practicing certain footwork while pacing back and forth or turning around. I've definitely felt a positive difference in my posture and how I move.

In spite of this, however, are there many questions? Always.
Views: 1926

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