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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 779,586

One of your Favorites! In General "Proving" My Aikido Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #200 New 03-01-2006 10:29 AM
If you haven't noticed, I'm constantly second-guessing myself. I never want to become complacent, never thinking that I've somehow achieved something that I haven't, never resting secure or over-confident in my skills --- whatever they might be. The folly of hubris, I know, has its consequences. Any student of Classics or Literature can tell you that.

But perhaps even moreso than many others in the dojo, I feel --- as a small person --- as though I do have something to prove. Aikido itself. Every time I move. I feel eyes on me whenever we do a demonstration, whenever we have a visitor to the dojo. I sense them, scrutinizing. They are curious eyes. I often wonder what they see. I wonder, sometimes, that they do not see me as I see myself: fumbling, struggling within --- sometimes calm and at ease, sometimes light and playful with my movements. More often than not (say after a test, or after this most recent demonstration) they tell me afterwards that I am graceful. Little do they know that delicacy of movement hardly means anything to me compared to power.

I want strong Aikido, not just beautiful Aikido. I want the kind that leaves you as an attacker gawking in awe and surprise at what just happened. "She was there just a second ago and then she was gone." "I went to grab her and ended up on my can, wondering how the hell I got there." That sort of Aikido.

There are a series of things in my training experience that serve as landmarks, indicators that I am on the right track with this. Oftentimes, these will be found in feedback from my training partners. There have been rare moments when a fellow student, as my uke, will compare how my technique feels to Sensei's or another, higher ranked Aikidoka's, in a positive way. Though I am not as of yet able to replicate these moments consistently, these few times I've heard someone comment, "That felt like Sensei!" remind me that I (at 5'1" and 100lbs soaking wet) can sometimes be capable of moving an uke just as well as a former power lifter almost twice my weight and numerous times my physical strength. They remind me that Aikido works. They are a reminder that it works in spite of when my own ineptitude at the art feels as though it is bound to become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Just last night, for example, I was practicing Ushiro Ryokatadori Aiki Otoshi for the very first time. Even before having tried it once, I knew that I would absolutely, positively despise Aiki Otoshi. I knew without a doubt that it would become an even bigger thorn in the side of my Aikido than Koshinage ever was. Naturally, as is the way with such things, I had to work with Garry (probably the heaviest guy in the dojo at the moment) on it. Thankfully, there are variations of the technique that decrease in difficulty, but seeing as I eventually have to come to know all three, we of course practiced all three.

There came a point in the night when one of our unranked beginners, having watched me attempt to throw Garry without success for some time, in response to a frustrated comment I had made, sarcastically remarked that perhaps the reason I could not throw him the way Sensei demonstrated was because (unlike Sensei) I "can't deadlift 200lbs." The funny thing was (that I can actually deadlift 200lbs --- just kidding!) that moments earlier, we had just come off a round where Garry noticed that how I was throwing "felt almost like Sensei". Little did he know. Little do I know. For there are times when it seems that my body knows far more than I do. Perhaps after enough practice one of these days, my mind and body will find a way to get together for coffee and compare notes. And perhaps even after more practice, they'll be in the mood to let me in on it, too.
Views: 2699 | Comments: 3

RSS Feed 3 Responses to ""Proving" My Aikido"
#3 04-15-2006 06:46 AM
maeukemi Says:
I'm short, petite, and a bit overweight, and like you, train with big hulking guys. my Sensei is 'beating me over the head' with the idea of "doing my *own* aikido, not anyone else's". I know I do get stuck in trying to "prove" myself and "match" the guys... you're not alone.
#2 03-18-2006 06:20 PM
jducusin Says:
Yup, The Secret of No-Secret. ;-) Happy training!
#1 03-01-2006 10:45 PM
ccain85 Says:
i feel ya.... just keep training... that's the secret.

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