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Back on schedule. Three aikido secessions on Tuesday and Thursday. I would attend tonight, but those holiday work parties, which one must attend get in the way of everything that would be more fun. Feels good to be back on my schedule. The last few months have disrupted it a lot.
Quite a few things came out of today's lessons. We worked on Ikkyo through Yonkyo drop back from Shoman. Sensei came over and worked with my partner and I on the initial blend. Blend further, imagine the uke's attack as a butterfly on your hand, follow it down so they are always expecting resistance, and then allow them to overextend themselves. Taking balance in the very beginning of the technique. This seems like I should have known it a long time ago, but it came like finding out that there were two new versus to all the Jimmy Buffet songs that I know, and they were all two versus before what I thought the beginning of the song was. As they right themselves back up add a tiny bit of energy to the Uke's righting motion.
The overextending part of this was something that was new, although hard to describe here, it made sense and immediately worked with an uke that is committed to attacking you. Sensei called me up and used me as the crash test dummy for illustrating this to the whole class. It was really cool. I also was the demonstration uke for kokyu dosa. So smooth, I was tipped over the instant I grabbed him…..(How does he do that???????)
Evening basics worked some with M and one of the brand new white belts. It was a lot of fun. The white belt person went on and on about how she liked working with me. I thought to myself that this was misplaced, and that there is so so much that I don't know how to do, so many holes openings, and mistakes in my technique, from my posture on down. After class I was thinking about it, and realized that I and Rick were exactly the same places in training when I started at the Dojo, and I pretty much thought that he was godlike then. The circles are amazing, circles in relationships, circles in technique. Seems that life is a lot more circular that I would have ever guessed before starting Aikido.
After morning class, and the first evening class worked on tanto dori, (wooden knife take away), These are on my next test, and they are a lot less than smooth at this stage of the game. It was great to play with Rick on these. I think that a couple of the techniques that I was feeling were pretty brutal, have really smoothed out. Specifically the neck grabbing kokyu nage thing, I don't feel like I am going to slip and kill the uke anymore. I think that was largely due to working with one of the bigger stronger men in the dojo for a while. Rick is helping me get them a lot smoother, and helping me to pick techniques that don't feel "Brutal" to me. When I approached Sensei and then Rembrandt about these techniques, both said that my ability to do them well, and gently defined whether or not they were brutal, not necessarily the form of the technique. Rembrandt and I worked on the standard set, and using irimi nage, and other techniques as take tanto take away situations too. This helped a lot, of course Rembrandt's abilities in ukemi make most things feel a lot smoother than you are actually able to do the technique.
Sensei spoke about flipping switches in ourselves, changing the way we think and react to the world around us, to change our entire lives. Instead of looking at things are wrong, and that we have made a mistake, and getting down on ourselves to change the way that we think. Think of ourselves for instance as being on the other side of Uke, or wanting to be on the other side than the one that we stepped to. This is a positive focus instead of a negative focus. This plays in with a lot of what I have been working on off of the mat. Adding in more gratefulness to my life, and not taking things personally. I must say that at the moment the off the mat changes in thinking, the internal aikido are much more difficult than the changes on the mat.
I was able to train with one of the women in the Dojo that I rarely get to train with, it was a lot of fun. The grace and smoothness is always amazing with this person, and I always come away with the feeling of how smooth and gentle the techniques can be, not strained or muscled. Each time I then do my technique the areas that muscle start to appear in become super apparent, and I then start working on them more, easing out the force, focusing more on technique less on strength…..