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Katatatori Nikkyo: offer target, palm down. Trap hand and adjust center slightly offline, along uke's forward shoulder. Reconnect center with Uke's center, Polishing the mirror clockwise, at a 15 degree ascension off horizontal, brushing uke's forearms with fingertips. LEAD WITH FINGERTIPS Roll Uke's forearm to center. Look for sweet bend in wrist, forearm parallel to floor. If projecting or moving to tekon, put Nikkyo on just enough to kink out hip. Otherwise continue to roll to center, moving out of the way so Uke has room to fall.
So last night the entire key for me was to lead from my fingertips instead of pushing with my wrist. The latter leads to total failure of Nikkyo. A few times I managed to lead with my fingertips, and a huge difference was felt by both myself and Uke. Why is it so difficult to do that? I often feel like I'm trying to dial in a radio station, but the tuning knob moves too fast and I keep whizzing past the station. Kokyuho is the same thing. In swariwaza, sweep the mat with your fingertips, and uke cannot resist. Try to force uke's hands to the mat and we'll be there all night trying to make THAT work (ugh).
For some reason I am compelled to reflect on Pauls comments about the Body of Christ. In 2 Cor 12 he writes:
"18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you."
22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
27 All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it.
You know, fingertips do seem like one of the weakest parts of the body. They can't grasp anything strongly, they are inconstant danger from getting pinched or bashed. In fact, if coercion thru pain is a goal, the fingertips are most often the target as one of the weakest links in the body. So on a very primal level, if I want to influence uke strongly, my fingertips are the last part of my body that I would expect to be useful.
I'm not sure exactly what implication this has for the Body of Christ. It's always dangerous to extend a metaphor past its intended boundaries. The body is an illustration of the concept that each Christian in the local gathering of believers (ekklesia: church) has a specific role or ministry, and a particular combination of natural talents and spiritual gifts to carry it out. Paul's emphasis is that all members of the body are necessary, and that God arranges the body so that extra honor and protection to those that need it in order for the members to live in harmony and take care of each other.
Perhaps the thing to think about is how we treat a brother or sister in the body who are sensitive but usually active serving others, yet easily hurt. If they were fingertips, we'd wear gloves while doing yard work, or working in rough circumstances. Perhaps instead of telling people to "suck it up" we ought to be more protective and supportive so that they can be part of the action. Then when we are in situations that require sensitivity and finesse, our "fingertips" will be functional, not scared, calloused and nub (or even chopped-off).
In Aikido, my physical metaphor for spiritual life, it's all about staying calm and centered, and trusting technique instead of strength. And I think Paul would say, it's the same with our lives in Christ. Stay calm (trust in God), centered (abide in Christ), and walk in love, not power.
1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
So, lead with my fingertips. Learn to touch uke in such a way as to not threaten, but still protect myself and control the encounter.
Lead with your fingertips.