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"Intercept what comes; pursue what departs."
This is a rough quote of something I recently read which was describing the Wing Chun Chisao drill. I like it because it fits so well with what I understand of Aikido. "When the enemy arrives at the gate, go and greet him." Is a rough quote my teacher gave me one time. I have some vague impressions that come to mind when I think of it. I think first of the need to be assertive and decisive. There is no room for quibbling with yourself over the best course of action; thought must give way to pure, wordless perception in order to give the body the kind of readiness it needs to respond to the "enemy." Particularly so since presumably the "enemy" has already made his decision to attack. So we must be every bit as decided in our actions as those who would attack us.
Secondly I think of "fullness of body." When the "enemy" makes contact, where ever that contact is made, we must have as much of our body present behind it so we can use our whole body to block the "enemy" from walking though our "gate" to wreck havoc on our "inner sanctum." When an obstacle presents itself to an "enemy" he has to go around it somehow and this is where I think the "pursue what departs" comes in. To my mind this speaks to the constance of irimi. I must maintain pressure so the "enemy" cannot reorganize his attack.
In training we have all these limbs and the many internal systems which allow them to exert pressure into our partners, which makes it a very complicated thing to pay attention to. It's as if a Hydra were trying to come in and as we press one head back, one or two more press forward. We must be as equally Hydra-like (or more so) as our attacker/partner, or we can be pushed aside and controlled. So assertive action and fullness of body together allow us to deal with martial situations.
Training partners are essential to our learning because they offer their efforts to find openings and demonstrate without question when they find them. I've been practicing in the evenings by myself, and while I find it invaluable for keeping my body awareness/feel more alert, it just doesn't cut the mustard when it comes to correcting my openings or "suki"...at least at present. It helps a little, but I definately feel an acute need for being on the mat right now.
I've been fighting a nasty sinus infection that finally seems to be ebbing, so I haven't been going outside to practice this past week. I've also missed keiko the last couple weeks so I am feeling a gapping "suki" in my training. I'm looking forward to this week's keiko and resuming my usual regimen of solo practice. The one thing of which I've kept a thin thread active is the set of breathing exercises I practice...although that's been hard since I keep bursting into fits of coughing, particularly when I try any kind of deep breathing.
On a lighter note: how 'bout that skydiver breaking the sound barrier!? Pretty f-ing sweet! Inspirata for pushing my limits...of greeting the myriad world at my gate!
Cheers to you all!
...and good health too!