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My youngest daughter will soon be giving birth to my youngest grandson. I am practicing being in the now. In class this morning we were extending ki with unbendable arm from katate kosa tori so uke lost balance very easily.
Taking my mind out of the now to imagine snuggling with little Vinnie distracts me from this day. Vinnie will be here soon enough. In the meantime Shannon and I have been enjoying pedicures every two weeks to celebrate his preparation and her growing inability to reach her toes.
My mind can run to good and bad imaginings around Vinnie's birth…both take my balance easily. I need to stay in this moment on this day.
I practice my jo strikes on this dead tree when I walk in the mornings. My tree is helping me develop power. I can tell when I hit with my whole body and when I just use my arms. It feels definitely better when I use my whole body. When I hit with just my arms…the tree wins. ;o) My arms absorb the shock and my hands vibrate with pain. When I use my whole body I don't feel anything but connectedness. With a dead tree…how about that?
Have uke push as hard as they can on your shoulder…roll your shoulders forward slightly as you keep one point…relax into uke's space...turning and maintaining connection as uke loses her balance.
When skiing, keep focus on the center…one slips much less that way…relax and enjoy the glide.
The geese were unseen yet very much heard….I scanned the whole sky for them…it sounded like there was a least a thousand.
Why does the rolling of the shoulder change the relationship with uke? Why could I not see the geese? I know both are there because I can hear and feel the evidence. Sometimes it is best not to see clearly. The wonder slips in unfettered by thought and judgement.
In my training and my life I work hard at minding my own business. I am not always successful.
When I cross over on to another person's side of the street I become uncomfortable and agitated.
When I am uke my job is to follow logically and resist or rest if I am allowed to. When I am nage my job is to lead, blend and let. If when I am uke I think I know what nage should be doing I have ceased doing my job. If when nage I have judgment about my uke I have become distracted from my job because I have become judgmental. Being centered has nothing to do with being judgmental or thinking at all…being centered has nothing to do with the mind.
There are so many distractions from just being myself, from being centered, from being the best uke or nage I can be at the moment. I can be distracted by thinking that someone is right and someone is wrong, that uke is stiff or nage is not relaxed. I think sometimes that I can help another by saying something. I think that if I just say something right perhaps I can shift something in some way. But aren't I just trying to do the same thing I am hoping to correct?
Back to my own path. Again. Back with compassion for myself and maybe a little for others, too.
I got sliding snowshoes for Jesus' birthday. We have had about 3 inches of snow since October. Today I was out on my skis on about a half inch of granulated ice that was quite slippery. The sun was setting and a 3 quarter moon had already risen giving the world a soft glow. The air was cold but I quickly shed my hood as I scattered around the yard mostly keeping my balance. I have never taken lessons so my skiing is not too graceful yet. My Aikido training helps me stay centered and keep my weight off my feet. When I let go of positive mind….when I think about falling, sure enough there I go. Good that I know how to fall and good that I prayed and the universe helped me get up. Good that I can laugh at myself and be out in the woods on my new skis at 54 years young.
I love freestyle...loooove it!
I love when ukes don't just fall down...when they resist...I love ukes who are reluctant, who are compliant, who fall too soon, or have physical problems that make them too slow or too fast or just right. I love ukes.
Here I go off to work...everyone is my uke....I am deciding to stay centered or lose my center and get it back. Everyone is my uke...some are better at it than others, I can accept each uke as the individual she is. If they are stiff I will relax more. If they are cranky I will extend more. I will blend with everyone. And if I can't I will accept conditions as they are.
I love freestyle. I love ukes...on the mat and in the world.
Tenkan is by far my go to move...I love the feel.
The turn creates drama and effect. Why do nages deprive themselves of this wonderful feeling? Tenk....is boring, ineffective...listless even.
Uke gets to rest and lean and just overpower users of tenk.... What is tenk you ask? It is a little over half of tenkan.
Tenk is that pitiful move that so many do when they could be doing tenkan...rather than sweep their foot in a dramatic circle creating space and energy for themselves and their uke they turn a little and then back peddle. Ukes moves in… settles down and nage feels frustrated and overridden. Why? Because nage is overridden…Uke is not resisting…Uke is resting…Why? Because by doing tenk nage has provided a perfect place to rest!
Most people do a beautiful tenkan without an uke...then uke attacks and they revert to that horrible tenk....
Let us praise tenkan!…Dare to let go of tenk…and rejoice in tenkan!
Entering from my center can be a challenge. The attack was tsuki with a bokken…the defense… just a turn of the bokken with a slight irimi. My center came up most times I was attacked. I felt a slight movement backwards…hardly seen but felt by me.
After class I asked Ron to attack me until I could enter and turn my bokken without flinching. Without moving back …without moving my feet…or just my head …oh so slight.
By the time we left I could enter, turn my bokken and my center stayed down. My first step was asking for help…then I could acknowledge how rattled I was. Now, I am looking forward till class tomorrow when I get to do it again…a little stronger and less afraid.