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There's likely a handful of techniques that could be used to highlight the nonviolent philosophy of Aikido. In my opinion, shihonage is one of the best examples. Since Aikido is a derivative of the samurai tradition, it's really appropriate to talk about the use of the sword in shiho nage and how to use the attacker's sword to protect you *and* the attacker.
At the moment of the strike, entering in and grabbing the sword is where the transfer of control begins. It's not a complete transfer, when you raise the sword you are still sharing it with the attacker. It's at this point that the attack itself has become neutralized and you both are now in position to defend against any other attack that might present itself. And so that's the physical aspect of protecting your attacker. What else is there?
OK. A coworker just came screaming into your office and needs to know why you just sent that "flea brained memo" to the entire department. And right on queue, your boss comes in. She thanks you for sending out the memo on her behalf but rubs it in your face that you missed the last two meetings with a long standing client.
So your boss is essentially attacking you but at the same time giving you a way to deal with your coworker. You are now in the position to defend your boss. Cool! Your boss was angry with you but at the same time has presented you with an opportunity to protect her. This will make it easier for you to defend yourself about missing the meeting
There is a benefit to practicing Aikido from static positions. For people just starting this serves as a way to simply learn how to use their body in ways they aren't yet comfortable with. It also gives them the opportunity to work with other people accordingly. This lets beginner's know what the limits are of other people and explore - and even push - their own limits.
The dynamic practice of Aikido is really where I learn most. It seems that with dynamic attacks you don't get stuck as much. You simply *have* to keep moving and doing something in order to "manage" an attack. Having said that, it finally makes sense when Sensei says it doesn't matter if you get the technique. In the heat of a transaction, if you intention is to control your attacker, you are basically giving them a way to control you. When you blend with your attacker, you essentially remove the effectiveness of the attack.
I don't really know if anyone has ever told you that you aren't any good straight to your face. Well, I could have made the title of this post even more dramatic but the real purpose of the title of this post was to capture your physical response when you read the title.
Did you change your body posture? Did you notice any kind of shift? It's likely that if you felt any sense of threat, you probably moved to some degree.
Your body communicated something very specific. Freeze, fight, or flight seem to be the three options people think about in dramatic situations. These three options essentially translate into your body language. Through repetition we learn to react to situations with specific responses. Your body simply becomes comfortable "saying" certain things, sometimes even despite what you think you're saying.
It would be valuable to sit and reflect on how you reacted to this and see how to apply this in the dojo. I don't really know you so please don't misunderstand the title of this post as something literal. Enjoy your next class!
I've got this wicked bad habit of trying to blog after enduring the increasingly mind numbing, ego eradicating, bone bending class, but hey, maybe that's just my way of enjoying what Sensei teaches. Coherent sentences will begin in the next paragraph.
I liked Sensei's message tonite. Emphasis was placed on absorbing versus deflecting an attack. This really clicked with me on an intellectual level but I still don't know how to implement it. I recall reading how O Sensei would emphasize becoming part of the attack and with tonite's lesson that makes even more sense.
Sensei talked tonite about fear and courage and the roles they have. I really appreciate when he gives practical aspects for applying Aikido. He alluded to how the principles can be used outside the dojo in everyday life. For example when your boss (uke) comes flying in to your workspace and screams at you (nage) for not putting the cover sheet on the TPS report (watch the movie Office Space for that reference), you can turn the situation around so that not only is your boss complimenting you, but possibly even promoting you! I've literally seen that happen. I watched a coworker go from getting fired to being promoted to department head. Was he an Aikido student? Nope. Did he exemplify the most amazing Aikido skill in the world? Yep. He accepted the idea of getting fired and was still able to elaborate on why he was such an asset to the company. There is never a shortage of things to learn!