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Learning a martial art means not only shaping physical behaviors, but also changing mental and emotional reactions. Apart from any kind of training, my first, most natural reaction to sudden conflict is fear; sometimes causing me to freeze, sometimes to lash out, sometimes to run away. The success of any of these reactions is mostly dependant on luck, so any martial art must also address mental and emotional condition in the first moments before contact is even made between combatants. In my experience of Aikido, two particular concepts are taught that address our need for successful resolution of conflict; evasion and blending. Evading an attack is an obvious goal to any seeking training; not getting hit is a good goal. Blending seems much riskier, even counter-intuitive. Technique-wise, it certainly takes long years of diligent training to master. So before going too far down that path, it seems a good question to consider: what is the difference between evading and blending, and is blending a superior approach?
Learning to evade an attack is not necessarily an easy thing. Being able to react without fear, flinching or panic to a weapon swinging with speed and force at your body, particularly your face, is not natural. It takes time to learn timing, to be able to judge the direction and speed of a strike. You can't move the same way to evade a round-house and a straight in punch. As for the panic factor, well, it takes more than a couple of
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 o
Well, I suppose I am in a training "trough" as opposed to a "peak" this month.
It seems like my rolls are lumpy, I keep forgetting to tuck my chin on back fall, and I thump my knees when practicing shikko.
It all started in September, when the yudansha started leaning on me when I took too long to complete shionage. It's kind of humiliating to be used as a leaning post Perhaps I lost my center when I started to get frustrated about that, because everything just started to go south after that.
Part of me gets that this is the end of the beginning and the percursor to REALLY beginning. I have a lot of the vocabulary, I know how things "should" go, I can see and feel more about how things go. But I can't reliably pull things off on a consistant basis. Yet.
We just spent two classes this week on iikyo. Part of me feels like a kid with a broken toy. It isn't working. I know it's time to quit at the end of class, but I can't help wishing I could spend just 30 more min, but then knowing that it's more a matter of letting what we practiced in class "sink in" doing what I can at home to "walk thru" the technique, and then coming to the next class with a fresh body and a mind clear of frustrations/expectations.
On the upside, I'm acting as sempai for class a few times a month when Brian isn't there. Thursday we were projecting a throw from iikyo, almost a kitieinage throw. I swear, it's the first time I wish I had taken a breakfall -- Sense