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The picture of Vinnie's foot inspired me. He has fresh feet that have taken no steps, kissable feet, soft, free from the calluses of life. I wish my little grand boy a splendid journey on his sturdy little feet, filled with the ups and downs of life as my feet have traveled.
My feet have never failed me; through a childhood filled with backyard games of hide and go seek, kick the can, tag, baseball, kickball etc, through high school and college basketball, and various other sports not to mention years of waitressing.
On my feet I tended babies, played with tweens, and chased my teens. Now I get to repeat it all over again albeit much slower, with my grand boys.
Aikido has been a special project for my feet. I have developed tough soles from years of training. My big toes got broken, little toes dislocated, my big toe nail torn off to many times. All of the above can be trained through when properly taped.
I hope little Vinnie's feet serve him half as well as my fine, beautifully manicured feet have served me.
(Pink toes belong to Shannon, Vinnie's Mom...Red toes belong to me Vinnie's Mimi.)
I was at a meeting in a church basement the other day. There was a low table and several rows of flimsy folding chairs. The small narrow room is usually used for the church's preschool classes.
I was standing behind the low table looking at the front of the room…there were doors on either side of me and the main door was at the other end directly in front of me with the length of the room between me and it. Most of the chairs were between me and the door. There are cabinets and shelves along the walls.
The furniture provided a path way that would limit any physical attack to a very small area. If someone tried to hit or grab me they would be limited in their movements by the smallness and cramped conditions of the space. I would be less limited because of my awareness and my willingness to use my environment to my advantage.
In my last 2 classes I set up conditions similar to the church basement room (as best I could in the dojo). Nage started down the pathway and uke attacked from the end of the narrow corridor we made. Some nages forgot all the Aikido they have and started to struggle and just use their hands and muscle strength. Other nages relaxed and explored the situation, using uke's energy and the environment to nage's advantage. As you could guess the relaxed nages were much more effective.
We often set up situations in class that reframe The ABC's of
Vinnie is perfectly centered, relaxed and content...I want to be like him....like I was once. It will be an interesting process watching Vinnie unlearn his naturalness...maybe he will be the grand boy that wants to study Aikido!
I found Rik Ellis' ground work using Aikido to be really inspirational. The last two classes we have worked on finding nikkyo from the ground after a kata tori kokyu nage. We are practicing in a really slow fashion. I am asking nage turned uke to leave their hands in one place so uke turned nage can orient themselves and find the nikkyo from whatever angle we can find. As we continue our practice we can add more resistance and less co-operation.
I am finding moving on the ground to be a lot of fun. I especially like the opportunities for legs and feet. Last week I was thinking about starting Tae Kwon do or Muay Thai but I think this was really what I was looking for. Thanks universe, for providing the challenges I need in my own back yard.