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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.
This morning I realized my resistance to competitive testing for one point was because of basketball.
When I played in college it was really fun because I was good and so were they. The connection that was created was so real I can still experience it in my memory. As we defended together in a 1- 3- 1 zone our team moved liked birds when they all decide to fly and turn at once. Our offense moved into a fast break off the defensive rebound like we practiced it a million times... which we did.
The only downer about college basketball was that all that connection didn't matter to most of us if we lost. If one team got more points than we did everything sucked. I couldn't understand that then but I do now. Most people are focused on winning...I could care less. I am interested in connection...that incredible feeling of mind body coordination that happens when 2 or more people move together in the flow.
That is why I love Aikido...it is a perfect venue for an athlete like me who loves movement and flow and the beauty that comes from it.
Now about testing for Ki...I believe noncompetitive testing for Ki is so important because after a person finds IT...the real challenge is to learn how to trust the feeling. Especially for men...Men are so used to muscling through things that learning to trust one point and relaxation is a huge challenge for them.
When a person has learned how to find their center… testing can become more intense. IT should always come from a plac