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After a day to ponder yesterday's seminar and grading, I'm still at a loss when I try to consider how predictable I thought the day would be. I thought it would be quite straightforward - 2 or 3 hours of seminar, 1 or two hours of grading. I thought all the techniques would be tidy and only vary with the quality of execution, I thought the pressure would be greater than before since I'd 'been there, seen it all' during my 6th Kyu test in October last year. Perhaps this is part of the naivety that leads to the '5th Kyu Shihan' syndrome that I've read so much about.
That's probably what I'm most frightened about, in terms of the longevity of practice needed to become more competent in Aikido. One day I might gradually start becoming blind because of growing complacency. That, I believe, is the beginning of the end; how can you keep learning if your mind is closed and can no longer see?
I remember vague patches, like not understanding kotegaesh from gakku hanmi. Like starting the list of techniques with suwari waza ikkyo. WHY is that the flavour of the month?? Yesterday someone said something to explain it, that "Ikkyo is the beginning of all techniques". Before, "All techniques are the same". So. It's quite a good indication of all techniques then - like ikkyo, all my techniques are in their infancy. And I never knew being uke was such hard work! ...More
I'm not exactly tiny, I'm not exactly a feather, but lately I've been pondering how, as a younger gal, I can twist aikido to my needs. I'm blessed with a dojo full of friendly, burly guys to practice on! A few thoughts from my headspace atm:
Common obstacles from opponents:
To combat strength, craft larger spirals. A tighter embrace, a broader swoop.
To combat weight, move deeper. Blend and crest together to utilise the force of gravity and momentum.
To combat length, pivot. Stretch. Hips make a great pulley. Their comfort zone lies much higher than yours, lower your center and your playing zone to maximise control.
Does this sound on the right track? Maybe I'll see something entirely different about it all in the next season.
I was at the dojo tonight, and I just sat there in the darkness while the others changed. It was like... as the lights went down I could see myself all those months ago, preparing for 6th kyu. I remembered the frustration and the joy, the pain and the ecstacy that I felt back then. I thought of my now-self in parallel, and realised that all those emotions and sensations are still there. There, but different. Like a spiral, the same but different.
I have come full circle again, and I will again, and again. And next year, I will look back and marvel at the depth every new turn has brought since this moment.
The following entry is a piece I created after our grading in October, 2010, thought I'd bring this up to date before our grading this coming Saturday!
Currently I'm pondering how to emotionally tenkan a conflict around. I've found that it's much easier to find my center in the whirlwind of life if I can keep in mind what I learn in class as a life metaphor, and there are alot of them. It's a cross between dancing, wrestling and a passionate embrace for me. It sharpens focus, it reveales the barest of intentions. All conflict can be resolved, I'm learning, and hurting others is only one way, not the only way, to do so. Also, because it's impossible to advocate peace without knowing the depth of violence, it's becoming a way for me to express and redirect this blazing fire I have inside of me in a healthy, beautiful way.
One person meets another in opposition. Potential reactions:
I allow myself to be hit. I am hurt. The other person is proved dominant. I lose, and my lack of acknowledgement and involvement detracts from the esteem they sense from me. They lose too, and continue; unopposed, but without fulfillment.
I react but without the intention to fully commit. I am dishonest by giving the appearance without the substance. I also dishonour my opponent, both leave the incident dissatisfied. I may or may not come out of it dominant.
I block my opponent with force, like a brick wall. I have a greater chance of dominance, but dishonour my opponent by negating their contribution. I may be victorius, the other will be dissatisfied and disempowered.
I allow my opponent to carry through with their attack, but blend and redirect it. Control is achieved, pain is optional. Both parties are permitted to offer their best contribution to the incident, so both are honoured and have a substantial chance of being satisfied with how the incident proceeds.
The deception of aikido, as I see it right now, seems to stem from the point that not only is the discipline a matter of reacting and defending, but a matter of (passively?) accepting and actively manipulating the circumstances of an attack to reveal perfect control. Control here is shown to include pain as an option rather than a requirement is showing dominance. Aikido, then, can never be considered a traditional self-defence, although it's true that tradition plays an important role, and defence is most certainly achieved through the process of controlling the situation. Neither can it be simply passed off as a martial art, for while it's certainly a precise art, and is potentially lethally martial, aikido isn't involved with the practitioner's focus of competition and reputation for beng an untouchable badass that's so common elsewhere, in so many walks of life outside.
What, after all, is therefore involved in the pursuit of learning aikido? And how can we as practitioners acknowledge the journey involved in learning this discipline? ...More
Okay... I'm finally at a point where self-reflection seems at least as important to me as getting on the mat. The thing is, that requires greater dedication, and energy, and a whole lot more headspace... but why is it that it never seems a good time in day-to-day living for that kind of blinkered dedication?
That's frustrating, to find myself deeper than I ever thought I would or could be, to the point where I need to drastically change my lifestyle to accomodate it.
Or change my passion. Not gonna happen!!!
Anyways.... enough rambling. There are a few things bouncing around in my head but I'll put them up as separate posts to keep the clarity.