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Interesting sentence. In and of itself it says nothing since it can be read and interpreted in two completely different ways. First: "You're not doing my Aikido."; meaning the Aikido you are doing isn't the Aikido I'm doing and since I'm the big hoo-ha the Aikido you're doing is wrong and therefore is not Aikido. Second: "You're not doing my Aikido."; meaning you should not be attempting to just copy me and do my Aikido. Find Aikido within yourself and do your own Aikido.
Same sentence two very different implications. The point is without the surrounding support structure of the total situation within which the statement occurred; we have no way of knowing what the speaker actually meant. In addition, even if present at the time of its utterance, there's no guarantee that you or I would hear it the same way.
But why even worry about it? Easier to just show up and train; more fun too.
If I am in tune with my surroundings resistance disappears and my sense of "otherness" is replaced by feelings of inclusion. When I am centered, Ki unblocked and flowing, things seem to "go my way"; life is good and I feel light and flexible. Those times when I am out of sync and my Ki stagnates are punctuated with seemingly insurmountable difficulties that plague everything I am trying to do, life seems not so good and I feel heavy and stiff. Maruyama Sensei would often show two ways of doing something and then ask suggest "you decide which is better." How I face all situations in life is my choice. I can choose the path of light and wisdom or the path of darkness and ignorance.
Aikido is my way of training myself to be in harmony with my environment no matter what the circumstances may be at any given moment. This is a more important goal for me than the ability to overcome an opponent or the acquisition of power.
At first I saw Ki tests as merely measures of my progress in mind/body coordination. Later I began to realize that continued practice of Ki tests fostered a strengthening of my center as well. It's like weightlifting, various exercises using progressively heavier weights builds strength as muscle fibers are first ground down and then rebuilt in greater density. Ki exercises using progressively stronger testing force builds mind/body coordination via a similar tear down/rebuild process. In the case of Ki however, it isn't muscle fiber being torn down and rebuilt, it's my ego.
Katate ryote tori, an uke on each arm. They grab hard, no pulling or pushing, just remaining immobile. My objective is to extricate myself from their grasps; while moving as slowly as possible. Technique is optional. Breaking the grip is enough.
This exercise is a really good focusing tool. I have to focus on my center and focus my intent in order to find the paths of least resistance down which I may move.
I wait. While just standing there feeling the energy being expended by my partners I can gather it into my center, let it build, adding to my own power. Power can be released explosively, but this exercise calls for a deliberate slow release of the stored up energy. Watching it happen from the outside is kind of like watching paint dry, but feeling the collapse of first one partner's structure followed by the others is quite extraordinary.
"The Art of Peace is not easy. It is a fight to the finish, the slaying of evil desires and all falsehood within". - Morihei Ueshiba, The Art of Peace, Translated by John Stevens.
The practice of Aikido isn't always comfortable for me. Introspection is a large part of what Aikido practice forces me to do and I've had to learn to overcome my natural reticence to delve too deeply into my own innards, so to speak. Training strips away layers of falsehood that have been built up as a child and continue to be added as life progresses. So it isn't about "getting there" in any formal sense, it's more a process that continues as long as I live.
Part of what Mary and I do in classes we teach is find ways to make students confront their inner selves in ways that make everyone, us included, uncomfortable. Once at a seminar we were teaching Mary had everyone pair up and take turns whining at each other. The result was quite illuminating. The majority of the students there jumped into the exercise with gusto and while no one was comfortable with it everyone later agreed that they learned something about themselves for having done it. Two folks were so put off by the exercise that they left the mat until it was completed. Hearing them whine at each other as they walked off struck me as somewhat ironic since that was the object of the exercise in the first place. The point of the exercise was for students to excise a natural reaction (whining about an adverse situation), bring it ou