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I just realized that 2009 marks the point at which I have been studying Aikido for over half of my life. It doesn't seem all that long ago that I showed up for my first class a week early but 32 years have elapsed since that day.
I was going to write that I can't begin to write what Aikido has meant to me, but then, that's what this blog is all about, duh.
Mary and I have an agreement that we are going to celebrate our 50th anniversary together, which means I have to live into my early 90's, another 32 years. So barring any fatal diseases, natural disasters, other calamities or being stupid enough to run headlong into Dan Harden at full speed , I may be lucky enough to put in another 30+ years on the mat.
Going to be a helluva journey, but I won't say I can't wait. I'm in no hurry to get there 'cause I'm really enjoying the ride.
Thought I'd post our Ki Syllabus here for those who are looking for ways to develop their internal strength and correct feeling that go beyond solely practicing waza.
Ki Syllabus -- the purpose of which is to provide the instructor with teaching tools to educate students in how to establish and enhance correct feeling associated with coordination of mind and body.
Benefits of -- which include: development and strengthening of correct feeling while stationary or in motion, body core strengthening, introduction to technique basic movements, increased awareness of moving from the center…
Ki Development Exercises
1. Rowing motion
2. Ikkyo one direction
3. Ikkyo two directions
4. Ikkyo four directions
5. Ikkyo eight directions
6. Sai Undo
7. Sai Undo with side step
8. Flap arms side to side
9. Monkey dips
10. Roll backward
11. Roll backward and stand
12. Wrist curls
13. Wrist breaks
Partnered Stationary --
1. Unbendable arm
2. Immovable arm from outside
3. Immovable arm from inside
4. Weight underside
5. Vertical arm lift/pull
6. Collarbone push
7. Lower back push
8. Upper back push
9. Upper chest push
10. Kata tori push hammi
11. Kata tori push natural stance
12. Kata tori push one foot
13. Katate tori push hammi
14. Katate tori push natural stance
15. Katate tori push one foot
16. Ryote tori push hammi
17. Ryote tori push natural stance
18. Ryote tori push one foot
19. Upper arm grab bring along
Joe McParland sent me an email a while back, part of which appears below:
"In my progression as a nage, I'm hoping to reach mushin, operating effortlessly and spontaneously within the situation. I have no expectation of who will attack, what the attack may be, or how I will respond to a particular attack---it will just happen. The wake-up call is wondering if I can reach no-mindedness by practicing no-mindedness just half of the time, holding intention the other half of the time."
This got me to thinking about the nature of the relationship of attacker and defender. I am so accustomed to recognizing the dualities that permeate Aikido that I have always assumed that uke and nage are two sides of the same coin. But I am seeing that this may not actually be true; that there may be a fundamental difference between the two that necessarily arises because of the need for uke to initiate the attack as a result of his intent. Now his intent may be to hurt or, in the case of mat training, help his opponent, in either case the nature of his intent is irrelevant. What's important is the fact that intent precludes an empty head, so to speak.
The other thing that I began to ponder is the whole concept of trying to reach mushin. For instance, while playing a game of Risk with a couple of buddies, one of the players rolled the die too hard and it careened off the table. Without any volition on my part my hand shot out and plucked the die out of the air and returned it to him, m
Spring is finally arriving in the Berkshires. With the warmer weather we are able to open the windows and overhead doors of the dojo during class, letting the world in; kept out as it was throughout the long winter. The dafs and primroses are up and flowering while the rest of the garden plants are in various stages of testing the air; hesitant as though not quite trusting that winter has finally succumbed to the seasonal rite of spring.
The rising temperatures are also reawakening my body. Ukemi is becoming a little easier to take, sweat flows more freely and my oldish joints complain less than they did a month or two ago. Ahh, bring on the heat!
"Scientific cosmology is offering us a new picture of an awesome universe, but science provides no way of personally connecting to it. New scientific ideas as intellectual entertainment are not going to change our point of view. The scientific picture of the universe and the actual experience of it as reality - like mind and heart - each come fully alive in the connection with the other. Cosmic ideas need to be integrated harmoniously into all we know, and that can open us up to the universe. But how in practice is that done? How can we bring our stunted consciousness into harmony with scientific reality? This is the great challenge of our time…" Joel R. Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams, The View from the Center of the Universe.
How does the study of Aikido, a martial art, relate to my understanding of the universe and my experience of being of the universe? Aikido, in the larger context, larger that is than merely a collection of techniques used to deal with conflict, has provided me with a vehicle for experiencing the connection referred to in the first sentence in the above quote. I can read the science, observe my surroundings with my senses and measuring instruments, devise theories and provide explanations for natural phenomena, in other words feed my mind. Through study and book learning I can intellectually connect to the universe. But this intellectual connection is inadequate to enhance my experience of being of the universe and thus my connection remains incomple
The theme of our spring seminar will be the exploration of correct feeling within the context of Aikido. Correct feeling is the state I experience when my mind and body are coordinated. Correct feeling arises naturally when my mind and body approach unity; when I let go of what was, what may yet be and live in the moment. When I have correct feeling I am in my strongest possible state.
At the seminar we will use a combination of Ki exercises and Aikido techniques to help each other experience and explore correct feeling in our own unique individual ways.