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On our first lesson back, after the Christmas & New Year break, Sensei Derrick told me i was ready to take my Nidan.
My first feelings were that of gratitude that sensei thought i was ready, then i began to realize the amount of work i had in front of me.
Last week he asked what i needed to go through, i began to reel of what i thought i would need, he chuckled and added 'ok. make a list'
It reminded me when i was about to take Shodan, i was asked by Sensei Riley on the last class before my grade - what i wanted to cover, my reply was 'the last 5 years'
So i need to break out of my 'comfort bubble' and put in the extra effort, time, sweat, focus and mileage - clearly set my goals and ramp up my training to achieve them.
Sensei demonstrates -- we copy, to the best of our ability, but looking around how many differences do you see.
It's also interesting in Aikido, when we see the ‘same' technique performed differently, from different Sensei's and associations, each one equally valid.
In November Sensei McAuley was teaching Gokyo from Shomen Uchi during the Tuesday class, Sensei Derrick then showed a different method on Sunday, and during training Sensei Dean Sheldrake showed yet another version.
In each case the technique worked, using the gokyo ‘form'
This got me to thinking -
How strictly do we follow the set form and still call it ‘my' technique?
How much can we adapt our technique, and yet still follow the set form?
I remember attending a seminar with Judo Sensei Chris Dalton, who addressed this issue by comparing it to 3 famous artists creating a picture of the same building --
One painting in water colours.
One drawing in pastels.
One drawing with ink.
All 3 would be slightly different, even though they had worked from the same form, none could be called right or wrong -- just a different interpretation.
These expressions of personality should and will over time happen naturally.
If we compare a shihonage performed by a short and tall person, we will notice natural differences, due to their respective body mechanics.
However one should not set out to change their techniques, for no other reason than to be different or to appear special.