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LinTal 07-11-2011 01:07 AM

Changing perspective
 
Hi everyone,

During class this weekend my sensei announced that we'd be having a grading in the next couple weeks. You should have seen how alert the whole class suddenly became! It got me thinking though, this (5th Kyu) will be my second testing and I've changed quite alot since the first. Before I was more concerned with not knowing what to expect, and now I'm more aware of honouring the mentoring that's been poured into me by so many people. Before I would only see a blur of hands and feet moving everywhere, and be quite surprised if anything worked. Now it's all that, I'm just more aware of some things feeling good, and alot more aware when I don't do it right!

So I was just wondering how you've changed between grades, how your perspective's changed over the years. Can you target a changing 'theme' for each grade or era, or is it more of a subtle combination of experiences for you?

Tim Ruijs 07-11-2011 05:31 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Hi

When you practise regularly you will progress. To what extend and in what direction depends on what you are working on and what gets presented in class.
In my experience this progress does not relate to strongly to a grade. However, when training for the next grade it sometimes happens that you 'get' something that you until then did not understand. But I think this is a result of more intense training rather than the specific grade you were preparing for.
Also you yourself may, and probably will, change during your Aikido 'career', so comparision of how you progress at higher grades and your progression at lower ones is hard, if not to say impossible.

I have changed considerably since I began Aikido. Focus has shifted from me learning the techniques to how to pass the knowledge on to (my) students. What connects techniques? What is a good way to safely have students practise ukemi? That sort of thing.
When I started out I saw mainly differences, today I see similarity.
:D

Shadowfax 07-11-2011 09:55 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Yes I have noticed that I have changed between each grade. How my response to an upcoming test has become less and less towards worrying about the test itself and more towards just continuing to learn. I remember frantically practicing to prepare for my first test and being really nervous about it, being very high energy for my second and more relaxed for my third. Now I am preparing for another test to come soon and feeling much more relaxed about it. Now instead of worrying a lot about the specific techniques on the test I look at what we are doing in class and look at the parts of similar techniques and variations that are related to what I will be needing to demonstrate on my test. For instance I will be having to do a fair bit of swari waza on my test but I don't do much at all in regular training because I need to be careful of my knees. But I look close at the standing versions of these techniques and when I do a little kneeling practice I can find the similarities and use them.

I really like this place I am in because it allows me the freedom to continue moving forward instead of stopping everything to concentrate on just one set of techniques.

As we continue to grow and learn our perspectives change and we start seeing things that once were big concerns as inconsequential. It is all a part of the process.

LinTal 07-14-2011 01:07 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Quote:

Tim Ruijs wrote: (Post 287585)
Hi

When I started out I saw mainly differences, today I see similarity.
:D

Brilliant! This weekend, the weekend before the grading, another group from another style is coming to train at my dojo. It's so dizzying that such a wildly huge range of people can love the same thing! Which reveals the essential similarities, I suppose.

Shadowfax, but where does that ever stop??!! :p

Stephen Nichol 02-16-2012 08:49 PM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Quote:

Selin Talay wrote: (Post 287787)
Brilliant! This weekend, the weekend before the grading, another group from another style is coming to train at my dojo. It's so dizzying that such a wildly huge range of people can love the same thing! Which reveals the essential similarities, I suppose.

Shadowfax, but where does that ever stop??!! :p

That depends on the individual. Hopefully it never stops. Hopefully you will find yourself continuously discovering aspects of Aikido that you will want to focus yourself on, each little bit at a time.

As people say, at first it is about getting past 'which hand and foot goes where and how to keep your balance and be centered while moving.'

After that becomes a little more 'internalized' you then find yourself looking for similarities in all techniques as opposed to the differences.

Then perhaps you start to see that the techniques are not 'Aikido' themselves but only an outward expression of it. We need to find the Aikido in each technique which eventually leads to 'no technique' and just being connected to yourself, centred, always. When you then 'do Aikido' you are already connected and centred so when you make contact with your partner you connect with their centre immediately and can do what you will/want.

For me this is the really fun part of being able to just 'train'. Go to each class and try to connect with my centre, not lose my own connection, stay balanced in every movement. When doing any technique, take my time and 'feel' my connection with my partner and try to move it ever so slightly without creating resistance in them or myself. This is the part that I hope never truly stops. I would like to be able to feel and 'know' this is still happening even when I hopefully 'internalize' it and it is second nature.

Each little success gives me a smile. Each little failure is met with a laugh as it is another chance to find success through the understanding of why I failed. Lots of things to laugh and smile about while training.

Shadowfax 02-17-2012 07:36 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Quote:

Selin Talay wrote: (Post 287787)
Shadowfax, but where does that ever stop??!! :p

Hopefully never. :)

Demetrio Cereijo 02-17-2012 09:11 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Quote:

Selin Talay wrote: (Post 287579)
So I was just wondering how you've changed between grades

I felt my wallet lighter.

Dazzler 02-17-2012 09:14 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Quote:

Demetrio Cereijo wrote: (Post 303275)
I felt my wallet lighter.

:D

Chris Knight 02-21-2012 04:26 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
My perspective has changed dramatically, since my 6th and 5th kyu gradings, and having recently taken my 4th kyu.

My teacher is constantly emphasising the irrelevance of technique and the importance of principles, techniques will follow the body's movement.

This is becoming glaringly obvious, and my solo training albeit basic self taught is constantly giving me feedback about my posture and connection throughout class, I can feel as soon as I loose connection and alignment, I just don't know how to maintain it yet...

The external exercises have helped me immensely with my balance, grounding, least reliance on muscular strength and feel.

I'm glad that I'm not in a class who's teacher concentrates on techniques as the" be all and end all. "
This isn't practical and the body needs to be trained to move from the "real" core, and fine tuned over time to develop fascia strength etc... In my opinion, without developing the core, psoas and related infrastructure, walking around with a beer belly aint gonna help anyone...

I'm pretty sure if in another class in another city, I could have been going down the wrong route, and been concentrating on the wrong things for a lot longer

As always. my personal thoughts only

Chris

lbb 02-21-2012 08:14 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to use hiking analogies. Really, people, all of life can be explained through hiking analogies -- I swear! :D

There's a type of hiker known as the "peak bagger", whose objective is to reach the summit of some peak or group of peaks (the 10,000-footers of Colorado, for example, or the 4,000-footers of the New Hampshire White Mountains). To a peak bagger, the route taken to the top, the experience along the way, or any skill gained in the process is secondary at best and often completely irrelevant: crossing that peak off your list is what matters. That's not to say that you can't have some amazing experiences in the course of summiting a list of peaks, but if your reason for being there is to check the peak off your list, those amazing experiences will tend to pass you by, even when they're right in your path. And if they involve taking a side trail? Forget it.

But a peak bagger doesn't always stay a peak bagger. Those encouragements to be something other than that are always there at the edges of the straight-to-the-top experience, just waiting to be noticed. The side trail with the marker "Money Brook Falls 1.1 mile"...the maple sapling next to the trail that makes you wonder what it will look like in the fall...the old man you meet at a stream crossing whose battered hat causes you to think that he's got a lot of hiking stories to tell.

One day you go to a trailhead, and instead of taking the summit trail, you take a different one. Maybe it will get you to the summit, maybe it won't. Maybe it will take you around the shoulder of the mountain and show you a view you wouldn't have seen going the other way. Or maybe it will take you into a swamp, and you'll get wet feet and blisters and mosquito bites (and, maybe, get to see a great blue heron too). But as soon as you start hiking without an agenda, the whole experience opens up and becomes much more. Training without an agenda is much the same. Rather than setting a series of goals for yourself -- I will learn to execute this move correctly, I will master that ukemi, I will memorize this form, I will test for this rank -- it might be better to aspire to simply step onto the mat without an agenda. If the journey doesn't take you anywhere you want to be, well, that's okay -- after a while you'll figure that out, and you'll go find another experience. But be patient with it. A useful hiking saying is, "Good judgment comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgment." You have to get lost a few times to learn how to really be found; you have to get wet and sore and scratched and bug-bit before you know which discomforts should be avoided and which are just part of the price you pay for a worthwhile experience.

dps 02-21-2012 11:37 PM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 303483)
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to use hiking analogies. Really, people, all of life can be explained through hiking analogies -- I swear! :D

There's a type of hiker known as the "peak bagger", whose objective is to reach the summit of some peak or group of peaks (the 10,000-footers of Colorado, for example, or the 4,000-footers of the New Hampshire White Mountains). To a peak bagger, the route taken to the top, the experience along the way, or any skill gained in the process is secondary at best and often completely irrelevant: crossing that peak off your list is what matters. That's not to say that you can't have some amazing experiences in the course of summiting a list of peaks, but if your reason for being there is to check the peak off your list, those amazing experiences will tend to pass you by, even when they're right in your path. And if they involve taking a side trail? Forget it.

But a peak bagger doesn't always stay a peak bagger. Those encouragements to be something other than that are always there at the edges of the straight-to-the-top experience, just waiting to be noticed. The side trail with the marker "Money Brook Falls 1.1 mile"...the maple sapling next to the trail that makes you wonder what it will look like in the fall...the old man you meet at a stream crossing whose battered hat causes you to think that he's got a lot of hiking stories to tell.

One day you go to a trailhead, and instead of taking the summit trail, you take a different one. Maybe it will get you to the summit, maybe it won't. Maybe it will take you around the shoulder of the mountain and show you a view you wouldn't have seen going the other way. Or maybe it will take you into a swamp, and you'll get wet feet and blisters and mosquito bites (and, maybe, get to see a great blue heron too). But as soon as you start hiking without an agenda, the whole experience opens up and becomes much more. Training without an agenda is much the same. Rather than setting a series of goals for yourself -- I will learn to execute this move correctly, I will master that ukemi, I will memorize this form, I will test for this rank -- it might be better to aspire to simply step onto the mat without an agenda. If the journey doesn't take you anywhere you want to be, well, that's okay -- after a while you'll figure that out, and you'll go find another experience. But be patient with it. A useful hiking saying is, "Good judgment comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgment." You have to get lost a few times to learn how to really be found; you have to get wet and sore and scratched and bug-bit before you know which discomforts should be avoided and which are just part of the price you pay for a worthwhile experience.

Excellent!!

dps

dps 02-22-2012 12:10 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Quote:

Selin Talay wrote: (Post 287579)



So I was just wondering how you've changed between grades, how your perspective's changed over the years. Can you target a changing 'theme' for each grade or era, or is it more of a subtle combination of experiences for you?

The experience is more important than the ranking.

Belt ranks are a means to measure your understanding of the principles and not an end unto themselves.

dps

matty_mojo911 03-15-2012 09:00 PM

Re: Changing perspective
 
I train in little old New Zealand. Some of you won't actually even know where this is on the map - I certainly always had to point it out when travelling. Every year our little old club used to fly over a top Japanese Sensei who would do a 2 day seminar. The Senseis are always lovely people.

Then one day our style afiliated with Aikikai, this was a Japan based decision, primarily for their top ranking persons to have a formal certificate etc...etc...

We were then told that my next grading for Sandan would cost something like $500 - this was mostly to get the certificate from Aikikai. Of course I said that is stupid, I don't want one of their certificates, have never needed one, and don't think we need them at all. Eventually the club said they would pay for it, I told them not to.

The point is this - what changes as you get higher rank? For a start it becomes more political, who you know, how well you get on with people - that sort of thing.

The early grades upto Shodan are where the true enjoyment is at, the true enjoyment is in the practice, that is all that matters.

LinTal 10-31-2012 07:15 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Revisiting this old thread is a new pleasure and a teaching experience every time, wanted to say thanks for sharing.

aiki-jujutsuka 11-04-2012 08:20 AM

Re: Changing perspective
 
as I have a grading in the next couple of weeks this thread is very relevant to me at the moment. I noticed a big change between my 4th Kyu and 3rd Kyu gradings. I had to perform 3 variations of the 10 principles as well as the Shodan Kata (sitting, half standing and standing) for my 4th Kyu. For my 3rd Kyu it was 5 variations and the Shodan Kata, a total of 71 techniques. What I noticed between gradings was the variations came much more naturally to me - I had a slight mental block during my 4th Kyu grading but the variations came far more naturally to me by my 3rd Kyu. So I could sense the progress I had made even while grading. This was reassuring to me.

However, the biggest change in my perspective since then as I am now going for my 2nd Kyu is the importance of the Kata and 'feeling' for the posture before executing the technique. My Kata still has a long way to go but I don't believe it is as mechanical now as it once was. I am beginning to understand the deeper principles about posture and controlling the posture by locking up the arm/shoulder and being able to manipulate their centre of balance. Applying my own bodyweight to the waza is proving slightly more difficult as I still find it very hard to 'centre' myself or as my instructors like to say 'thinking from your abdomen'.

For my 2nd Kyu grading I will have to perform 25 knife-defence techniques as well as the 71 previous techniques so there is a lot to remember. My instructors will be looking for an improvement in the execution of the 71 techniques I've performed prior to this grading as well as safe and realistic knife-defence techniques. Although I have been practising my knife-defence techniques fairly regularly over the past couple of months the dynamic of being attacked with a weapon is very different to empty-handed techniques and ingraining the techniques into my muscle memory has proven challenging. I still get mental blocks occassionally. Nevertheless, having experienced similar frustrations with my 4th Kyu grading I know that I will overcome this current mental barrier as well and so am just trying to relax and enjoy my training as much as possible. I am thankful for the benefit of my experience now as I approach my 2nd Kyu grading; I am not as worried as I used to be and know that the most important thing is to carry on training diligently.

hughrbeyer 11-04-2012 04:54 PM

Re: Changing perspective
 
Quote:

Matt Morris wrote: (Post 305626)
We were then told that my next grading for Sandan would cost something like $500 - this was mostly to get the certificate from Aikikai. Of course I said that is stupid, I don't want one of their certificates, have never needed one, and don't think we need them at all. Eventually the club said they would pay for it, I told them not to.

The point is this - what changes as you get higher rank? For a start it becomes more political, who you know, how well you get on with people - that sort of thing.

Yah, people are political, deal with it.

I sympathize with the point of view. For me, I value my ranks for who gave them to me, not the parent organization... In fact I spent some time arguing with my current teacher that he needed to sign my dan certificate, or at least stamp it. Didn't get anywhere, but it was a good fight.

OTOH, I have no problem supporting organizations I believe in. If your seniors think affiliation with the Aikikai is worth it, maybe it is. And it's not necessarily wrong for people higher up in the ranking to support the organization more than those lower down.


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