David, we did try drill one a few times, but I wasn't sure how to progress from there. This post made the point of the drills much more clear, thank you!
The experience was rather difficult for me, leading the class, because I was constantly surprised with the different ways people found of dealing with the pressure and I wasn't sure how to lead the whole practice in a good direction. Generally people did say they liked the drill, but the feel of the whole group was rather ...stressed afterwards and I also found it difficult to deal with that.
The most noticeable change right after was that people were attacking less timidly.
Are these drills something you do very regularly? I felt we should have been doing the drill more often, and with less time between, to have real progress.
Thank you for writing me - I appreciate it very much. This is exactly the kind of feedback I was interested in receiving. So, I am VERY grateful.
I think I can understand you perfectly when you mention how surprising it is to see how folks try and deal with the pressure - it truly is amazing to see how differently we all try and cope with it. Yet, and I think you would agree, some major patterns emerge nevertheless. This, I feel, occurs because we are all human and all subject to our own humanity - our human qualities (e.g. states of virtue, emotional content, personal histories, our psychology, etc.) That is a huge part of the drill - what it reveals about our mind and thus about our state of awareness and thus our capacity at embodying Aikido's principles and bringing such principles into a martial setting physically.
I have always felt that drills like this take training to a completely deeper level - because they more directly touch upon the deeper aspects of our inner self. As a result, we can often feel pretty "weird" after such training - "odd" in a way. So, as a teacher, I just try and be aware of that and make sure that folks have some sort of positive context from which they can interpret what it is they may be feeling. Thus, such drills, in my opinion, have to be part of larger training perspective that not only works to bring more depth to one's training but that can also actually work to support such efforts.
Again, I am so grateful for your email. If you'd like, please feel free to ask any questions that you might have concerning the drill and/or that might arise next time you try it. I would be happy to share what we are experiencing with you as well. Moreover, if you can film one of your sessions, and pass that along to me with some questions, I would be most willing to assist you as specifically as possible given this medium of communication. I am at your service.
Also - I would very much like to share this message with the thread since I think it is highly relevant. However, if you wanted to keep this more private, I would be most appreciative if you would allow me to quote you anonymously or to paraphrase you (please, you decide which one you would prefer) as a lean-in to my reply here. I will wait for a reply from you before I attempt anything in regards to the thread.
Again - thanks so much for writing,