Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: quickness & accuracy
I agree Charles, trust is very important here. This is why I tried to speak about having a context to such drills, having a community capable of supporting such drills, and/or, if necessary, trying these drills with a few friends or peers that you are close to, etc.
For me, Aiki is about relationships. When we opt to look at Aiki in this way, we may start by looking at things in terms of opposites and/or in terms of sameness, but then we move on to look at things in terms of harmony and in terms of blending, etc. If we keep going with this, soon we are going to look into those things that keep us from harmonizing, from blending -- from manifesting Aiki within all kinds of relationships, etc. So eventually, our practice is going to come head to head with issues like trust (or our incapacity to trust), but also with issues like faith (or our incapacity to have faith) and eventually even intimacy (or our incapacity to have intimacy), etc.
In a way then, training is not only that which requires things like trust, faith, and intimacy, it is also that thing which cultivates trust, faith, and intimacy. It cultivates these things by requiring these things. For that reason, I think we should probably understand these drills as NOT those things we cannot do if we do not have trust, but really as drills that help cultivate our capacity for trust, but also for faith and intimacy, etc. To be sure, this can and should also be what is happening in forms, but as with other elements, forms often fail us in this regard. Many times, forms can become a filter through which we actually alienate ourselves from others -- thus, many times, forms can cultivate alienation, not intimacy. We know, at least intuitively, that forms are done and/or can be done without raising issues of intimacy, etc. This is one reason why we can pretty much do Kihon Waza training with anyone around the globe (whereas in drills like these we are pressed to be not only in a very close relationship with someone but also in a very good relationship with someone).
Once a student came to our dojo from another local dojo -- she did not even get to this type of training yet. She was just on the verge -- with nearly all of her training coming to her through Kihon Waza. As you can imagine, each of us takes back what we learn and what we reconcile within these drills into Kihon Waza, which is something that is supposed to happen. So our Kihon Waza was operating in a different way or at a different place in her body/mind than hers was at her other dojo for her before. She was intuitively aware of this. Eventually, she just sort of halted her training. She said she could see how potent the training was, but that it was extremely difficult for her because all her life (these are her words) she has had "intimacy issues". She noted how close everyone was in the dojo and she felt that she could never open up like that, share like that, etc. When I told her that we all have intimacy issues, and that the resolving of these issues is one very good way of understanding Aikido training, she just could not believe me -- no faith, no trust. Sometimes forms are not enough, sometimes nothing is enough.
Sometimes, heck, every time, you just got to do what you got to do -- this is especially true in a system of practice that opts to cultivate things in you by requiring these things of you. We want there to be this notion of "first this, then that," but that is almost impossible in something so holistic and synergistic as Budo. So sometimes, heck, every time, you just go for it, cultivating faith by practicing faith because faith is required; cultivating trust by practicing trust because trust is required; cultivating intimacy by practicing intimacy because intimacy is required, etc.
Oh well… I'm rambling now -- thinking out loud.
Thanks very much for the reply and thank you very much for the effort to get the software so you could look at the videos. I am also grateful for your comments - very well said.