Aikido will save you from your self
This is great. Great and stupid. Great and stupid and smooth.
About 2 hours ago I found myself awake on Christmas eve morning and unable to return to sleep (about 4 AM) I had been planning on sleeping in but that plan seemed to have fallen through so I decided to get in some morning training while I didn't have any obligations to the family, and could spend some much deserved time with myself.
I picked up my bokken and went out onto the deck for a healthy 500 swings and began with jodan giri. Now I have to state here that for all intent and purpose, it was pitch dark out. Clouds and rain coming down (typical Seattle weather) and I had decided not to turn on the porch light for reasons that shall forever be unknown. I should also state that this deck has no railings on it and just barely fits the city ordnance for what is considered a "safe" height off the ground (about 4 feet at it's highest point.)
So I begin my swinging and stepping forward towards the end of the deck. I've done this hundreds of times before and so i have a"feeling" for where the end of the deck is, but I had never truly been out there in the middle of the night. To shorten this story, I reached what I thought was the end of the deck and decided to make my last cut a "stomping cut with a kiai" hoping that I wouldn't wake my family (them being on the other side of the house and all)
The event that transpired next could not possibly have been seen in this light so I'll have to try and write out the sound that was heard.
As you may have already guessed, I "stomped" right off the edge of the deck. I experience one of those brief moments where suddenly you realize you have absolutely no control about where your body is about to move and that where ever it's going, it's probably going to be unpleasant.
At that point, I thought I was in for a painful ordeal. However halfway through the fall my unconsciously-competent aikido mind kicked in and I tucked my head and shoulder, along with my sword, to the left and managed to perform a sloppy kind of "diving" roll.
The worst I managed to get out of it was some mud on my clothes.
It was rather profound for me. All my students will now be required, on their shodan test to perform a stomping cut off the end of a high deck (without any tentativeness) and roll out of it.
Happy Christmas everyone!