Re: Slow Aikido
Our Instructor used to say that "Slow is Fast and Fast is Slow".
It sounds funny and contradicting until you really understand what it means.
Let's assume we are already at MAI-AI.
For the average person, being fast means jumping forward or lunging. You want to get there really fast right. But what happens when you lunge or spring forward to attack?
First thing you have to do is a weight shift to your rear foot, then you sink down slightly to get your legs ready to spring forward, then you spring forward. So there is 2 parts to your movement.
To me this is really a slow process. While the end result is a fast spring, the compression phase of this movement is rather slow and is telegraphed from a mile away.
Now lets move slowly. All you have to do in fall forward by lifting for knee. Fall with whatever foot is forward. Don't do the weight shift, just let your body fall forward and then slide your back foot up to complete the movement like Sugi-Ashi.
It's a slow relaxed movement, but you actually close the distance faster without a pre-movement shift of your body.
I don't know if other people do this, but I've tested it with other styles of MA and I am almost 100% of the time faster than they are. Not because I'm fast, but because I know how to move more efficiently.
Another thing to think about is moving to fast or to early. By being nervous or excited, you can often move to fast or take Uke's balance and not wait for his recovery.
By being to fast and applying the technique to early, you close the window of opportunity on that technique. You have to slow down and wait for Uke to catch up. This is faster because you are in time with Uke and you don't stop the technique and let Uke figure out what you are doing.
Practicing slowly will also increase your muscle memory. It's like learning scales on the guitar. If you try to speed through them you will sound sloppy and your timing will usually be off. If you practice slowly while learning and practicing your timing will be more precise and your finger positioning will be more accurate.