Ron Tisdale wrote:
Hmmm, well, how do I say this...
I think Mr. S. is in some ways correct when he says "only aikidoka would react this way". Please understand when I say this that I say it as much about myself **in certain circumstances** as I might say it about others. There is a very fine line here...I don't always know where it is. I don't think I can believe Watanabe Sensei's demo to be "real". There were some things in the ki society video that are the same...but I have been thrown [without overt cooperation] in some pretty amazing ways...but if conditioning was the reason, how would I as uke know?
I have no problem with the statement "only akidoka would react this way" this is a given, we train to make ukemi for our own benefit. Sometimes 'no touch' is the result of ukemi skillfully avoiding a strike. Something a non aikidoka may not be able to do, and they may have the bruises to show for it.
However sometimes it is more than this. Watanabe Sensei's demonstration does stretch credulity, but if we write it off as not 'real' then are we not effectively calling him a charlatan, or is it that "this would not happen in a 'real' situation ( whatever that is ).
The only explanation I can offer to explain the quite spectacular flip that the uke executes a few feet in front of Watanabe, is that the ukes mind was "thrown" and his body had no choice but to follow.
If the Uke did it of his own accord, this would be a sham.
So I hope that my explanation has some truth in it as I would hate to think that it was otherwise.
If your aikido practice relys on making contact, then your practice progresses to the point where technique is applied skillfully with the minimum of effort, if your aikido practice utilises the mind of the attacker, then physical contact is not always necessary. Maybe Watanabe Sensei has developed this to a point much further than most.
We might remind ourselves of the 'beginners mind' remeber when we first stepped onto the mat and everything was possible. Let's not think of ourselves as able to know where the limits of this fantastic art that we practice are.