Michael O'Brien wrote:
Mike and Mark,
Thank you both for your input and insight; I'll definitely think and work on it more. I hadn't thought of the "body cast" analogy before and I like that one. I have focused mostly on the unbendable arm concept that we use in training and working with my center from that idea.
I love to learn and train; My sensei is telling me I really need to get a life outside of Aikido because right now my life pretty much revolves around eat, sleep, work, and Aikido (not necessarily in that order either).
I still remember how excited I was the first time I actually felt my hips engage in irimi. I didn't think it was ever going to happen for me then one day it did and I was ready to dance across the mat. Those little breakthroughs are awesome.
Believe it or not I hadn't thought of the body cast analogy before either!! But, as you had asked for any exercises to help with these movements, I made that up while I stood up next to the computer. I use any analogy I can that makes sense to me, that somehow describes the state that I feel. I come up with some really odd images, but hey it's an art I can afford to be creative.
My teacher did the same for me and I found it really helpful then and still do now.
He also said don't live to practice aikido, practice aikido to live, which seems like the same advise that your sensei is offering. It's hopefully a long haul to the end of your life, aikido is a fantastic art to practice, but good balance is part of aikido practice, so good balance in life is good aikido, no?
The little breakthroughs are what keep us all going