Eric Saemann wrote:
Do you believe "projecting" self into open areas or into/toward inanimate objects can help in doing the same with uke(s)? For example, in meditation or doing solo forms/movements. If so, please elaborate.
I ask because my time in aikido training where there are ukes to practice with is much too little to become effective in this. Although, I realize that will be where the rubber meets the road.
Second, I find it easier to concentrate on whatever I need to when I'm doing solo work than when a partner (uke) enters the picture. I'm just trying to think about what's going on internally (as I do when no uke is present), albeit not very successfully, when an uke is present. It seems from this discussion that I could also think outside self and beyond uke (into open space). Any suggestions.
It's funny you should ask.
I had the advantage of two six-month deployments with no training partner, and a lot of solitary time on my hands. I did a lot of carefully thought-through free-form shadow boxing, working through a standard aikido technique curriculum, plus every other technique I could remember seeing or doing.
I projected an imaginary partner for training to give some sense of connection rather just than doing empty movements. I was forced to break techniques down into component movements, which helped articulate the nodes of transition to other techniques and variations. I would sweat more in doing those than I have in some energetic ki no nagare paired practices.
I was 2d kyu the first time and 1st kyu the second time and so I knew enough techniques, basically, plus some weapons suburi and other solo and companion forms to work through. (If any sailors on board make jokes about the goofy pilot swinging the broomstick and the bent stick on the flight deck or fo'c'sle, they didn't do it to my face
My conscious awareness was busier in modeling the movements of my imaginary partner for training than it was in deciding how I would move in repsonse (which was virtually a given once (he)I had determined his move). It left me to simply move in response to the companion move he (I) had made. Once he (I) had moved -- I moved without thinking at all, because, well, I didn't have to -- he(I) was doing that for me. Sounds a little schizoid, I suppose, but it really was very much the the opposite of that in feeling.
It has stood me in good stead, particularly as it helped my instinct for musubi, by learning rigorously how to dispose my mind to let uke decide my movement for me, while still playing an active but not dominating role in the cascade of movements that led to the outcome. I could not -- if I was to approach the training in any realistic context -- move before I had allowed my mental image of the attack to move first -- and then simply adapting my movement to that premise.
Oddly enough, since I could "dominate" my imaginary friend at any time, it seems there was absolutely no motivation to do so. I think there is an aiki/budo principle there to explore -- in the sensibility that leads to the attitude of noblesse oblige. By disposing my self to HAVE to will the attack, I was no longer disposed to will the response -- it just was what naturally had to happen at the point given what the attacker had just done.
I ended up shifting my perspective from uke to nage and back again -- just to move correctly. At the time, I just wanted to practice and had no training partner, so I had to imagine him. I realize now this was a unique gift. It made me internalize uke as I was performing as nage.