Originally posted by cconstantine
First: Follow your dojo and your sensei.
If my expressed thoughts really strike an idea in your mind, ask your sensei or instructors. I'm not in any way trying to preach. I'm really just trying to air my ideas to see what others think. (AND my apologies up; This is a MONSTER of a post.)
Is it ever a monster! Hey Craig, I looked at your website and one of the first things on it is how much you like to write.
So again, in the interests of bandwidth and people's patience I am going to snip large bits.
Please don't worry that I am going to take your ideas at face value and base all of my personal aiki-philosophy around them. I don't do that with my instructors let alone random people on the internet.
Chris Satori <upthread> also expressed a counter opinion. I was going to speak to his points, but didn't have enough time to spare at work that day. hehe... I'll try again now (to explain more clearly).
Frankly, I had similar concerns as Chris' - that your aiki was a bit fluffy-bunny for my taste. I did however want to find out a bit more before completely sticking my foot in it so I posed a couple of hopefully fairly unbiased and non-confrontational questions.
Now what I think is that although we would probably train in a similar manner we do not share the same English vocabulary WRT aikido - probably as a result of differing lineages and dojo cultures. I've been thinking and I cannot recall ever hearing the word "blend" in my home dojo. Join up, join with, kimasubi - these are all used for a similar set of concepts. Language guides thinking....
I'd be interested in hearing from other posters - do your teachers use the word "blend" frequently?
How about "one point" and "extend ki". Are there any other words you see used here that aren't part of your usual dojo vocabulary?
It's my opinion that you cannot practice aikido UNLESS you blend at all times. I can't practice by saying "I'm doing technique foo and you're going down." It's different every time, I can't ignore uke. I have to be aware of uke, feel uke, be in one point.
'Blend' is much easier to say.
When you share the same set of assumptions... Sometimes you have to come right out and say - pay attention to what your uke is and what she's doing.
The number of times I've felt the urge to tell my nage to stop trying to do their technique on some imaginary tall person (I'm 5'3").
It's also possible that for you, a self-described bear, it's true that without lots of give or blend in your practice you wouldn't get much useful training done at all.
I am also terribly uncomfortable with the amount of mysticising that goes on in the vicinity of aikido. Sure sometimes aikido seems to be just well, magical, but it's ordinary, everyday, repeatable stuff that anyone who is inclined to can practice and succeed at. I don't feel the need to wrap it up in appeals to "become one with the universe" or "feel the flow of ki".
In fact I sometimes think WRT martial arts,
<Cue corny kung-fu movie accent>,
"Ah so, "ki", ancient oriental sports psychology..."
<offered with sincere apologies to anyone offended by the racist stereotype>
Getting back to point zero -
When you're working with a semi-skilled and strong nage - you want to give enough energy to challenge but not enough to frustrate. This is where I feel giving, blending, going with, whatever term you like to use, for self-preservation is really at its most obvious.
I feel the spirit behind this interaction carries through into the two scenarios you've described, although as they are extremes
it's not clear how. Your college girl is unlikely to break your wrist if her kotegaishi comes on unexpectedly hard and fast through overmuscled frustration, neither are you really likely to seriously annoy your yondan by giving them one too many strong attacks they can't handle. (If in the unlikely event they can't handle your attacks safely they should at least have the self control not to get violently po'd.)
So I think that in the beginning and in the end - we give good ukemi to enable the practice of aikido without being injured. It's quite simple really, nonmystical and even a little selfish.
aside: this took an hour to write. I think I just saw an email that sarah just posted more, so this is going to appear after her post, even though I haven't read it...
Is trivia, I wouldnt worry about it. The fun to be had with imaginary nages, who are even less likely to break your wrist.