Graham, you may have answered this earlier but please indulge me...What is the purpose of your training? While this can be a variety of different things do you expect to be able to defend yourself, expect that your students will be able to defend themselves in a physical manner against an attacker meaning to cause you/your student bodily harm?
Hi Lyle, nice to meet you.
The purpose? Well, first of all I entered Aikido because I was a young angry man and with a friend of mine discussed how we stood up to bullies, wouldn't follow the crowd of gang culture, were angry with life and agreed that even though we felt this was right we saw the end to continuously doing this would either be prison or worse, there must be something that could help us. I told him I had read books on chi and was willing to save up and go to china and learn it because it seemed to me the truth was in yourself if you could only find it. We had similar views.
The next year he told me he had found a guy in Watford who taught Ki which was the same thing so off we went.
Thus my first purpose was to learn 'chi'.
This soon turned into to improve myself.
As to defending myself against physical attacks I must point this out first. As a fit strong young man, me a footballer and my friend a boxer, we tried many times to defeat, to outwit, to test the teacher and others in the class and thus learned the hard way first.
Now, our greatest question to ourselves was could this that we were learning work in real life situations. We seemed masters of finding out so yes is the answer to your question.
I have been in many dangerous, physical situations and in the end wondered why? It all seemed good to me as I was prooving this way worked but then I realized somehow it was me who was creating these situations in order to prove. Everything changed at that point for me and I realized I had nothing to prove and plenty more to learn and it truly was a path of self developement even though the ability to handle physical aggressors was a side effect.
Now I only smile when a student tells me when something drastic happened and all they did was tai-sabake, or 'be with', or welcome the attack or.... you get the drift.
Recently my son was showing a girl around a house. He
works for a home cleaning company as a driver and basically picks up the cleaners and takes them to their destinations. This girl was new so he had been left the keys so he could take her in the house and show her where everything was.
A neighbour had seen him go in, leave the door open and put two and two together and decided he was a burglar in his friends house and so ran in to sort him out.
He said he was at the sink and turned to see this big bald guy rushing him and about to give him a right hook. All he knew was everything went to center and he joined him, he had turned and found himself next to him with his arm around his shoulders and the guy froze. He said all he did was smile and say Hi. He said the guys eyes were wide and confused so he proceeded to introduce himself and tell him what he was doing. The guy needed a cigarette, sat down and apologised and soon after they left together leaving the girl there to do her cleaning.
He said the only mischievous thing he did was act like nothing had happened leaving the poor guy totally bemused.
To me this was excellent Aikido and he was on a high for quite a while.