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Old 01-20-2012, 01:46 PM   #24
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: "The goal is not to throw"

I am on the fence about this one, mostly because [I think] the way this is explained by seniors and the way it is interpreted by juniors is sometimes not the same. This is one of those concepts that is generally introduced too early and the result is... different than the intent.

The goal should be to throw until you know how to throw and can do it with competency. Dan is spot on in saying throwing someone who is not cooperating is a different experience than throwing someone who is actively participating in their own compromise. For those who can competently throw tori with or without tori's participation, talk all you want about the mundane of focusing on throwing our partners. As a competent practitioner, ideally your movement transitions such that you do not focus on moving your partner; you focus on moving yourself after assimilating your partner onto your center.

I'd also add a few observations:

1. Aikido is about control. The fact that you are trying to alter your partner's response to your own design inherently defines your actions as "controlling". That said, I do not think there is anything wrong asserting control over your partner; the magic lies in why you are asserting control...
2. Aikido in many respects seeks to accelerate the experience of throwing by generally repressing uke's natural responses to preserve his center. I think we call those who do not willfully fall for us "jerks with bad energy"...

My instructor used to describe this transition as analogous to when we learned to drive. Both hands on the wheel, full stops, no radio, turn signals when we think we are changing lanes and absolute terror merging onto the highway. 10 years later... listening to the radio, driving with one hand while (gulp) texting and absolute terror merging onto the highway. We need to let our bodies absorb the movements before we are ready to decide what we do and don't need. And we certainly should be questioning anyone who has decided to tell us what we don't need or won't teach...
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