Re: A Consideration of Aikido Practice within the Context of Internal Training
I'm doing a lot of traveling these days, and visiting a lot of dojos. I'm also trying to reinforce my IS practice by bringing it consciously to the dojo. So I'm practicing a bunch of what Ellis is preaching right now.
It's not all beer and skittles. Most people in most dojos simply aren't that well connected (Sturgeon's Law applies). So when I'm being thrown by their poorly-connected body, it's what He Who Must Not Be Named calls a bag of hammers--it's less like smoothly giving way and more like trying to stay out of their way, or trying to lead them if they're junior. But actually taking the throw without losing the 6-directions expansion is kinda fun.
Being nage has its own set of problems. The errors I make while working the IS principles are different from the errors I make while just doing my habitual aikido. It's easy to blend--less easy to be soft while opening, keeping 6 directions, making sure hands and feet are connected to hara, and all the rest of the malarkey. In my own dojo I know what to expect from everybody--when I'm visiting, I don't know if I'm going to be hit with a bag of hammers, a bulldozer, or a noodle, and I have to be prepared for any of them without losing focus or tensing up.
So it's good practice, I think, and it's forcing me to address challenges in actually making the IS stuff work.