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Old 02-20-2013, 10:55 AM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
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Re: The Harmlessness of Humor

I am reminded of a many decades old concert at which Pete Seeger gave "the schoolmarm stare of death (TM)" to Arlo Guthrie and deadpanned "Arlo, folksinging is serious business." Brought down the house....

There are times one trains with total focus and intent. But there are also times when sticking out one's tongue at one's partner is the right thing to do, times when laughing is the right thing to do.

Last night I was working with several newbies in my low impact aikido class (folks w/ pain and/or mobility issues) - it was their third class and they are still getting used to the idea of attacking and of being attacked. When I am about to deliver a munetsuki, and I see the person is really tense, I might cheerfully bellow, "I'm gonna get you now!" or let out a huge growl - the person laughs and immediately relaxes - and as I follow through with the attack that relaxation lets the person actually move freely. We have been having a ball, and you know what? They are seriously learning.

Having said that, yes, if the instructor on the mat calls for silent practice or for deadpan intent and focus, I totally do my best during that session to train in that way. If my training partner does not look like a person receptive to levity, I don't step over that line.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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