Dave Organ (DaveO) wrote:
....and that's the key; if I may jump in. 'If you're good enough'. So many people like to say 'aikido doesn't work, because you can't do such-and-such', glossing over the fact that it takes practice - lots and lots of lovely practice - to respond instantly in the right way. Just learning a technique is not enough; you must commit it to the subconcious; so you can do it without thinking.
Sorry; this really belongs on a different thread; but I had to seize the moment.
What I have been observing recently is that many students can perceive the instant that they need to move, they just can't get there fast enough.
In looking into why this is I found that like most problems in Aikido, the issue is tension. I am a very large guy and yet I can consistently move faster than most of my smaller students. This is not just a conditioning issue as I am anything but in my youthful prime. The laws of physics would indicate that these students should be able to move faster than I do but they can't.
There turned out to be two related factors that I could identify. The first is that most students stand in a nuetral kamai. In other words it isn't as if your car were in nuetral and you wanted to drag race. If you need to take the time to perceive the start, put the car in gear, then accelerate, you will never be fast enough. The car is already in gear and you are burning the clutch, then you simply release the breaks to explode forward. When you stand in kamai the energy of the irimi is aleady there, it is the front leg which holds you back from moving forward. I think this is what O-Sensei meant when he said that when surrounded by enemies he was unconcrened because he was already behind them.
The other issue is what prevents people from executing the above. It is simply tension in the legs. When one is too tight, one set of muscles must first be relaxed before the required set of muscles can activiate. That takes far too much time. If one can relax the legs, drop into ones center and use the muscles of the leg to "store" the energy reuired for the next movement, then it is simply a matter of releasing what is already there. This isn't possible when the legs are tight.
These two issues must both be resolved before one can get the body to move as fast as the preception dictates.