RE: Mongo and Nick (prev. 2 threads)
About a year ago, I satisfied both your suggestions and attended a Saotome Shihan seminar at Shindai Aikikai in Orlando. I certainly felt a presense throughout the dojo. The chief instructor at Shindai, Hooker Sensei, was accepting his Rokudan certificate from Mitsugi Saotome. Even his knee-walk (shikko) was powerful. Saotome Sensei's presentation was intense, extraordinary, and fun. An important point Shihan made was that there exists NO "magic ki". I truly agreed with his point, because I know some aikidoka who really believe understanding ki will give them some magic powers. The seminar cocentrated on atemi, which showed me a more combat-effective aikido than I'd seen before. However, I still do not fully trust the aikiwaza I've learned for use during a physical conflict. Maybe in time, maybe in due time.
Please let me know next time you're around. I'd really like to work with you. (we may have already and didn't know it) HA! Yes, Saotome Sensei's seminars are fantastic! His wife, Patty Saotome sensei will be at Shindai the weekend of Dec. 8th (next weekend) for a seminar as well. Let me know if you can make it and we'll bang heads or something. Bring your weapons as well. I consider myself really blessed to be associated with such fine instructors as Hooker sensei and Saotome(s) sensei's and Dr. Jones sensei. There is no BS with these people otherwise, believe me, I wouldn't be here. What they teach works very well but it's like anything else you do, it takes practice, practice and then some more practice. Did I mention the practice?
It sounds to me (and don't take this as a negative) that you are really questioning your own ability to execute the techniques under "real" conditions, rather than the efficiency of the techniques themselves.
Perhaps Ledyard sensei can elaborate on this point, but I think what you're feeling is not all that uncommon with a lot of students. I'll bet a lot of people feel that way until the principles are really understood. For me, I have a history of fighting so I'm a little more willing to try things under "real" situations. I think people without a lot of fighting experience will always doubt their abilities until it's showtime. Actually being attacked, and getting hit is unfamiliar to them and we as humans tend to fall back on what we've done in the past rather than take a chance on what we've learned. It's really human nature at work here. Thats why it's so important to put the practice time in. In time (I am told) technique becomes reflex. I have not totally reached that state yet, and I know I have a long way to go. I must say though, I'm really enjoying this journey!
In regard to Hooker sensei's power, I've had the honor and privilege of being his uke for a couple years now and well.... ahhhh...... WOW! All I can tell you is you need to experience it for yourself. Stop by and grab him once! You may want to warm up first though, ah, try grabbing the bumper of the next fully loaded dump truck you see going by at 90 miles an hour. That might give you an idea.........
Well, enough of this, I'm off to become one with the mat!
Train hard, Play hard, Live easy
Dan P. - Mongo