Thread: Missing Links!
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Old 12-05-2003, 12:53 PM   #4
Kensho Furuya
Dojo: Aikido Center of Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 341
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Thanks for your private message. This is a very hard question to answer and I think you might have been inspired but what I said in another thread regarding practice. I do have to agree with the above people when they say that it depends on the dojo and who you are studying under. Some dojos practice a "softer" Aikido and some prefer a much so-called "harder" style.

I can only give you my personal ideas and opinions in this as I teach in my own dojo. Although I prefer a softer more flowing, strongly connected style, I believe that what I teach my students must, first of all, be correct technique and must work both on and off the mats. There is no black and white method to teaching or practice. I think a beginning student must go slowly and learn the basics very thoroughly, I think advanced students and black belts must never lose the awareness of correctness of practice and technique. If the practice is too soft and slow, one does not adequately train the body to move well and does not develop strong tai-sabaki. If one practices too hard, it is easy to become too stiff and hard. Being limp is no good, but being too crude and rough is not good Aikido either.

Fast or slow, the attack must have integrity - at least make contact so the student knows and learns how to move off the line of attack and neutralize the opponent's force and establish his own postion.

The most boring but the best way to practice, I believe, is simply to practice the technique over and over and over countless numbers of times. As the student begins to become more accustomed to the movement and the technique and gains confidence in his strength and ability to take ukemi, it is possible to begin to gradually increase the intensity of the practice. I need my students in the dojo daily, or at least, often enough so I can gauge the degree and level of their training constantly. . . . If you push too hard, the student gets gun-shy and too stiff, if you don't push enough, they get lazy and arrogant. All practice is balance, balance, balance!

There are too many aspects to this to discuss here. Generally, over all, there is much too much chit-chat in the dojo. Discipline should be a little stricter - we have moved away from this and I see much too much free time, playing around and chatter. This all disturbs the focus and attention one needs to practice. Also, overall, students are too spoiled - the practice is a little too hard, and off they go to the next dojo. Less talk, more practice, and more stick to it, thick or thin. . . . . all in the context of the correctness of practice and technique. These are my three links. . . . . Hope this helps. Gads! I hope I don't get into trouble here, these comments are generally for my own students only. . . . .
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