Paula Lydon wrote:
~~Hi All! I'm still having a hard time reconciling the martial/spiritual aspects of Aikido. Just when I think I'm focusing on movement/blending and flowing with my partner, they take a shot at me and tell me I'm open. I, of course, want to fly into them because I was being all open and trusting and then kick myself for ever having let my guard down. So then I go back to training in a very martial head and someone else says, 'chill, just relax and move; you're acting like you on a battlefield and it's just the dojo'.
Hmmmmm...What do you do?
1) People have different ways of patronizing other people. It's possible that you experienced 2 of them.
2) There are people who have both "flowing/blending" and "power" going on at the same time.
Find such a person and try to imitate them. This is how Aikido should be done. For example, look no further than the recently released DVD of Moriteru Ueshiba Sensei.
3) What you think to be "martial" may not necessarily be "martial".
The advice you were given about not being tense is sound.
The way in which it was given may be patronizing, but the advice is sound.
Uke should give attacks which are fast, strong, but also not-tense. If the attack goes through, the nage should be bonked on the head because of the inertia and sincerity of intent, but not enough to be injured.
True "martial" attacks are not tense, but they are centered. Thats what gives them speed and power.
I notice that I get the "battlefield" comments when I am clashing with other people's power. When I am not in the present, when my technique is not suited for the NOW, but instead I am trying to force the same exact movement that I did yesterday.
That is not Aikido, and such "Aikido" has no chance of working outside of the dojo.