Thread: Relaxing
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:25 PM   #26
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Relaxing

Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
Hi George,

I currently believe that connecting this way (joining our structures into one so that my partner's balance is affected by me relaxing my knee, for example, rather than by my arm pushing on them) is 'atemi' rather than what most people seem to feel constitutes ukemi. For me, 'conditioning' has been less about building strength in different areas and more about learning how to change my intent to accomplish things with more whole body movements and less (to no) usage of local musculature that we frequently unconsciously employ simply to pick up a pen or even to move my mouse while editing this document.

Ironically, right now I'm struggling with introducing the same kind of relaxation I am working on using in my atemi into my ukemi. My ukemi is altogether too tense, partly from fear, and partly from being used to deciding (most of the time) when I am going to fall rather than having the decision made for me by my partner.

I have been learning how to train slowly for years (exclusively for about two years) and I'm still having a tough time with it, but it's starting to pay off. Ironically, someone I've been training with recently told me that in his attempts to share his training with fellow students in his home dojo, he was told that they find this approach to training "boring". <shrug>

One thing that has paid off for me is that dealing with tense attackers has become "boring" to me. It's too easy. But learning to do and deal with something much more relaxed is a real challenge.
I would highly recommend doing some Systema. Kaizen Taki, the fellow who teaches the Systema classes held at my dojo is quite skilled and a fantastic teacher. He's got a seminar on "falling Off the mat" which I think would be of great help in making you more relaxed about your ukemi. I'll introduce you during the AikiWeb workshop if he shows up to watch. Anyway, the next one is in September.
Falling Off the Mat Seminar

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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