Thread: Hand Work
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Old 03-29-2005, 02:34 PM   #22
Brion Toss
Dojo: Aikido Port Townsend
Location: Port Townsend, Wa.
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 104
Re: Hand Work

The first thing that comes to mind for me is a breaking wave; everyone notices the curl and collapse, the foam, the roar, but of course the wave is just the inevitable consequence of a series of profound, essentially invisible factors (fetch, wind velocity, bottom depth and topography, etc.). When those factors are in alignment, the wave must happen. In the same way, those times when a technique has "just happened", it was likely because everything leading up to it was in alignment. In fact one can surprise oneself, not only at the specific technique that happened, but that a technique happened at all. The hands, in particular, can seem to be acting independently of any intent on one's part, even while performing fairly intricate manipulations. Part of this is no doubt due to hard-wired motions from sufficient practice, but in practice, those same techniques are something you "do"; they don't just happen.
In the context of hand movements, then, I believe that the ones we are taught are, or should be, what someone observed in the course of a perfect throw. The movements did not assure the perfection; they were the result of it. So if you are learning hand movements, perhaps they are a place to work backwards from, i.e., how do I comport myself to end up with my hands natrurally moving in this way?
This would, if anything, justify at least some degree of the "put your left foot here and raise your right hand to chest level" style of teaching, as learning the steps will give you a greater context to approach the fundamentals.
Brion Toss
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