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Old 08-14-2014, 02:30 PM   #1
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 809
Two Hundred and Forty-six

I begin in natural stance, arms extended in front of me, palms up. My elbows are slightly bent. I keep weight underside so that I feel as though my heavy arms are dragging my shoulders and upper torso downward.

I have my partner place her hands under my elbows so that each elbow rests in one of her palms. My partner should feel as though she is holding my arms up. Since I no longer have to hold my own arms up my whole upper body should relax to the point where if she removes her hands my arms will fall to my sides. Once we have achieved this position I can be checked for maintenance of weight underside by having my partner drop her hands at a moment of her choosing. My arms should drop to my sides without my having to consciously relax in order for them to fall.

Once we have established that I can maintain weight underside my partner will attempt to lift my arms by pushing up on my elbows. If I tense up by locking my shoulders as she applies force my body will be tipped back on my heels and I will lose my balance. If I attempt to counter her upward push with a downward push using muscle, she can suddenly remove her hands, at which point I will have nothing to push against. This will result in me pitching forward by an amount proportional to the amount of force I am exerting; again causing me to lose my balance. Neither outcome is satisfactory for the purpose of this exercise.

The outcome I am looking for is for my partner to feel a repulsive force the moment she begins to lift. The force she feels should increase as she increases the force of her lifting. What it feels like to me is that at no point in my body does the force of her lifting come to rest. In effect, I don't provide her with a place to apply her power. I think of myself as an amplifying conduit for her force that completes a circuit whereby she receives a greater amount of force than what she gives.

The ability is built up through continued practice handling gradually increasing force loads. As I grow stronger, I can reduce the angle formed by my lower and upper arms until eventually I am able to keep my arms extended straight out in front of me. While practicing, I am continually paying attention to what is going on inside of me, finding what works and what doesn't, keeping and discarding. And by "paying attention to what is going on inside of me", I don't mean "thinking about what is going on inside of me". Paying attention to what is going on inside of me entails becoming accustomed to how I feel and observing, without judgement, how I feel affects the interaction I am having with my partner. The process enables me to keep refining my mind/body state so that over time I become more centered, more stable, more relaxed and stronger.

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