w [1s, 13v] A
I think the changes in my intro and the focus I am placing on technique is helping. I am being more up-front about what I hope to give them in this class, i.e., tools to help in dealing with stress, aggression, vulnerability. I am trying to be clear on the fact that, although they may pick up a few effective moves, I can not hope to teach them Aikido in depth in six weeks, 12 classes. What I do hope they will gain is a way, relax, center and to tap their internal strength.
I once said that I don't study Aikido to learn technique, I study technique to learn Aikido. This is what I want to bring to these vets. They are beginning to see that if they breath/relax to center and move in a smooth, focused way, a technique will work. While I do have them do the movement of a technique properly, I need to stress that if they are not centered and relaxed, the "mechanics" of a technique are at best, awkward, and may not even be possible.
An effective, on-going evaluation of how I am succeeding is seeing how often people take that deep, relaxing breath and let the tension go out, and stay out of their shoulders, and whether or not they move smoothly as they do a technique. The fact that more people are working on this, and quickly recognize when they are "out of phase", is an indication that the shifts in how I am conducting the class is are becoming more effective, and the directions I want to work in.
(Original blog post may be found here