Perfection and Mistakes
I recently sat down with an old guitar playing friend and we discussed a seminar we took years ago. The teacher, a Jazz great, offered his oppinion about how we learn and I realized that I had forgotten where I had originally heard this advice.
I'd like to share it here and suggest its application to Aikido training.
He said - "Never practice your mistakes." "When you train, only practice what you do perfectly, too many people try to hammer their way through a piece of music just to get to the end.
He went on, "While learning, slow down and play at a speed that allows you to play perfectly. Once you have mastered this speed, go only as fast as you can without mistakes."
There was a great deal more but the important thing is that we have a chance to train in Aikido in this very method by stopping what we are doing when we get out of center or simply lost. It will require an understanding Uke, but try stopping or going slower untill you actually master the technique and control of Uke's center. By repetition, we reinforce those nueral pathways that allow us to respond instantly when necessary - if we constantly reinforce shoddy technique or poor centering we respond the same way. Poor and shoddy.
This requires time and patience - so many people just want to throw someone down, damn it, or to fly. And some will find this too much like Tai Chi in moving slowly. I suggest that you try it. By being honest and really stopping when you feel yourself lose the technique or uke's center, you will be more aware of limitations and less bound by ego. And you won't practice your mistakes.