Here's the Aiki game called BRING THE BEER OR DIE:
Three sensei (the Masters) sit comfortably on a couch. One ikkyu (the
Guardian) sits in seiza in front of the couch, few feet away, with a
shinai in his hands. All the kids are sitting in seiza on the other
side of the Guardian.
When one of the Masters claps once, all the kids should run to the
dojo fridge and bring a beer. When a Master claps twice, all the kids
should run to the fridge and bring a *good* beer. When a Master claps
three times, the kids should bring foreign beer.
As they approach the couch, with beers in their hands, the Guardian
swings the shinai, trying to whack them on the heads as they pass
by. She can only move on her knees, while the kids can run around her.
So the challenge for the Guardian is to smack as many of them little
rats as she can. The challenge for the kids is to be able to recognize
a good beer from a bad one, from a foreign one early in life, to obey
their elders, to bring beer quickly and efficiently and to be able not
to drop or spill any of the beer regardless of circumstances.
It's an excellent exercise of Ki, awaraness, centerdness and
extension. The challenge for the Masters, of course, is to be able to
drink all the beer brought to them. (To do otherwise would not be
The parents, of course, provide the beer needed for the exercise.
The beer metaphor, BTW, is very powerful one since almost all can
relate to it. Por ejemplo, when we do Saito-style practice, it is very
important to get a really STRONG grip. Many can't do that. They just
give you that whimpy, softy, sleazy grip. But when Sensei tells them
"Imagine that you're squeezing a can of beer in your hand and
someone's trying to take it away from you", you would not believe what
a powerful grip this results in! Similarly, when we do kokyu-dosa and
someone can't bring his arms up (because her partner might not
cooperate) the Sensei might say "Imagine that you're holding a can of
beer in both hands and you're trying to take a sip, while your momma
holds your hands, preventing you from doing so. Can you take a sip?!"
and that boy swings arms and all up and throws uke ten feet away!
Also, when someone does tenchi-nage and there's not enough extension
in the heaven-hand, Sensei might say "Imagine that you have your beer
on the very top shelf, behind uke, but there's no ladder. Now, reach
for that beer!" and the extension resulting is truly wonderful.
Y'all ought to try it sometimes.
-= Ivan =-
Inner bliss through harder contact