Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wanted: Perfect Aikidoka

I was at my Uncle's place today. They had a big do coming back from Mecca and it was in celebration of their 25 years of marriage. In his speech, he was already telling us to come for his Golden Anniversary (50 years). I've no real idea of what goes on in his marriage, but when I look at them, I can see that they're in a wonderful partnership.

I've also read in a book entitled 'Blink' that there is this doctor and his team who has developed a test to determine whether partners will stay together or divorce after a few years. So far his team has been very accurate if the test was concluded say after 2 hours. Accurate enough to get 95% correct prediction. The doctor however could get 85% accuracy within the first 5 minutes.

Anyway, that's just the anecdote. What we're looking for here today is that perfect partner. It could be a wife or a husband or a son or daughter, or it could be the perfect Aikido teacher or the perfect Aikido student. Looking for perfection in a partnership is like looking for gold at the end of a rainbow. In the end, a perfect partnership begins from both parties. Like my uncle who has every intention to make it to 50 years of happy marriage. He's not hoping to make it there, he wants it to happen. Because of that, it is likely that he'll work to get there and be rewarded faithfully. A partner feeling such an intention from the other side, would most likely reciprocate. Afterall, a good partnership is not easy to find. So its easier to work with something that's already doing well.

If we are worried that our techniques are not going down pat, or that uke is not falling the way he should or not attacking the way he should, don't be. Just give good intention and that's 50% of the partnership. Your partner might not be knowledgeable enough or coordinated enough to move like that 'perfect' uke everyone sees in Aikido videos, but sooner or later he'll catch up. In the meantime, its the sensei's job to ensure everyone in class understand his role.

Nage is the instigator for kihon practice most times. He stands in kamae, ready and centered. He extends an arm which will indicate what openings are there. Uke is ready to attack. Seeing nage extend his hand just so, indicates an Aihanmi grab instead of Gyakuhanmi. Uke grabs and is now ready to take nage's center. Uke is safe. Nage now connects with that energy and moves. Uke is thrown down. Uke backfalls and immediately tries to come up, but nage is poised and focused. Uke stops getting up and waits. Nage then kamae's into a natural stance. Uke comes up readily and maintains zanshin until nage offers an opening again.

This is what we practised today. The techniques were tenkan kokyu nage (forward), tenkan sayo nage, sumi otoshi (kihon), sumi otoshi (using drop front leg) and sumi otoshi (tenkan).

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