Thursday, April 1, 2010

Training with Hakim Sensei

Our 4th class following the seminar ended just now. It wasn't the typical class we've been doing so far. Today we went back to basic kihon and Goshin. No more recharging ki. Today was more physical then usual.

While there is nothing wrong with that statement, any student of Hakim sensei should be wary of absolutes. It is true we did basic kihon and application techniques. But to say that we have abandoned ki, kokyu and aiki would be false. Application of kihon waza or application techniques can be done with good technical skills and strength or speed, but that doesn't exclude use of ki and aiki principles.

It is our duty to practice with ki and aiki principles the best we can, even though the nature or form of the classes changes. Nor should we only practice this way when we are with Hakim sensei's class or his students. We should be using this all the time and at anytime.

Sometimes it pains me to see uke attack nage with the prescribed method without sensing openings in nage first. They just walk in with their shomen or tsuki whilst nage does their waza. A good uke, waits for an opening. Or finds it and then attacks. We don't fight in the sense that we feint attacks or do rapid attacks unless called for. We give one honest attack that is meant to connect if nage fumbles. But we don't fake an attack. If nage has no opening, uke shouldn't attack anyway. Another thing.... doing aiki, nage actually allows uke to feel as if they have the ability to attack. In essence, nage shows an opening and leads uke to it. Uke tries to take advantage of this and falls into a trap. All this of course through feeling and extending of ki.

I won't go and explain what we've done in each of the classes. But there has been a gradual progression I feel. Sensei does not repeat waza in each of his class. Its almost as if he has the entire schedule planned out, which I really doubt. The basic premise remains. We lead and we feel. We accept and we do not fight.

As for me, taking prodigious amounts of ukemi from sensei has instigated a form of awareness in me. It is with sensei that I'm most comfortable with taking a fighting attitude. With another sensei, they will mistake it for resistance. With sensei Hakim, that is how it should be. Uke attacks sincerely and sincerely avoids making mistakes that leads to his demise. This is a common problem with Aikido uke's. Ever so willing to offer their necks for iriminage, kaitenage and whatever else the enterprising nage has in their head at that time. Do they not fear death?

I have once given a semblance of active resistance as an uke to a different sensei. It was apparent to me, the other students thought I was fighting him and trying to make a fool out of him. On one side I felt ashamed, and yet on another I felt sorry for the students who thought I did that out of spite. Sensei's nowdays have gone too far inculcating the spirit of cooperation between ukes and nages in the guise of 'harmony'.

I besiege you fellow aikidokas. Do your art justice and attack with sincerity. However be a good uke, attack as you can safely defend yourself from. Over extending an attack is giving charity to nage. We attack so that we can attack again.

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