I haven't written for quite a long time and its not because of the lack of ideas. Rather it has been a very busy month for me and also its been a time for much contemplation.
Sensei is here now for a 3 week visit. What would be a normally intense period of training now is not only proving to be especially intense, but also in many ways critical. The sense that Sensei is imparting as much as he can in this short time with us is distressing and foreboding.
Such is life as we walk the corridor of time, it passes by us with nary a thought or pause. We either keep pace or we get left behind. There is no time to seek perfection by repetition. We have to seek perfection in what we do but we must not lose sight of our ultimate goal or destination. Nor should we glorify or get caught up with what we have gained so far. Surely you have marvelled at one time your ability to do something now has improved in leaps and bounds. Typically you will work that to perfection or have it as your signature move. This is such an example of being caught up with the little gifts life have thrown at you in your path to wisdom. Get caught up with it and you'll end up lost.
Usually I would narrate the things we have been learning day by day. For the benefit of the students here so that they can rerun it in their minds and for those who weren't able to attend for one reason or another. But much of what we have been doing here is really nothing new to what Sensei has always taught before. The methodology has changed and we are taking sabaki practice more seriously now, to augment our hara training with the physical reinforcement of sabaki. But essentially, this training and the techniques that follows are all dress up for the principles that forms the core of our curriculum.
So we have touched upon seika tanden, chushin and hara. Then sabaki with hara. Then awase with the sabaki. Good practice so far has been limited to kihon, kihon nagare and a little bit of nagare.
Sabaki has been fixed at Kamae for beginners, half kamae for 5th to 3rd kyu and hanmi for advance.
For hara training we have touched upon hara projection which is a prelude to ateru. I'm thinking funakogi undo with floating hands and hara movement + intention/atemi.
For nagare we have been looking at issen no mai. To create the moment and tsuki.
For hanmi position, for shomenuchi ikkyo we have emphasised sabaki, te awase and the ura part of the te awase exercise before using hara again to cut into ikkyo. For ura ikkyo, to use issen no mai, but with an elbow irimi and projecting a cut through but using the other hand to awase as we turn.
In iriminage we use the latter movement but this time instead of taking the shoulder we take the neck and we let him through. The 2nd iriminage we combine issen no mai, ashi sabaki, te no awase...
This has been tough. A lot of things to follow to use and to focus on, yet doing any of those while training is limiting in itself. Yet what are we to do for those who have as yet to learn how to move naturally.
Nevertheless I'm enjoying this training, revisiting the basics and the fundamentals of Aikido and learning that it is very very hard and yet so simple.