Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Is this post leading anywhere?!"

Some philosophize that martial art training is supposed to chip away at the junk surrounding our core selves, or remodeling us into someone who is "better". The mental training aspect of aikido has been attributed to emphasize relaxation of mind and body even under stressful situations, as i understand it to better handle being attacked but to also make daily life simpler and more enjoyable .

Ueshiba is quoted as saying that one "must be willing to receive 99% of an opponent's attack and stare death in the face". Staring death in the face is one thing, all bravery and calmness focused on one extreme idea, but i think it's a lot harder for those ideas to challenge the everyday things we face. Everyone can tell a story about how something has made them lose their cool, it's just human nature. Sooner or later something will come along that will bother the hell out of even the most stoic person.

I am by no means one of those stoic people. Insecurity is one of the things that reoccurs in my mind as i train. I am my own worst critic and i often berate myself over a misplaced step, a technique done wrong or "poorly", or as in the case of seeing video with me in it: the way i look while moving around and especially falling. There are several things i could list off as to why i beat myself up but the fact remains that it's really not a good thing to do whether necessary or not. As i sit around and sorta meditate on aikido i often try to tackle what i can do to improve my ability. Practice and patience seem to be the top two keys and not necessarily in that order. Something that has seemed to be more important lately is how i perceive myself in aikido, what am i bringing with me into the dojo and what am i trying to sorta leave behind me on the way out. More important than both of those is what i'm carrying around day to day?

Something i think helps, and i think a lot of people have trouble with this, is what kind of goal you've place in front of yourself. Is it realistic? Are you expecting it to occur much faster than it should? Are you trying to be good for your level or someone else's? There's nothing wrong with wanting to improve, but sometimes things just "are as they are". Looking at where i am in relation to others that i see as better could make anyone in the same shoes feel discouraged. I have to remind myself that sure, someone else at my rank may be way ahead of the curve but what's important is am i refining "me"? "Am i moving from my center instead of trying to reach out to something that will throw me off balance," so to speak.

Just some thoughts. Next lesson, practicing what i preach. Haha

Anyone have any thoughts?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

"With the blast shield down, i can't see a thing..."

I was able to make it to class yesterday...and as usual, it was great. The walking kata tegatana still has some bumps and kinks i need to work out (as many reps as i do i would thing i'd have the thing perfect).
Pat threw in some blind ninja training into hanasu and we repped through it with our eyes closed. I liked the way it worked out. Later on in class we went through the two versions of kotegaeshi and koteheneri (tenkai) and added some blackout to those too at one point. I like the way it feels to give uke total control of the attack and move around that (lol, that's the whole point isn't it?). I wish i could develop that level of relaxed sensitivity while my eyes are open. Im going to have to talk gary into doing some of these before he leaves so i can get some extra practice.
We did some "aiki brush off" drills. I still had some highs and lows with these.. either they felt like they worked or they felt way to forced. They seemed like a finesse element i don't have the ability to make work all the time, like the bumps and the ends of certain otoshi or garuma movements.