"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."
I bring this up because Pat's class is a constant reminder of this quote to me.
Instead of having class tuesday i tried to lure my students to McComb for Pat's class, but it was to no avail. I'm still hoping to get them out there at some point in the next two weeks. Anyway, as class began and we went through tegatana I was embarrassed to learn that I have completely forgotten an entire series of moves in tegatana : the rising up/arm above the head then move forward and the arm comes around and back up segment (or soto mawashi since i cheated and looked on the Internet). I was pretty stunned that it had completely left my memory and to make matters worse I've been teaching tegatana without it. D'oh!
Hanasu came up next and i uked ok enough but my turn as tori met more resistance with my fumble brain and I stalled on 5-8. Now i've done this kata about fifty thousand times by now and I've been showing people how to do almost 2/3rds of it for a month. I felt practically dumb at this point as i had flubbed two rather simple things in front of Pat.
We continued to work on hanasu with an emphasis on the idea of stepping onto a tightrope with the first step. At first i was fairly anti-absorbent to the idea and tangled up with putting too much strength into my arms or simply being stuck with the kata way i've gotten used to doing.
Being confronted with a more refined way to do something that I've been doing and teaching to others had me feeling more than a little worried. Had i been showing people new to aikido the wrong thing? And worse, had i simply been doing this wrong the entire time blindly ignorant?
"Verily, Nay." Said Pat. He went on to explain in more modern english that everything i had been doing is fine, this was just a more randori/real life way of doing the same old thing. The more we practiced the more comfortable with the practice i became. We moved through some different randori practices, with hands and with a stick about 18 inches long, using more flowing movement and better positioning. Relaxed and attentive to uke's force was the way to go. I eventually felt better as practice continued.
After class finished and Kel left Pat and I continued working on hanasu and some of junana since i had didn't have to leave anytime soon. There was some jo work in there as well. Overall it was a great practice and I'm glad i came to McComb (as i always am). I just have to become more relaxed with my aikido and with my thinking. There's always more to learn....some routes are all about the journey, not the destination.