I think we had an exceptionally insightful class tonight. We started off with a short breakfall practice on some soft gymnastic mats but that was just a warm up. However it was an indication of the class to come in that we didn't really work on techniques.
At least half of the class we worked on “feeling” what was an Aikido response would be to pressure from two arms raised with the wrists touching in a crossed fashion. I acknowledged the pressure from nage and stepped off the line of attack, but then I would freeze before I could decide what to do, allowing uke to regain their balance.
BUT, once or twice I actually relaxed enough to to follow up with an actual Aikido technique, thanks to Brian working with me a bit. Even if the whole thing is a little contrived it felt great. It is contrived because Uke and Nage work together, but of course, in a sense any “practice” by it's very nature is contrived, almost by definition.
If I was going to argue what was “real” I think a strong argument could be that this “practice” is possibly more real than than a more complicated and exotic arrangement of flashy techniques. We were trying to sense the motion and respond accordingly which I think is the whole point of Aikido.
Plus for some reason I love it when Sidney talks about how we look for information from the pressure of a wrist. The idea of gathering info from the way a person grabs you is really a pretty cool way to think of an attack. Basically not as an attack but a connection with consequences.