Aikdio Is No Imposition

Unexpectedly I was able to make tonight's class and after many weeks gone it was great to be back especially since Sidney was teaching tonight.

It was one of those classes where you think you're getting something special. Not some clever technique but Sensei kept driving at the core or what Aikido is. We worked on basic things. Things you thought you knew, but you realize what you thought you knew wasn't knowledge after all. You demonstrated Shomenuchi Ikkyo on your first test (5th Kyu) but now it is as if you had never heard of it before.


At the end of class he said there had been complaints that the youngsters in the class were not treated gingerly enough. From there he tried to explain that Aikido was not Nage imposing the technique on Uke but rather just as a technique was not IMPOSED on an uke because nage wanted to “do” the technique it is the same with the nage/uke relationship. We are called to be aware of uke's ability and act accordingly (be gentle or forcefull in the application of the technique), and he reminded us Aikido was Harmony and it also meant harmony with ukes of many levels.

He repeated we don't impose a technique and that in training the point it to learn a technique and how it applies to uke so be aware of what you are doing and why and nage and uke both must strive to perform their part as best as each one can.

He then went on to explain that in the moment of an actual attack by a some villain if you learned the technique in the variations of class you survival impulse would take over and you would apply the move with no restraint.

He then started a story even though he saw class was late, but as he said “But, this is important”

(I paraphrase)

Once there was a martial arts master who wanted to fight somebody who would not hold back because for him it was truly life or death. So he found a prisoner who was condemned to die and talked the local magistrate into letting him fight the man and if the man could kill the master the prisoner would be free. It would be a true fight to the death.

The fight started and for a time the prisoner was so motivated that he pulled out every trick he knew and the master had to struggle. But finally the master killed the prisoner and went to his (the master's ) teacher. He described how surprised he was at how hard it was to the beat the man who didn't have great martial arts training.

The master's master simply said

“And think how difficult it would have been if he knew your techniques!!”

So again the point was...learn these techniques, know why, how and when to use them. And by working with ukes of all levels if you can appreciate how to use them accordingly...when the time comes it is the marriage of technique and survival that will win the day. But if you insist on imposing your technique on weaker ukes you don't actually learn as much.

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