Sunday, October 22, 2006

Might versus Right

I know what you're thinking..."why isn't it working??" It happens to all of us. It happens for a long time. It's frustrating as hell. That feeling when you apply a technique and uke just stands there with a blank, bored expression. NOTHING HAPPENS. We've all been there. So, what do you do??

For most of us, you gun it. You apply more strength to try and muscle the person into the technique, as if you would smack the round peg with a hammer to get it through the square hole. Hmmm...I admit it is very gratifying to see uke respond in the technique the way you think it should work. However, as Saori says "aikido is for everyone, but everyone is not for aikido". The truth is that application of a lot of muscle power is counter-intuitive to the proper application of aikido techniques. In aikido, uke is the one that should be doing the hard work. Shite should be relying on timing, position, movement, atemi, and the rotation of the hips as the primary means of getting uke off balance and keeping uke off balance until the dynamic result (projection or control) inevitably occurs. Of course, when done from a static position as kihon waza, it's really hard to get that all the time and get that response from every uke.

However, let's look at it from uke's point of view as well. As uke, should you just "go with it" so that you are faking a result? Yes...and no. Yes in that as uke you want to experience the projections and controls to understand them, and you want to give shite a chance to feel the dynamic feeling of applying them. At the same time, wrong is wrong, and it does not help shite to go with it if the basic principes (as I described above) are lacking. A fine line indeed.

Here's my advice.

1) focus on the basics - timing, position, movement, atemi, and the rotation of the hips

2) remember as uke that the dojo is a place of learning

Uke's primary goal in the dojo is giving. That means giving of time, energy, and body to help shite master the principles by applying technicques over and over. That's also why we bow to each other and why we change places frequently. We respect and appreciate uke's sacrifice, and we want to share all facets of the experience.

I think it is best not to worry so much about whether or not each kihon waza really "works". It is more important to try and remember the learning point of each technique and drill it with the intent of mastering the application of the key components of every techniquen namely, timing, position, movement, atemi, and the rotation of the hips. In time, all techniques are one, and they will all have the right result.

I know it is tough. Lest we forget, Patience is another element we must practice in the dojo.