Aikido training in Japan

Lesson 8: Triad of Gaijin’s Aikido Approach

Tonight I have realized that I have three important concepts that I have been pondering lately that are now greatly contributing to growth in aikido.

1.) Just go to training! Consistent practice is most important. If you go half the time thinking its OK because you train REALLY hard the few times you go, then you’re missing the infinite potential that lies in what happens subconsciously when you are practicing regularly. If your practice consistently goes in waves, where for one week a month you just fall out of training, then you’re missing the benefits of self-discipline that aikido can give its students. Go to training consistently, and do your best to relax and have fun. Since I’ve been doing this, I get into the rythm of practice a lot faster, even if I’m not so enthusiastic at the outset.

2.) One movement. I’ve finally gotten used to flowing through the technique even if I don’t have every little detail down. I’ve found techniques just magically falling into place a little bit when I try to do a technique through constant motion. It’s taken a long time to realize how much aikido depends upon the constant flow of the uke. Once you stop, the opponent loses his momentum, which is your power, and you give him a chance to initiate his own attack. Just keep moving. I found that towards the end of training sensei has built up the techniques to fairly advanced ones that are a brain scramble for most white belts, but lately I’ve been able to catch on to them much quicker because I try to flow through them instead of focusing on each individual movement to perfection. Flow through and it can become magic.

3.) Pay as close attention to ukemi as possible. When you’re being thrown, be present for every movement. When the best black belts are being thrown, look at them instead of the uke, and they will show you the greatest gems. You’re not only just missing half the time of your practice if you’re not paying attention to uke, you’re missing a lot more, because as your uke skills go up, so do your tori. I’m not sure it’s necessarily true the other way around.

I’m actually feeling the benefit of these three principles, and that makes me a less frustrated aikidoka.

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