一， 我們可以質疑技法。特別在自由稽古中，覺得有空間必開，逃開， 阻擋時，我們可以這么做。但，要以玩耍的心態，不得比勝負。如此我們自然會避開死板的練習，將練習化而為活動的探索。
We had a teacher visit from Japan with two students, to teach an Aikido seminar. During the seminar, I was doing freestyle with the bigger one. I’m about 60kg, so he must have been about 90kg, a former sumo wrestler, I heard.
The teacher walked by when it was my turn to throw. “You’re being nice.” She observed. “You should throw harder.”
“Harder?” I asked. I did a series of three iriminage techniques on my partner, at growing intensity.
“Yes, that’s better.” said the teacher.
Turnabout is fair play, so when it was my partner’s turn to throw me, he threw hard, too. Aikido has ancient jujitsu roots, but the techniques have been de-lethalized just enough that they can be done at full speed for practice. For a few minutes, I felt myself acutely alive. When I was slammed into the ground, I rolled out of the fall to attack again. When he attacked, I broke his balance, led him along, then slammed him into the ground. Everything curiously in focus. I can play the experience back in slow motion.
Over a decade of training. Freestyle practice brought into focus by the intensity of training with an unpredictable and skilled attacker. Aikido is many things. It is aerobic exercise. It is postural improvement. It is a bone-strengthener. It is good for metabolism. It is a way to meet people. But it is also the joy of finding a compatible partner and slamming each other into the ground until you each are panting and sweaty, and bow to each other saying “thank you for this experience.”
I took a co-worker to Aikido practice a few weeks back. He was a complete beginner, but was an accomplished surfer. His body was flexible, and he moved a lot. When I trained with him, it was a good workout.
After practice, he made comparisons with surfing – about how he was reminded of learning to maintain one’s balance, about sensing the momentum of a wave, and moving with it.
He asked me – “Today, everyone was very polite and accommodating to each other. Is Aikido ever nasty?” I told him yes, it is a martial art, and I have been guilty of throwing people hard when they resisted. But at the same time, I expect to be thrown very hard when I resist, and it is very fulfilling.
“People do Aikido for different reasons. We can help each other to become stronger. It can be like a dance. But it is a martial art. Ultimately we are studying how to fight. What about surfing?” I asked.
Well, the thing with surfing is that only one person can ride the wave. Everyone is watching for where the wave will come, and it’s a fight to get to the spot where you can ride it. If you are strong enough and can read the waves well enough, you can be the first one to the spot. When I was learning to surf, we would travel places, and sometimes the local people wouldn’t let us surf. My instructor would get really mad, and sometimes there would be fistfights on shore. But, in the water, there’s little you can do.
I used to do that, too. I was good enough that I could ride the wave whenever I wanted. But now, I don’t think that that is such a fair thing to do.
@ Brian H: Yeah – the important thing is to approach with fresh eyes. The importance of questioning things is not to question them for questioning’s sake, but to try to figure things it for yourself. Like Richard Feynman would work on physics problems. He would try to work through a problem himself. If he go stuck, he would open the literature, peek a little ahead, then close the book and continue on his own. This meant he spent a lot of time recreating things that others had done, but allowed him to develop a keen intuition, and sometimes he would come up with a simpler or more intuitive solution.
He wasn’t really so iconoclastic as he was using existing solutions as reference. This is how we train martial arts – in the same way as how Nobel laureates understand their material.
The more we pay attention to norms and standards, the further we get from this sort of organic learning.
This sort of thing should be fun. Not a chore, but recreational.