About The Following Blog

The following blog has been written purely for those wanting a first hand knowledge of what it is like to step into the dojo for the first time as a complete beginner as a Martial Artist. Through practising a Martial Art, you will gain many things such as self-confidence, self-respect and life-long and good friends. I hope this helps you to see into an amazing world of which you have never seen before and that I have had the privilege of belonging to and knowing.
Although I have not put my name or any name to this blog, it does deserve a dedication- a dedication to those who help people to train, who teach, reassure and most important of all- those who never give up, no matter how many times they hit the ground or a mental brick wall, with themselves or others. But above all- those who are ready to begin their own journey, it begins with one step….

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Chapter 35: Oh dear....It would seem I've acquired some S and M characteristics from Aikido....Or is it a form of 'self-discipline'?

A strange title to a blog post, wouldn't you agree? Again, we had another session from the same coach that has sparked a serious train of thought about my own perceptions about what Aikido actually is and what it involves. I also feel that my entire way of thinking about the principles of Aikido has been turned on its head.
We started off where we finished last week...concentrating on maintaining eye contact throughout training with Uke or Tori, keeping posture, and returning after doing a technique to posture. This time, we also has to work on commitment and purpose in our techniques, as well as the Ukemi from each technique. A lot to think about before you've even bowed to your partner!
We ended up (being a small class that evening) working with each other at some point. My second partner (an orange belt) ended up sparking a train of discussion about the breakfall from number 17, her question-how do you know where to breakfall? Surely its not over your own arm? Er...yes, I reply, how else can you breakfall? Not like that! she replies. So, to try and help her I call over an instructor and we get talking. I realise that since having achieved my green belt, my attitude to training has changed. I noticed this when the instructor was trying to explain to her that the breakfall was indeed over her arm and I saw what he was trying to explain, there are some techniques that you will not have a 'nice' breakfall from ('nice' meaning both your hands free). However, my partner begins to panic at this and points out although she can do a Kota breakfall supported she can't do this one. I and the instructor try to explain that its very similar, but she doesn't agree-she's afraid of falling badly and injuring herself-a very valid fear. I assure her if she wants to try I will NOT let go, controlling the landing so she won't get injured. At this point, the instructor chuckles to himself and points out the responsibility lays mainly with Uke to prevent injury and NOT Tori. But I pointed out the whole idea of Aikido is that you do the technique and Uke should be able to get up and walk away uninjured. He replies 'Bless you- you're living in a dream world, you have a little shrine dedicated to the prinicples of Aikido'. Huh-maybe I do, but I think I'm right. If I did not help her by controlling her landing to a certain point whilst she is learning the breakfall-she will hurt herself and I will feel really guilty about it. So dream-shrine or not, thats the way I see The Tori-Uke relationship, but maybe I'm wrong. But I kinda forgive him when he added that even with Tori looking after you, accidents still happened.
My last partner for the evening is a yellow belt. At this point the coach wants us to start demonstrating as Uke and Tori that we both have purpose in our techniques. Okey-dokey, lets have a go, I think. But my partner is not maintaining eye contact, so its hard to do the technique properly. So I'm afraid I pulled rank a little, and said I would not breakfall unless he keeps eye contact and puts me down. He agrees that may help. Halfway through he tells me he can't do this, he doesn't have the discipline. So, I ask him, 'You're doing A-Levels-right? Well, it took self-discipline to get yourself there, so you DO have self-discipline'. 'Oh yeah, I guess I do' he says, and from then on his technique improves.
Another aspect of the evening showed how much my attitude to pain in training had changed when the instructor was demonstrating to my yellow belt partner how the wrist lock in technique 13 worked and pointed out that he shouldn't be afraid to apply the locks as even the early techniques in Kata generally cause some discomfort to Uke. He then added after a while, you seem to enjoy the pain-and I realise that I too am beginning to enjoy pushing myself through the pain a little more each time. Oh dear, it would seem I've become a little S and M like.
The point I guess I trying to make is that after you've been training a while-you seem to change. Your body changes...muscle becomes toned and fitness levels increase. Your mind also begin to be able to focus more clearly and get to know yourself- your limitations and inner demons. And to keep all this up, you need to go regularly and train hard- a form of self-discipline imposed by the conditioning of training perhaps?


uchi deshi said...

I thought S&M was necessary for the practice of Aikido. Maybe I've been doing it wrong!

steki47 said...

I prefer to think of this training as self-discipline, pushing yourself. My girlfriend likes to show off her bruises, so some masochism may be present. Nice post, by the way!