I realised this a couple of lessons back, with Harry sensei. During one of the Thursday class, he made us attack without restrain. His words are always ‘Don’t hold back!’
It’s about abandonment. Before realising this word, I realised that I’m already practicing abandonment, every time I trained or be Harry sensei’s uke. I know for a fact is at his chronological advanced age, there is really not a lot of candle left from him to burn. What I am learning from him, I better learn it quickly and as intensely as possible. It very precious training time, because I have a family and can only have the luxury to train twice a week, which is paltry investment.
Precious is how I consider myself when I’m Harry sensei’s uke. How often do you get to partner a 6th dan Aikido master with 40 years of training? So whenever he called me to be his uke. I go at it as if it’s the last thing I’ll ever do alive, and never ever take him for granted. I dive deep and as intensely as I can. When I rejoined him back about 3 years back, I wasn’t his usual uke, because I am a little shorter than him and there’s no visual impact of a smaller person overcoming a larger person. And when I am his uke I held him strong, but stiffly. My only credit was probably my ability to take ukemi well that continued to encourage him to use me as uke. Usually I’m quite agile and has learned to fall well and safe enough. Over the years, I am hearing less of him attributing I have ‘strong’ grip’, but using me as his uke more often.