Horii sensei, taught me something very important during a lesson he gave in the recent Hong Kong Aikido Association’s 40th Anniversary.
He is a stern stocky fella, with a built of a tank. His hands, is, well not easy to grasp, and his uke slipped a couple of times trying to hold his hands. Well, the virtue of holding your nage’s hands tight is to prevent him from throwing a slap to your face.
Which he gave his uke a couple of times and he screamed ‘Musubi! Connection!!’
More importantly, it is the connection between the uke and nage that makes things happen. we cannot train if our uke does not hold us down, does not resist us, by gripping our hand in a death grip.
By doing so, our uke opens their centre to us, so that we can train. We can learn, how to best apply the technique so that we all can learn safely and peacefully.
I’ve learned that the magic in the gripping is not about the grip, rather it is about how relaxed we are, the entire body, our spine. Many a times we lose that grip was when our body is not pliable, we cannot bend and flex ourselves to follow our nage, hence the hold was broken, and connection, lost.
Is our nage making it difficult for us to follow? Not always so. Our nage is human just like us, and just like us, there is a limit to a range of travel, say the elbow can go. We simply cannot follow, because our brains refuse to let go.
The irony is that we have to let go, so that we can hold on.
So being an uke. we really have to go forth with confidence and an open mind. If we held onto the role of an attacker, we will keep looking for opportunities to attack, and miss out the bigger picture of harmony. If we approach our nage with curiosity, then we might miss out giving our nage the answer that they are looking for. It really is that simple, all you need to do is to hold on, period. no pretense, no worries, no nothing, cos anything more than that, you will lose the grip and expect a slap.