Who says Aikido looks so easy? And effortless?
I partnered Han Tiong last Tuesday and we were going through Yokomen Uchi-Shihonage. I think I can consider the both of us ‘senior’ practitioners, him being a 4th Dan and me, 2nd. We know the technique, for sure!
Anyway, so we partnered each other for the waza, and there was little spoken, we took turns being uke and nage, and swop every 4 times, of left-right, and left-right. Then we went on and on, wordlessly.
There was no struggle, no need whatsoever for us to ‘try’ each other out. There are no attempts to employ counter techniques. We did it in a smooth, seamless, motion. It was like a Yokomen-Uchi Shihonage marathon.
It was tiring! We may have a stoic look on our face, but we are humans, we do tire. But we didn’t want to let each other down, because if one gave up, the other will lose a training partner, so we wordlessly egg each other on, quietly practice our technique did our ukemi, get up, and go again.
And on the face of it, it may seem like we are going through the motion of things. But unless you are either me or Han Tiong, you will not understand the unspoken acceptance, and connection between us, drawn by the technique, drawn by the motion. Yes, we are going through the motion, but we are alive and living through the motion. We lose our ego and pride through the motion, we lose our imperfections and imperfectness through the motion. No our techniques are not perfect, but we didn’t think about it, we perfect it through motion, and not just talking about it. time on the Dojo is for practice not preach. We practiced, plain and simple, attack, fall down, get up, attack, fall down, get up.
There is a physical effort in it, and we constantly grind ourselves, using each other as the sharpening stone to perfect ourselves. and no there is no need to hold a conversation with a sharpening stone, just appreciate the sharpening stone, by using it the best you could.