12/23/09 w [1s, 14v] A 8 guys were chair warriors today. Joint problems seem to be the main issue. I don’t know if this happens very often but I noticed it once or twice before. I think I will do chair Aikido for a bit every Friday.
In line with my discussions with staff and vets last week, and your comments, I am trying to place more emphasis on vulnerability, and how it is an important factor in initiating good Aikido technique. I explained that for a technique to even be initiated, Uke [teacher] had to attack. This meant that Nage had to at least appear vulnerable enough so Uke would attack, but, this meant that they were in control of their vulnerability and therefore in control of a situation where they were “under attack”. To physically practice this, I had them do enter-and-turn [irimi nage] a little differently. When Uke grasped Nage’s wrist I had Uke push, and I had Nage push back for just a second before breathing-to-center, then entering off line, and pivoting, using their hips rather than their shoulders and upper body. When they did this, they were able to observe and feel the shift in control from Uke to Nage. One vet described it as a “power break”, another agreed and called it a “shift in who was in control” . I had them maintain this resist and power shift through a succession of gyaku homni moves. In every technique, they were able to feel the exact point when the “power shift” happened. But, it only happened when they offered vulnerability and then did the technique properly. It can be an excellent way to self-evaluate whether or not the technique is being done right.