Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Principles of effective practice in Aikido

As researched and collected by Asi Shnabel:

  1. Our back should always be straight, light and flexible, never bent!
  2. Awareness should be put on firming the legs in the ground and utilizing hips & knees.
  3. Arms always project forward, never stretched backwards, pulled nor flexed (“ORENAITE”).
  4. Always be aware of the “Sword-arms” (“TE-KATANA”)!
  5. Expand your body’s aura, project forward (“KI-BARI”).
  6. Practice should be always relaxed and with a peaceful spirit.
  7. Proper use of breath-power (“KOKYU”).
  8. Work always originates in the center/hips (“HARA”).
  9. Performance should be sharp as a sword, quick as thunder, and economical.
  10. Movement should be fluent and free, never tight or manipulated (“NAGARE”).
  11. Always keep a proper effective distance from one’s partner (“MA-AI”)
  12. Always link one’s body towards the partner’s (“MUSUBI”) for best communication.
  13. Always be fully aware of the environment and all partners. Never lock one’s focus on any object alone.
  14.  Perform all techniques with a true intention, focus and spirit, both as UKE and as NAGE (“MAKOTO”).This is of utmost importance since it stresses that the pure devotion & intention dictates the quality of our performance. Never trust the techniques to win for us but constantly polish ourselves and our spirit through practicing them.

Monday, January 30, 2017

About Learning and Sensing

In the western world we give the ultimate power of judgment to our intellect. Our brain works hard from the age of zero to figure out everything and dictate skills to the body based on understanding and figuring reality. As a result, our ability to pay attention to our surroundings using our senses is much decreased, leading to many problems in communication, learning, judgment and even coordination (communication with our own body).

Probably one of the fundamental differences between Asian education and Western one is that Westerners are basing their development on “proper”/objective understanding/analysis of any situation/matter. In the Far east education was transferred through the human senses: looking, smelling ,tasting, hearing (listening), touching and feeling (6 sense).

The traditional Asian teacher was not an instructor, but a demonstrator, while the students sincerely used to copy his/her skills through paying attention with all their senses. Verbal instruction during a lesson was extremely minimal to none. The students are encouraged to sense the movement/technique sincerely. As they train this sensing ability further develops and sharpens, and so is the communication and coordination with the body.

Since in battle our senses should be as sharp as a fine sword and our mind clear (“MUSHIN”: no mind), than it is believed that this form of education also train the senses and clears the mind.
I believe that our modern culture could truly benefit from that form of education since our minds are constantly overwhelmed by daily stimulations and are unaware of our body’s needs and whereabouts.

Of course, over indulgment in imitative learning may decrease the level of individual expression and lead to many “Robotic” mistakes in performance. So a fine balance between the two methods of education is always a challenge to a true teacher. Both intellectual and sensitive mind are complementary portions of our brain capacity and should be fully developed through constant training. We should not neglect neither one of them. However, been subject to a reality that favours one aspect on the other we often struggle in class to complete the losses and thus experiencing frustration, until things become more familiar. It is guaranteed that allowing our mind to rest and opening our senses to absorb information is a highly satisfying experience!