The first 9 sessions of the 2008 ABG are going to be with our ikkyu and shodan candidates - Patrick M., John, and Andy. This weekend, several more black belts will be joining us for sessions 10-13.
In this first session we worked on releasing into synchronization and extending that synchronization for several steps. We talk a lot about what it is we are actually releasing in the wrist releases (hint - we're not necessarily making the guy release our wrist). We often say we are releasing some mechanical bind, or mobility limitation. But you can also think about it as releasing a discontinuity so as to get back to a state of flow. Why is this important?
Much of aikido is a pattern recognition problem. We are trying to recognize the relationship that we find ourselves in, so that we know what we are able to do, or what is likely to happen next. That is, we are trying to get some signals from uke about how this fight is working. Whenever you have a signal reception problem it is important to make the baseline as clean and quiet as possible so that the signal stands out. If your motion and uke's is so noisy, so discontinuous, that you can't pick up the signals, then you are handicapped. Synchronization and flow reduces the baseline noise.
We worked extensively on evading, synching, and flowing in the two motion templates (omote & ura) that make up all of nijusan. By working on these two motions that make up all of the kata, we get better at all the kata, as opposed to beating 1-2 techniques to death and only being better at those two. I saw some good flow this morning.