Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lazy is not the kind of slow that you want

I've seen an interesting flaw crop up in some aikidoka's practice.

We are forever preaching efficiency - we spend a lot of time and
effort on trying to get each motion just right, to clean up the
connection and coordination between our minds and bodies such that
when the mind tells the body, "step there," the body executes the most
efficient step and nothing else.

When you look at the highest-ranked practitioners - people who have
been striving at this for years, often their motion is so efficient
that it is deceptive. It almost looks lazy, or careless. This is not
the case.

But when we start preaching "move more efficient..." at
students, and they look at the masters who look like they are
lackadaisical in their movements, often the student begins to affect
that lackadaisical motion in an attempt to comply with the "slow but
efficient" instruction.

Slow by means of inefficiency or laziness is not the kind of slow that you want.

What you want is motion that is so efficient that it has nothing
extraneous or incidental or arbitrary in it. This sort of efficiency
gives you so much slack that you can relax and slow down a little. In
turn, the relaxation and slowness will allow you to conserve your
energy and be a bit smarter in your tactics and techniques.

Efficiency begets slack which begets slowness which begets relaxation
which begets aiki.

Getting this out of order by going for "slow" first, you can lose the
prerequisite to slowness (efficiency) as well as getting the wrong
kind of slowness, which prevents you from attaining any of the
subsequent benefits (relaxation and aiki).

Patrick Parker

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