New Schedule and Location for 2016

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Sucked into the eyes

We're advised from day-1 in our classes to look the partner in the eyes - maintain eye contact.  but then someone eventually brings up the famous Ueshiba quote...
Do not stare into the eyes of your opponent: he may mesmerize you. Do not fix your gaze on his sword: he may intimidate you. Do not focus on your opponent at all: he may absorb your energy. 
I, for one, have found immense benefit to my aikido in maintaining eye contact, and I have only been "mesmerized" once or twice in  the last 20 some-odd years - but I suppose in a lifetime of life-or-death encounters, a samurai wouldn't have been able to tell when that 1 fatal time would occur.
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Sean has done a good treatment of this look-don't-look paradox in our practice. I just wanted to add a little anecdote to this discussion.
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I have discovered recently that I am not able to watch really good jodo practitioners doing kata.  I'm not able to see what their arms and legs and weapons are doing because I get sucked into their eyes!  It's really weird - as if there is some sort of really high-energy communication going on between the eyes of uchitachi and shidachi, and if I ever meet their eyes, even as an observer on the side, I am sucked into that data stream and I can't see anything else. There have been several times lately that a sensei would say, "watch this kata," and I would start watching and get sucked into the intensity of their eyes and at the end I'd think, "Damn! I missed the whole thing!"

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I've tried squinting and focusing on hands and feet, but if either participant's hands ever pass near their eyes, as in jodan, I'm sucked in again.
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It's creepy.
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Anyone else experience this?




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Patrick Parker www.mokurendojo.com