Commitment, Burdens, Distance, Balance, and Timing.
Practice starts the moment you get to class.
Trainees should think and observe proper Mat etiquette always, or as one of my new students put it Marquette.
You should always bow when entering or leaving the practice hall and should endeavor to get to class before the start. A proper sitting position before the start of class is to be kneeling in the Seiza position with feet crossed.
– If you wish to advance in aikido then regular practice is essential. Of course, practice times are completely in your control so therefore a certain degree of self-discipline is important.
The dedication and commitment are down to you If you do not get the practice time in then the only person to blame is yourself. You cannot learn from books or videos, the only way is to get on a mat observe effectively, and put the time in.
Obviously, work and family commitments always come first but, sometimes after an Easter or summer break, or possibly a wedding, holiday, or general break from class it is sometimes found difficult to get back to aikido training. Excuses come in their multitude, “I’m having problems at work,” “I’m having problems at home”, and I’m strapped for cash, or my new girlfriends got possessive, the list is endless.
I found that my Aikido training helped me in the face of adversity. When I was on rock-bottom with depression and physical illness, I found Sanctuary in my art, it was then that I realized that I was a true martial artist.
I would go to class with sometimes massive burdens of grief upon my shoulders, especially when my mother died. I felt so guilty when I thought I was enjoying a practice session, but what I really was doing, was engulfing myself in a world where I knew I was safe. Aikido was my stress buster, a shoulder to cry on, my escape from the world, “My Sanctuary”
Distance Balance Timing – All three are required basic maneuvers to further our career in aikido. If you consider that no attack on the mat from any uki will ever be the same, even if you practiced for 50 years you would still not get the same attack exactly as the one before, therefore you must constantly consider your distance at all times whether it be in the basic format or in the Randori situation.
Without good balance you are at a serious disadvantage before you start, When I teach a class I do certain tests when demonstrating techniques, say, halfway through Kaitenage (Windmill Throw) I stop and ask Uki to test my balance, he/she will then try to push or pull, or even stand up from the technique. In order to complete the final projection of the Kaitenage, I must be on good balance and posture. If I dont pass the test then all is lost, I need to be sure that I can confidently take the weight off my back leg and transmit myself forward into the final throw.
Timing is probably the toughest one of the lot because if your timings not right then you have got serious problems. Imagine having three attackers on the mat in a Randori situation. From the very start of the onslaught, you must put yourself in a position of authority or you will be quickly overcome and perish.
This requires perfect timing You can say in your mind, shall I move to the left or the right, or will I go down the middle, will I go forward, will I go back, or will I just simply wait and see what happens, the latter, obviously too late.
Distance, Balance, Timing
Are just some of the aspects to consider in our day to day training which as I have said at the start can only be accomplished with total dedication to the Art and that can only be sought from practicing at least twice a week These three main ingredients can not be bought or inherited from any other source.
If you think you can get away with doing sporadic training when you feel like it, then you will be wasting your time, money, and most of all your instructor’s time.