This has been a good week for training. Besides teaching my regular Tomiki aikido class, my Daito Ryu class entered its second week. Systema pushed my boundaries physically and mentally.
Hussey Sensei stopped by for a visit. Every time he comes by I shut up and listen. While he comes from Seidokan lineage, I like showing him Tomiki kata and setting him free. He fried our minds with principles and theory. Suddenly the techniques were working smoother and more effortless than ever before. He showed us relationships in the techniques I had never seen before. Although I have been working these techniques since the mid 1990s I can still feel like a beginner. I still strip away all my previous ideas and start again.
In my Daito Ryu class I have regained the child like fascination for this art form. Every time I train in it now, the power of its ideas become obvious, and I see things in the motions I never saw before. It is like I am looking at these techniques with new eyes for the first time, even though I have done them all thousands of times before.
Systema continues to challenge me. I did all those getting punched in the stomach exercises you see on the youtube videos. It is all about relaxation and finding where you can get rid of the tension. We had a intense back and forth session taking and giving solid hits. At this point I don't find the giving hits to be as nearly as fascinating as taking them. Really the art form is atemi-ukemi. It is a newer level of training for me, being more fascinated with getting hit, than trying to hit. Like I said, it is a level of ukemi I have only really started exploring this past year, and it is well worth taking a deep look at.
Despite training since I was 11, I am not an expert in the martial arts. I am merely a passionate student. Every time I hit the mat I return to a place where I stare at the problems wide eyed like a beginner. These arts are rich and complicated enough where there is never an end point to it. There are simply many chances to begin again.
Kenichi Sawai: Taikiken. Meiji Jingu, Tokyo
2 hours ago