As some of you who practice at our dojo know, my wife Candy and I are into blacksmithing. Yup, blacksmithing. Hammers, anvils, fire, the whole deal...just no horses. I mean, what else would you expect two RIT educated engineers to do in their down time, well besides Aikido, of course.
So, besides outing ourselves as slightly into the odd spectra of society, why does it matter? Because everything is connected if you are open to seeing it. As we got more and more into hitting things with hammers we started to see parallels that couldn't be ignored. When we got frustrated or were stressed, our work suffered. Things just didn't come out right. Sound familiar? Relax, Progressively.
Ok, that was an easy one. Being relaxed helps lots of stuff, so what else? How about nikkyo and hammering. Nikkyo is all about the pinky finger. The grip on the hammer handle, assuming you want any accuracy, or not to throw the hammer across the room, or not get tendinitis, is all about the pinky. Also, nikkyo is not a death grip. It's soft yet unyielding. Exactly what we needed and we already knew it from Aikido!
Now we get to swinging our nicely held hammers and the connections just kept flowing. The hammer became a part of our unbendable arm. It rose, it fell, and rose and fell over and over into the patten of shomen uchi undo. When we aimed the hammer, we aimed it with our hips! How else could we do it?
And all was well. But then, we got bigger hammers! So big you needed two hands to hold them and swing them high over your head and down with all the might of gravity. Guided by the right hand, driven by the left. We discovered swords in the shapes of hammers. And there was much rejoicing.
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