Monday, June 19, 2023

Patience, Quiet, Feel.

Patience is probably the hardest skill to learn in martial arts. In this high speed capture of a throw, taken at 240fps or ~8x slow-mo, we see that Uke (the attacker) takes a long time to curve around Nage (the defender) and change direction. If Nage does not wait for the attackers forward energy to change direction, we would need to counteract all the momentum of their bodies in order to change their direction and execute a throw. 
From contact to release of the attacker is just about 2 seconds in this throw. About 1 full second of those 2 (that's 1/2 for those playing along at home 🙂 ) are spent waiting for uke to change direction. That second is a long time in combat, and a whole lot of time where students think they need to do something. Herein lies an important lesson for both on and off the mat. We need to learn to quiet the mind, to be still not for the sake of laziness but of purpose, and to move and act intentionally when the time is right.
Feel. Nage is also not a modern car and does not come equipped with rear-facing cameras. Nage does not have time to turn and look at uke nor can we give up the posture (structure) required to do so even if we did. While waiting, we must "feel" uke's energy (momentum, speed, direction, posture) solely through our sense of touch. This is another difficult skill which takes much practice to develop. Books cannot teach this, nor can videos. This must be learned by doing.

In Aikido, the moves are the easy part to learn. It's the touch, timing, and patience which take decades of fun to master.

There's no time like the present to start!

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