I remember the days when all I focused on in karate and aikido was remembering moves in a kata, moving faster and hitting harder. Over the years I have changed focus from what my movement looks like to how I am moving internally. And it is only when I am correct within myself that I am able to perform aikido technique correctly with a partner. At these times it is as if the movements literally happen effortlessly, yet seem very powerful for those on the receiving end.
But even when the focus is within myself, there are a number of different things to concentrate on. Posture, relaxation and breathing are a few of the things that must constantly be refined and improved. Adding movement to this disrupts posture, relaxation and breathing and one’s overall balance, thus with any movement everything must be constantly re-adjusted. With every aspect of one’s movement constantly being critiqued and corrected、improvement in aikido comes very slowly. And slow progress is frustrating in a “I want it now!” society, but rewarding if you stick it out.
Friday night’s workout had me shift focus from within to between; from within myself to the connection between myself and my partner. It had been a long time since I had done this. One shihan who specializes in this sort of technique had been out sick for some time. Once I had reacquainted myself with his style of movement he shifted the theory to one finger throws. It took a couple of tries, but I was able to pull it off. It’s not easy to pull off, but amazing when you get it right. So, in a sense, my focus changed from outside to inside to further away from my inside/my center.
I wonder where my focus will be in the years to come. I’m looking forward to finding out.