I had a cool moment today at practice.
I was paired with a new student (this was his second class) to practice my upcoming test. This was, to some extent, not exactly productive for my test practice since I had to spend more time explaining things to him than practicing but; it’s always good to practice with someone new, precisely because THEY DON’T KNOW what you are going to do. It’s a great way to see if you can really control your opponent, it brings you back to basics, you watch your details and go slow. It’s a review, sort of.
So, the guy is all “I can’t throw you!” at first, refused to finish the techniques and so on. I talked to him about the safety of knowing how to fall and doing my work as uke (the attacker). When it was my turn to do the technique he sort of… “escaped”. Since he didn’t knew what was going on, and didn’t knew HOW to follow me (to protect himself) he just twirled around and remained standing. It happened because I was treating him with the same consideration I treat every other one of my partners who follow me, I take care of them and they take care of me and we protect each other while we do all this crazy stuff. (Which is essential because this is dangerous stuff we do, injuries are not funny.)
In my considering him, I gave him the opportunity to do this. It was not his fault, but everyone has to learn that aikido it’s the work of two persons, and uke (the attacker) needs to protect himself, one way to ensure this is following nage’s movements. It doesn’t mean that you’ll throw yourself to the floor (God forbid!) or give nage your limbs to play with, it’s just a way to ensure both people can do their job, learn from it (which is the whole reason why we practice!) and share. It’s a tricky thing that involves connecting with someone else to really FEEL what’s happening. It takes time, but mostly it takes will and awereness.
It has been our experience that saying this (“please follow me, it is for your own good, you’ll protect yourself better”) has the effect of people thinking that we are faking everything. That aikido is fake. Some times it even makes them resist even more fiercely. Therefore, there is only one way my Sensei likes us to deal with this. It’s called aikido loving.
I was doing this:
So, first time he twirls around and ‘escapes’ my pin. The second time I smiled really big before beginning the technique and then, I swear it was like in the movies. When he was about to move away from me to turn around, I remained glued to his side, controlling his movement with my shoulder, then I pinned his arm further against his back, giving him no choice but the floor, where he landed right in my center, moaning and grimacing in pain. I’m not kidding, the only thing he was ‘saying’ was “ow-ow-ow”.
That’s when, still pinning his arm to his back, with a knee in his ribcage, and a hand right in his face threatening a hit, I bended towards him and said, still smiling “if you cooperate, it won’t hurt as much.”
I think that’s how Angelina Jolie feels when she gets to kick guys ass around. I won’t ever admit it in front of anyone, but; dudes, fucking empowering.
I don’t have to tell you that he was following my every move from then on.