Hitting People with Sticks
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Randori – when two come after one

Tuesday’s aikido class was a return to randori, both for me personally and the class in general.  It was also a serious workout.

The purpose of randori, at least as I see it in my current level, is to start stepping the prepared, rational, controlled techniques we learn one at a time from that controlled environment to one more realistic.  It ratchets up my tension and anxiety to have two people coming after me at once – not because I fear they’ll hurt me (I can’t imagine any of these people doing that on purpose), it’s more complicated than that.  There’s the performance element of it, knowing people are watching.  There’s the improvisational nature, where you don’t have a prescribed technique to put into practice.  There’s the simple animal reaction of “OMG MUST DEFEND SELF”.

The biggest thing I need to work on is still relaxation.  Sensei pointed out at one point that I was in this very aggressive stance when playing nage – I got the feeling that he was both amused, pleased, and concerned by the behavior.  It’s good to be prepared and even eager for the exercise, but getting lost in that energy leads nowhere good.

I’m getting better at it with practice, as with most things.  I suspect it’s going to be a sticking point for me for a while, though.


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