I was late getting into Chuck's class yesterday and happened to partner with a yudansha I didn't know very well .
There are sometimes special moments in aikido when you can really feel the wave. I like the analogy of the surfer. The surfer has to catch the wave just right to ride it and that's what nage (and also uke) have to do in aikido.
A few times when we were doing yokomenuchi ikkyo and shihonage I really felt caught up in something -- just like riding a wave. It was a great experience and a a great ideal to shoot for.
My partner, Joel, was very strong and very quick. He gave me quite a work out! Yet, he was always in control and never overthrew or pounded me in the least.
Another great thing I noticed, although he was almost completely silent, he was very instructive. When it became his turn, he would stress certain movements from time to time. It didn't take me long to realize he was doing this for my benefit. I started paying attention to what he was doing and my techniques improved. Very cool. An instructive silent partner.
He did resort to a few words, however. At one point, I wasn't getting off the line enough. Probably he showed me that, too, but I didn't get it. So he just said it. (Not the first time I have been told that particular point, actually.)
Later on, when I was really getting exhausted, I was having a hard time getting back up. (He really was taking me through the paces.) Joel said, "Be like the Greek god who gets his energy from the Earth and comes up stronger." My only thought at that moment was easy for you to say. Now that I've recovered, I did some research (with the help of my Aikido-L pal G.A.Miliaresis) and I've discovered that would be Antaeus. The son of Gaia and Poseidon, he was unbeatable as long as he could maintain his contact with the Earth, where he could get strength from his mother, the Earth goddess. The photo above is of Hercules defeating Antaeus the only way possible, by holding him aloft and crushing him. Hrumf. Well, I'll just have to not let anyone lift me up, that's all.
At about 40 minutes into the class, we mercifully went to groups for some projection throws so I was able to catch my breath a bit. (I was really out of it! Joel kept me moving, non stop.) Standing next to me, my ol' buddy Junya takes a look at me and says, "Come on, we're not even moving." Haha. Even though I was recovering, I was already "over the line" in terms of exhaustion, so after it was my turn to go, I came back to the line again breathing hard. Junya, in his dead-pan way of his, says, "Just don't pass out." OK, got that.
This was a really great class for me, despite the exhaustion. In fact, if I could have a partner like Joel, I'd take the work out, every time.