Hal didn't teach on Friday, but we still had a good class taught by Sharon.
We focused on connection -- a very important point in aikido.
At first it may seem odd that a martial art requires the "good guy" and the "bad guy" to connect, but in fact, aikido teaches that there is no good or bad guy (resistive partners excluded). When viewed that way, it starts to make sense.
In theory, there is no winner and no loser in aikido (explaining why the art does not lend itself to competition), so uke and nage need not balk at connecting with each other. This is different from "cooperative" if by that is meant uke just gives it up. Uke is supposed to give a sincere attack. But if the connection is made, the experience is transformed to a more mutual and "healing" encounter. Not to sound to New-Agey or anything.
I had a hard time with this concept for a long time. I mean, it's a martial art, right? Don't I try to take the guy out? And doesn't he try to do something to me?
Well, yes and no. The "attacker" has to give a sincere attack. But nage is supposed to absorb, redirect and otherwise neutralize the force in such a way as to "respect uke's ki." Which means really not to try to block or go against it, but use it to resolve the conflict.
All this may sound a bit hokey. But there are levels within levels with this. I may have glimpsed the first few myself, and seen a few more in others, but I get the feeling there's a lot more to it than I can even imagine.