Monday, April 20, 2009

Simplicity of the "basics"

Well, the aches and pains are easing, if not completely gone. I still am having some trouble with my elbows, but my shoulder/back pain has abated, thank God. I'll make any deal with any devil not to get that back again.

Things at the NY Aikikai are merrily moving along. For the past few months, there have been extra black belt classes held on a few Saturdays. The Aikipenguin couldn't attend those, but I did watch most of them, hoping to see some secret, high-level techniques.

Well, there weren't any. In fact, I can't say they have done anything we all haven't done many times before. I'm sure there is a point to it that I'm not getting.

This month, basic classes were also added to the schedule. This was great news! Yamada-sensei's basic classes are legendary. I eagerly anticipated the class.

Well, I wasn't disappointed! Sensei spent the hour almost totally on footwork and tai sabaki (body positioning.) It was all very simple, but I have to say I think I learned more in that one hour than I have ever learned before. He just has a way of demonstrating and explaining that is very clear.

What does he say that is so different? I don't know. I can't put my finger on anything. Maybe it's the authority he inherently possesses. When sensei says something, one needn't wonder if it's right or not (as sometimes happens...). Perhaps that makes the whole learning process more direct. Just a guess.

A lot of upper class men seem to also understand the value in these classes. I was surprised at the number of black belts who attended the "beginner class." I bet if these continue, there will be more and more of them.

This week, Steve Pimsler will teach another one. I'm very sad to say I won't be able to attend. I have a rare commitment on Saturday. Steve is also a fabulous teacher.

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