Thursday, May 20, 2010

The art of falling

 OK, so I've never had the most graceful ukemi. Over the years, it's become functional, but not the smooth, noiseless variety a few of the (younger) folks have developed.

The other day, I was taking a sankyo, when Ruth told me to keep my center even when my balance is compromised. She took ukemi from me, first like I was doing. This seemed to be like the ukemi everyone else does at that moment when nage is unbalancing uke in a typical sankyo. Then she showed me how she can relax. Even though I still had control of her, I was suddenly connected to her center. She felt like a coiled spring, ready to unleash into a reversal if I tensed up. Her shoulder, her footwork, everything became unified. It was kind of amazing.

Among other things, this showed me the Aikido ideal. One should retain that relaxed awareness, even when being thrown around. A lot to play around with...