Kein Risiko, kein Spass

30 10 2017
Kein Risiko, kein Spass

Kein Risiko, kein Spass

By chance I saw the tagging long time ago in Germany and that triggered memories and thoughts.. not all happy ones..

I know I have myself followed this motto more than once, both in relationships and in other parts of my life. But, is it really fun or necessary to take risks in  working life, “love” life, sex life and what about the most important part of my life: Aikido life?

I am actually a relatively boring person. I do not like taking unnecessary risks. When I travel I like to plan the trip in advance: find the hotel or accommodation, usually the dojo for Aikido practice, the road between the 2 and mark on my local maps place of interests (and of course dojo and where I sleep). A boring person, right? I have been told. Maybe it is because I am an engineer..

I started writing this post the weekend before I miss the trip to Norway because of several problems with a Norwegian flight, including the forced disembark of a person, escorted by 4 well armed officials. I travel so often that it is actually surprising I assisted only so recently to something like that. Has it affected me? Not really, except the annoyance in the delays and then the cancellation of my trip (at least Norwegian refunded me of the full fare). But every time I book a fly ticket or every time I board an airplane I have no special feelings that I am doing something risky. Same when I bike to work during a rainy and windy day, on slippery Dutch streets, with several other bikes, tourists lost in their thoughts and stoned car drivers… 😉

Untitled

let it go..

So many risks in the day to day life that if one starts thinking about that maybe one would get too afraid and overwhelmed for even going out in the morning. Is that reasonable adding personal risks, risks of physical or psychological injures, social risks practicing a martial art?

Is fun taking risks during practice?

My aiki-brother wrote about the feeling of being safe during Aikido practice.What he points out comes from many years of practice and especially lots of “study, research” on the mats with Jorma Lyly sensei:

Let’s close in on danger in a nice and comfortable way..

Jorma Lyly, 6.dan Aikikai

taking ukemi for Jorma Lyly sensei

taking ukemi for Jorma Lyly sensei – picture by Sigurd Rage (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sigurdr)

In many ways I agree with aikifreak, of course (considering as well Jorma one of my biggest inspiration and motivation). Very often when practicing with a beginner partner, I suggest to try to keep a longer contact, grab, in particular when a technique ends with a throw or projection. I call that one’s own safety belt, the same kind of feeling I like when taking a break-fall with partners I am still not completely in tune with. Equally I prefer to perform slow techniques and working on the basics most of the time instead of hurry up to the conclusion (throw or pin) with the risk to surprise and provoke unnecessary pain to my partner.

In the old times, Aikido and martial art in general were considered effective only if the execution was painful for the attacker, even better if the pin or torsion was causing some breakage. Times were different: maybe many remember or have read at least once a long interview with Chiba sensei, where he talks about challenges. At the beginning of Aikido history, in older Japan but not only, everything new had to be tested according to the time standards.

I am actually convinced that “testing” Aikido respect to effectiveness is not a bad thing, but there is a place and time for doing that (unless you are with the shoulder against a wall facing people interested in taking away your freedom or life or attacking your loved ones: then there is no discussion about place and time, and if no room for discussion, there must be confidence for action). I love testing and working on techniques during seminars as well, but most of the times depends on the partners and the environment.

In some places it is the natural way on the mats: one example I was talking about recently is the seminar with Ariga sensei the past 2 years in Bratislava. Sensei is presenting an extremely interesting work that requires a good deal of thinking especially about the foot movement, and I love to work with someone on the mats that is also interested in exploring, not only in the outcome of the throw. Bratislava, as many friends I often meet also in Prague and Norway/Sweden in particular, is the kind of place I feel at home in this research. The final result of the throw becomes almost irrelevant, or better, don’t misunderstand me, it becomes like the natural result of the research, even if in my own thoughts it does not have the main importance in the process. So the fact that a technique is working or not is not only shown by the throw itself, but by all the steps that lead to the throw, making the throw just the natural end step. Details after detail building up the whole..

The colors of autumn

Autumn Details

This research is the main purpose and motivation of my traveling, my going to meet several teachers I appreciate or make me curious. Many friends know I was not fully convinced about Ariga sensei fearing another attempted imitation of Endo sensei, probably the best one giving the background, but still.. and I was proven wrong. And I loved his seminar! Next year he will not visit Bratislava anymore: different people that I do not know as well as over there and I think it will be a different seminar. I will join it, hoping to meet someone on the mats also curious about how to naturally get to the throw not putting the throw as the only relevant aspect of the technique.

Removing the throw from the “main titles” of the technique is part of my thinking that also without risk there is a lot of fun. Another motto one hears often in training environments is: no pain no gain. Really? I could paraphrase it here, for several Aikido people, as no throw no gain, but again my research now goes in the opposite direction, both about pain and throw seen in the most demanding way.

Having said this, I love of course throws, and being thrown around!

But I feel sometimes that people does not feel safe when practicing with me. It might be because of my size or because I do like to change the tempo in the techniques sometimes (when I know/feel my partner can enjoy and keep up), slow and dynamic or maybe they think that since I love to be thrown and I take tobi ukemi (jumping ukemi) I am going to throw my partners in the same way and they think it is rough or dangerous. Or maybe they just do not like my face (not properly angelic). A few days ago, after giving a suggestion to a fellow aikidoka, from my same club, he reacted saying that I should not get angry.. and this hit me deeply..

Maybe the reason was that I was not smiling as I usually do, because these days I am being extremely tired. It is probably one of my biggest personal disappointment. My goal is making all my partners feeling safe and comfortable (yeah, still talking about Aikido here!).

Maybe it’s also that I tend to show disappointment on my face: the thing that is difficult to explain is that the disappointment is about myself, for not being able to properly guide my partner, to be able to transmit the feelings I have, or also for maybe expecting too much by my abilities, thinking I am actually able to make my partner feeling something else than fear, or pain, or discomfort.

I have to work on taking every step slower. Let the technique enter completely in my own self, from the eyes, flow properly to every cell, so that it is assimilated and not only superficially touched: when I manage to feel that flow without thinking at that I know the kata has become art. But the only way to get there, at least for me, is through repetition and through researching.

Interiorize the kata makes it effective and allows me to be able to focus on my not “ideally every day partner” comfort: for “ideally every day partner” I mean some of the people I know I could almost practice with closed eyes and we would both have a great time.. not many here in Amsterdam. My growth can only be shown by people enjoying practicing with me, searching me on the mats and not ending up at a new rotation with me and thinking “damn, next time I have to be faster to find someone else!”… as it happens too often..

My path is still so long.. I just have to find more partners to walk along it..

My precious tail....

Safe and comfortable

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The Seventh Day…

31 01 2017

…he rested.. I mean, I rested, finally! Yesterday.. yeah!

During the weekend, feeling quite tired at practice in Belgium with Kuribayashi sensei, and going to bed relatively early Saturday night after the dinner event, I realized that I have been practicing quite a bit this month. Every day since last Tuesday (no practice on that day). At least, a bit for my own self, nothing compared with my aiki-bro Aikifreak. More or less like the Stavanger days, but there I was teaching most of the classes and it is quite a big difference, especially here in Amsterdam, between being instructor or not.

19 training days this month and my condition is far from optimal. The elbow inflammation and the probable knee bursitis are following me from last months in 2016 to now. But it was ages I did not practice that much in a month, and none of these days was a full teaching session.

A couple of weeks ago I had a bike incident, smashing on the frozen tarmac after misjudging the height of a step and try to “jump” with bicycle and all, I had landed on the same knee already in pain and for some strange Aikido reflex I had managed to not smashed the left arm on the ground when I bent the handlebar:

bike handlebar re-work

bike handlebar re-work

An accident due to 80% stupidity, 10% iced road and 10% bad luck..

Funny thing is that after the crash both knee and elbow seems to improve.. Fight fire with fire?

…but the not traditional healing method did not really stick, and nowadays I have started thinking to get back to some more traditional cures, that wouldn’t require to crash again my poor bike..

In the close future I see some more very active weeks coming and I am quite happy. I have planned to attend interesting seminars where I will meet amazing people on the mats and have more chance to test my body and mind. Last Aikido year had been fantastic. I have hopes and I trust this year will be equally great.. but I have to improve my own condition. Learn how to recover faster as well.

Tuesday’s are my days of rest but unfortunately it’s almost sure I work overtime every single one. But I also promised myself to stop on the way home at Bukowski bar, my oasis in Amsterdam. Often alone I sit in my spot, have an occasional chat with the people working there, check my Instagram or social places or write my blog… like yesterday night….





2016 aikido seminars

31 01 2017

Wrap up of an year of travelling/training for Aikido (a little late)

15 – 17 January: Strømmen, weekend seminar with Bachraty sensei
22 – 24 January: Dusseldorf, weekend seminar with Lyly sensei
20 – 21 February: Jakarta, weekend seminar with Irie sensei
12 – 13 March: Ho Chi Minh, weekend seminar with Irie sensei
15 – 17 April: Dublin, weekend seminar with Irie sensei
22 – 24 April: Trondheim, weekend seminar with Lyly sensei
14 May: Stockholm, “Female Touch” day seminar @ Vanadis
20 – 23 May: Stavanger, weekend seminar with Kingston sensei (Dayto Ryu Aikijutsu)
11 – 12 June: Prague, weekend seminar with Noel sensei
19 August: Duisburg, one session with Ruben sensei
20 – 21 August: Duisburg, weekend seminar with Lyly sensei (bokken seminar)
2 – 4 September: Oslo, weekend seminar with Kuribayashi sensei
18 September: Amsterdam, one session with Dijkman sensei (ukemi seminar)
21 September: Amsterdam, one session with Yamashima sensei
23 – 25 September: Hannover, weekend seminar with Lyly sensei
14 – 16 October: Bratislava, weekend seminar with Ariga sensei
21 – 23 October: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, weekend seminar with Irie sensei
12 November: Trondheim, one session with Nevelius sensei
18 – 20 November: Heggedal, weekend seminar with Lyly sensei
25 – 27 November: Vienna, weekend seminar with Endo sensei

…and to add to all this serious and top level seminars, I had a short one myself:

9 – 10 January: Trondheim, weekend seminar with aikidude 🙂

Less weekend seminars than in 2015, but more practice altogether with 2 great periods in Asia (Japan+Vietnam and Indonesia).

A great time on the road anyway…

Untitled A long road

…and 2017 has already started in full speed and great time..





Aikido, GTA and a huge smile!!

3 11 2016

Great beginning of the day watching this nice and funny “Aikido” video made by Dojo Bushidokai:

A smile, lots of truth and of course not the arrogance to believe that with Aikido you can defend yourself form a real knife attack performed by people that can handle knives! I say that preventing comments by other martial art practitioners, well aware of the purpose for us to practice these kind of disarming techniques.

Take the video for what is it: the spirit of Aikido about how to solve conflicts.. even if sometimes it is better just to run away and some other times getting out of the line and then.. kick in the balls your attacker!

Life is good because it has a lot of variations!!

Have a great day!!

 





Unfit

13 10 2016

Last week I had to stop practice after the first hour and it was a bit annoying: I have a couple of physical problems that are carrying longer than expected, and a few too many thoughts on my mind, that are also not helping.

During a first hour of several beginner techniques, working especially on ikkyo and with no throws at all, I had to compensate a lot a problem with one knee that is forcing me to avoid as well all suwariwaza work. That is boring, but last year, more or less in the same period I had the same problem, that went away with some rest..

hope... for something better....

hope… for something better….

Read the rest of this entry »





Soon a new week

25 09 2016

…but for now I enjoy the tired body and little aches post another great aikido seminar in Hannover, with Jorma Lyly, the aiki-wizard I missed so much in China…

tai no tenkan, aiki-wizard and aiki-brother

Jorma, Svein and the big bunch of aikido friends here in Europe that I could not meet and practice with when in China are among the reasons that make me not to regret the choice to come back…

sunset in Hannover

Many aikido weekends in the next few months toward the end of the year, therefore many chances to work on myself and my demons.

Live in the present, its my new goal and challenge. Keep the memories but not hold on them as my life depended on that..

Like a bokken or an aikido partner, stronger you hold less sensitive you become to the contact, to the changes, to everything else besides your own little self..

aiki brothers





Values & Time, Water & Teflon

19 09 2016

It is the time to say goodbye to shoes I had bought for 14.90 € thinking that if they lasted 3 months it would have been a good investment.

A long road

They lasted about 18 months, they have walked me all around Europe, in Japan, I’m Indonesia and in Vietnam.

I have learnt to give value to everything and everyone independently by the time things and people are around. Because this time can be short.

I have had 3 relevant relationships in my life of which the longest lasted about 3 years “on paper” but in reality maybe less than 3 months and the best most spontaneous and natural part has been the first 3 hours.. I valued most of the time with her and looking back I regret I did not enjoy more. But I have no other regrets. Read the rest of this entry »