I have a guessing game for you:
What martial art utilizes relaxated techniques, ones issued from the center, requires stable stances, and works regardless of body strength and size?
A good one!
These are concepts paramount in Aikido, my new endeavor, but of course I'm remembering these same ideas from every teacher I've had that new what they were doing whether its Hawaiian Kenpo, Judo, Tai Chi Chuan, Ba Gua Zhang, or Hsing I. However, my body still does not quite follow these ideals yet.
Tonight in class I reviewed excercises and techniques learned in the first lesson, and learned a new waza! AND ... picked up a ken (wooden Japanese sword) for the very first time ... !!! While my experience accelerates learning the open-handed techniques, everything with Aikido weapons is 100% fresh, and my clumsy gaijin hands display this accurately. I think that's pretty cool. That's what I came to Japan for right? That's what I started Aikido for right? Not to reaffirm old habits (though that can be a good thing), but to experience brand new fresh things. There's no string of adjectives I know that can illustrate this concept. Perhaps the Eastern ideal of the newborn baby is the best analogy. I always hated that one too; why should I emulate a baby? Its small and mushy, stinky and loud ... but after many years of repeatedly and reluctantly hearing this idea, it may be starting to shed light.
I am again amazed at the generousity and friendly nature of the other students, and in awe of the teacher's effortlessly powerful techniques. To be specific about my perceptions of Aikido so far though, it seems wholly a system based on levers and angles. I'm left with an image of Tim Cartmell dissecting a technique like a physicist.
I have to wait four more days for my next lesson! I guess its time for solo experimentation.