It has been a few weeks now of training under the social distancing rules.
We are, in many ways, more fortunate than a number of other martial arts schools. If open hand techniques were all we had, then it would be impossible for us to continue under the current restrictions.
However, we have the ability to run one on one classes, taking each student through weapons’ kihon, kata, kamae and suburi. And we have enough of these to easily outlast the virus.
The students seem to be responding well to the new regime; all are learning new techniques, some even new weapons and there is noticeable improvement in the fundamentals, probably due to the more intense focus required in an individual lesson.
From an instructor’s perspective, while this is all good budo and of immense benefit on multiple levels, it is still, in many ways, just wax on, wax off.
Where is the Aiki?
It does exist in a more subtle form.
It is built into the kata and the very nature of how the weapons are wielded.
But I miss its expression through the dynamic interaction of uke/nage, uchitachi/shitachi.
It takes restraint to teach whilst maintaining a two meter distance.
Nevertheless, we are laying solid foundations for future partnered practice and keeping the School alive during these circumscribed times.