Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Resolving Conflict

Last night I felt as if I was making progress. I wasn't completely winded as I sometimes am and my technique was, well, let's say it resembled the proper techniques to some degree. There are the various levels of refinement of course. Sometimes it feels good and sometimes not. Sometimes it may feel right, but it's not quite there yet.

The standard rule of thumb is that you have to repeat a technique 1000 times before it is internalized. I remember hearing this once, not sure where, but it seems like a reasonable number to me. For the first 10 or 20 repetitions, you struggle with the bare essentials. For the next 100, the basics are covered. The next 100, you begin to become aware of the subtleties of motion. And so on.

Last night I worked again with A. She is an experienced yudansha (black belt). There are some standard "conflicts" that happen all the time in practice, namely somebody isn't doing a technique correctly. The conflict part is when the error in technique is causing pain for the partner. We were working on shihonage, one of the few techniques I feel reasonably confident with. However, when performing the technique, I apparently brought uke's (partner's) shoulder slightly out of its normal range of motion--pain! So A reacts, shaking out the kinks, and I'm a bit confused as to what I was doing wrong. She appeared slightly annoyed. After a few tries, she was able to correct me. For best results, keep uke's hand close to her shoulder. I made sure to thank her for the help--this was the most important part of the exercise, maintaining goodwill between myself and my partner. Goodwill, maintaining a positive outlook between nage and uke is a fragile thing really, but perhaps the most important aspect of practice.


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