Let’s start this at the end, on the last day of the seminar.
So there I am, having an amazing time, practicing shomen-uchi with Gorman, a talented Aikidoka with whom I should be training more often.
Keller Sensei is watching, of course, and notices something that in ten years of practice had never occurred to me.
The stance I had taken—as clearly as if I had spoken the words aloud—was telegraphing my thoughts to my partner. Not only my thoughts about the technique, but thoughts about my Aikido as well.
More specifically, because my hanmi was slightly askew, and no center connection was made, I was telling my partner that I lacked the confidence to survive the encounter. It was, Sensei explained, a subtle opening, more psychological than physical. But an opening nonetheless.
With that one, insightful comment, Keller Sensei had cut to the heart of my practice.
And not just that one comment, either. For all our students, Sensei took the time to explain, compliment, and correct. And we were all made the better for it.
I can tell you that Dee and I left jazzed about our training. I can also tell you that our students felt the same way.
So thank you, Lane Sensei, for hosting this wonderful seminar. And on behalf of our students, thank you Claire, for your insight and good humor.
We had a great time.