By Shoji Seki 8th Dan
What is the wall (means you cannot feel progress) in the practice of Aikido
I have not thought about wall. Because every time I think that I cannot make perfect movement for aikido. So I practice. If you feel wall, you should make practice. For the other advice is practice with some theme. If you have theme, you can look at teachers’ movement more carefully. Practice and practice are important.
If I look at beginner’s class, they practice very good because they have fresh mind, even old person. We have to learn such mind from beginners. If we can keep beginner’s mind, we will not feel wall problem.
Sometimes I found the person who thinks he is perfect. If so there is no meaning to practice. Even veterans we have to learn from practice, otherwise we become arrogant.
It is difficult check yourself during the practice, so it is good idea to look at mirror. With mirror you can find your default. Also you can check how Uke will react from your technique. You can learn how was your technique by looking at Uke’s reaction. Even 6th Dan or 7th Dan, we will learn from practice. I start Aikido from university, but I would like to keep the mind of that timing.
How you can solve the Wall problem
For beginner, it is easy to feel progress. Of course the progress speed is depends on the person. Even you progress slow, you move the body, and make or receive technique, then if you enjoy, you can continue the Aikido. The real progress will follow afterward. If someone feels ukemi is enjoyable, I think that is good. You can understand the form of technique by watching, but when you feel is different from you watch. So make ukemi very much, then you can connect image and feeling. For especially young person, should not think about detail techniques.
First try and move, your body will understand the details by many practice. Sometimes I see persons who are thinking too much without moving their body. I would like to advise such person, just practice, don’t think too much.
But just moving (practice) does not give best result. Uke has to attack correctly, tori also has finish the movement correctly, that is giving a good tension. Then the attack will become more effective. In other words, we should practice which we suppose to do. (Practice correctly).
If you don’t practice correctly with too much thinking, it will end up at Wall. So we should do practice correctly (a correct attack and a correct answer from the Tori with a good tension).
Depart from Wall
If you are face with a wall, you should go back to the mind of beginner. Then practice slowly,check each movement. If you do quickly, you can easily miss some point.
Other important thing is to have a good practice partner. Then if you have some problems, you can try and search with the partner. It is better to do move his body around the problem than thinking about it.
Then repeat, properly and slowly the techniques, and the practice will be enjoyable…
Translation: Kenichi OKU et Angelique LEMONNIER