It’s often said that learning progresses by leaps and bounds. Rapid progress is made in a new area, then the acquisition of new skill sets slows, and with it progress seems to slow as well, This is due to the refinement of existing knowledge, rather than something brand new, and it is considerably harder to measure progress in this area.
At Aikido practice I found myself training with someone who started a year ago. Now I consider my aikido pretty shambolic. I try and try, I enjoy the learning process, but oh boy is there so much to learn! There are times when I feel I am tripping over my own feet, that I wouldn’t know how to stop an attack if it came with a five minute warning… all the usual feelings martial artists get, so I know I’m not alone.
Training with someone who has “only” been training a year made me realise that actually, I have progressed. I’m sure I am still causing a few private giggles, but hopefully not as many as I was before. And OK, the moment we do randori I have to firmly suppress the jitsu techniques, but I am starting to move more in a manner of an aikidoka rather than the proverbial puppet without the string.
At the same aikido practice I then paired up with someone who is more or less on the same level as me. Both of us had missed the detail of the three techniques we had been shown and were meant to be practicing. Rather than raise our hand up for the sensei (teacher) to come over, we decided to work things through and see if we could figure it. To the delight of both of us we came up with something that was workable…
…only for sensei to come over and point out the tiny bit we had totally wrong and why it wouldn’t work.
Oh well, at least we could do some of it right!