Brian Kagen pick: “The Speed of a Technique” by George Ledyard

“This actually ties in with the whole Aikido is not about fighting issue… Saotome Sensei doesn’t “fight” with you. He does not “contend”, he does not “defend”.

He accepts an attack. He joins with it. This takes place before the attacker even starts moving. On a psychic level, Sensei is ALREADY in before the physical attack commences. This is precisely what Ushiro Sensei talked about at length.

The whole concept of “fighting” is essentially dualistic. In fighting I need to “beat you”. If I am completely connected in my mind, there is no need to be faster, that is dualistic. Your attack literally creates my technique. It is not contentious, it is automatic. This all takes place on the psychic level before physical action commences. That’s why Sensei never looks like he is hurrying. He was ALREADY where he needed to be in his mind, he just hadn’t actualized it yet with his movement. When you start being able to do this in your parctice, it completely shifts your sense of time.”

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  1. At one point in my life I believed in psychic phenomena. Perhaps I will again. I’m not in a hurry. Saotome sensei has done some fairly amazing things with me, but I resolutely choose to believe that they are subtleties of technique and awareness rather than extra-sensory perception.

    Perception of time shifting by itself is a fairly common stress response. I’m not sure how useful it is technically. The technique that I think is most apposite here is reading body language and facial expression, then acting upon them without question. If you initiate on the other guy’s intent you will dominate the situation…. unless you are deceived.

    The master technique of Saotome sensei may be qualitatively different. Body language and facial expression are signals, but also communication. He may have worked out how to dominate that conversation.

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