It’s one of those sunny October days that feels like an early September day, doing keiko (Shintaido practice) outside, barefoot under a blue sky. It’s an old-timey practice, without sticks, doing some of the roots movements, going down on our knees, cutting our partner, rolling.
To be honest, knee walking and rolling are not my favorites. More of a shorter, Japanese body kind of thing. But there are extraordinary moments: to raise my arms up with my partner to the sky, to see the blue sky as her sword (figuratively) cuts down closer and closer to me, thinking as I look at the sky that if these were to be my last moments, they would be good moments. To lift my arms to the sky is a blessing, to be cut by a friend is a blessing…And then that moment — down to the ground!
(And, just so I remember, the lessons I learned yesterday after twenty some years of practice):
- Keep the leading arm straight — it communicates the cut to the partner
- Move from the koshi (center): focusing even just on the first four inches of movement, before the whole apparatus of the legs move. Movement from the koshi.
- Keep the ankles closer together when cutting down, so the next movement isn’t tied up by a foot planted way back there