When I first started practicing Aikido the energy I could see and feel in what I was learning made me hesitant, tentative in my attacks, and even more tentative in my responses. As time went on I learned to enter the flow of that energy, as do all of us that stay with the art. Techniques involving powerful committed attacks and dynamic responses become part of the joy of practice. But the energy is still there, however well we manage it. Both as nage and uke, there is a lot of power being delivered, blended with, redirected and ultimately dissipated into a roll or a sutemi.

We had a reminder of that last night in a ryo-kata-tori randori. As one uke entered and was thrown by the nage, the next uke entered a moment too soon. The first uke was mid-roll, feet in the air, when the second uke crossed into the line of that roll. The resulting foot to head collision left one with a cut above the eye and the other with a badly bruised foot.

The energy is always present. Even an innocent and inadvertent moment of inattention can lead to injury. A powerful lesson for the whole class.

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