The exercises in this Sampler contain a variety of images.
In Aikido, just as in gymnastics, dance, or golf, the image is a vital part of the technique; we create the image in the mind then let the body catch up. Imaging helps or allows the body to move, react, or feel in ways that may not be possible when working from the purely intellectual.1
Visualization and hi extension raise the startling possibilities that our thoughts do become reality on some level. Yet ki does not violate the laws of physics; it allows physical actions to move and flow more freely. In a strictly physical sense, holding a certain image in your mind may allow tiny physical adjustments — a slight shift in weight, a slight rounding of the chest, a faint drop in the shoulders, the use or relaxation of certain muscles — to occur on an unconscious level which would be far more difficult on a conscious level. It may produce an equally important change in attitude, in our perception of limits and boundaries.
In Aikido, a common image is that of water. Water flows yet is incompressible. It is soft and yielding but also produces the rock-hardness of the firehose. It can carve the rock, shape the coastline, bathe the child. Be a water drop.
Be a wave flowing over and around a rock, rolling in and out from the shore.
Be a leaf in the water floating with the current.
Play with the images until you have learned the feeling that the images invoke — then reproduce that feeling.
wur hnt?^ firuc!°"s for dancing "The Twist" were reduced to the following: "Dry coordinSW!,h a bathtowel while ebbing out a cigarette with your toe." Complex famïarîma movemen1s was immediately possible when translated into these
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