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Do we just sit down arbitrarily and take the person next to us, nearest or dearest? Do we go and seek out our buddies one by one? Do we end up “fighting” over a popular training partner? Are we adventurous enough to try new partners as we discover them or do we keep going through the same ones all the time? How far are we willing to walk/run to get to the partner we wish to practise the next round with? At which point of time do we start looking for the next training partner (at the previous exercise, as we sit down, while sitting, or as we are about to start)? Do we change this behavior depending on the situation (the number of people on the tatami we know, which instructor is teaching or which country we are in)?

How do we communicate to the partner that we wish to be their partner for the next exercise? Do we wait until the exercise is about to begin to communicate with our potential partner or do we start the communication before? Do we use eye contact, a small smile, a hand on the shoulder, verbal interaction or do we simply just sit down next to each other knowing that we will be partners when the time comes? Which things matters when we decide who to invite to be our next partner? Do we change our mind depending on which exercise we will do? Do we feel more welcome inviting some partners than others?

Which kind of feeling do we ourselves transmit to our potential partners? How do we respond to an invite? Do our behavior depend on if the partner is our sempai or our cohai. How do we solve the situation if several potential partners wish to train with us at the same time? Do we give priority to the highest ranked, the one we like better or do we simply honor the first “contract” (if one was before the other)?

Moelv (in Oslo) June 2012. Photo by Sigurd Rage.

Who will choose where on the tatami we will practise or is it a joined decision? Who goes first? Which intensity will we practise at? How do we decide if we will be doing high falls or not? Do we use verbal interaction, or is the aikido enough to understand each other? How do we decide if we will bow sitting or standing at the end of the exercise? How do we remember the feelings we shared when the exercise is over? What kind of relationship do we have with the partner after the session is over if we never met the partner before?