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Just what is truth, I cannot tell
Cannot feel

… And Justice For All, James  Hetfield

I prepared for my last examination mainly by myself. I attended seminars and got some feedback, but most of the time I had to correct myself. While I was doing my examination preparation my telephone’s watchful eye was on me and my partner from the corner of the room.

We all have an inner eye. We can observe ourselves and we can choose to have an awareness about how we are moving even though we can’t see ourselves with our own eyes. However, if we are doing dynamic movements with several parts of the body in coordination with parts of the partner’s body the inner eye often gets very confused. At least mine does. The camera, however, does not get confused. The truth is right there.

The truth hits hard. Why? Well, probably because it is true, and it tells you things you will have a hard time to correct.

Pictures are painfully honest. Photo by Erlend Hove Lillebø.

I try to reserve one session pr. week to just going through the kata one by one. I give myself only one chance on each side with each kata. If I fail, the chance is gone until the next week. The same goes for the ukemi as my partner also have only once chance. I think this is a good exercise and it has become a kind of meditation for me. The rest of the week I can play with other things, but this session I just do the kata with my partner, as if it were an examination.

So which movements do we do when we do kihon no kata? Do we really make the movements we think we do? The camera contains the truth. However, it is not enough just looking at the video after the session. I had several cases of watching the video and not seeing stuff I should have seen. I didn’t find the truth even if it was just in front of my eyes. You have to look for specific things. That is where the notebook from the seminars come into the picture. I had lists of hundreds of details to correct before my previous examination. The mistakes appeared in the videos, and they were really hard to remove.

Another good ting about using cameras is that the inner eye gets calibrated. We know more and more what we are doing, so when we watch pictures or a video of ourself. The things we dislike are there, but there are no surprises because we see them with our inner eye every time we do the movement.

I have never been overly fond of exaggerated focus on specific forms. I don’t want to be anybody’s copy. Still, it is very nice to have the kihon no kata to come back to every week. They are very precise and specified to great detail, however they still have room for me to express myself.

Enjoy your keiko! Aikido make people happy!