Connection is a theme that Clyde Takeguchi Sensei had proposed for the seminar that he led on the first weekend in February.

Clyde Sensei emphasized the importance of “connecting to oneself.” Breathing exercises done at the start of the class are a way to do this. Also, putting concentration into the centre and bringing the feet into a solid hanmi position help with this. Body and mind unite with one another – the  body works in unison with a focussed mind.

“Taking out the slack” is another element of connection that Clyde Sensei addressed in his classes. In katatate tori (ai hanmi and gyaku hanmi) attacks he demonstrated how this was possible by small movements of the hand and wrist that not only bring uke and nage into connection but that also create imbalance in uke immediately.

Nage creates connection by what Clyde Sensei referred to as “controlling the space.” By inviting uke into nage’s space or sphere of control, nage creates an advantage in the encounter.

Before the seminar I had asked some students their thoughts about connection in practice and here are some excellent points they made:

  • Especially in irimi nage, it is important for uke to come in close to nage’s shoulder for his/her own safety. It is paradoxical that moving close makes one safer—usually we think in terms of moving away as being safer.
  • All components of one’s being need move together—the physical, mental and spiritual. But one needs first of all to connect to oneself. This particular person said, “If I am not at peace with myself, how can I create peace?”

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