On Wednesday of last week, at the start of our afternoon lesson, we lined up in our kamae positions facing our partners, and then just before we started, Andy Sensei announced that we would be changing partners. Now, I know it sounds like a pretty arbitrary thing, and even more arbitrary to write about. BUT, it was a rather symbolic moment for us 5 Kenshusei. What it meant was, then end of the partnership that we’d had for all of Dai Ni, and even some of Dai Ichi (at least 3 months all together). It meant that the person who we’d trained with 5 days a week, 4-5 hours per day, was no longer. Granted, we do do some switching around several times a week, but by and large, we do have just one main partner to work with.
Over the course of several months with Jotaro, we’d formed a kind of bond, an alliance. Most of it happened unconsciously, and that which happened overtly, was mostly in the form of nonverbal communication – through our Aikido. By now, we’ve learned a lot about how one another respond to techniques, how we move, when we’re tired, angry, frustrated, energetic, even hungry. Reflecting on this bond that we’ve created, I can’t help but make a connection with something that Payet Sensei said in the “Aikido is Life” video. “…It’s a way to communicate. To communicate more truly with people”. I think Jotaro and I did just that.
Well Jotaro, I’m going to miss you. But remember the famous line from Mel Gibson in Braveheart: They can take away our Sotae Dosa, But they’ll never take, our Embu!!! (That’s how it went right?)