Take your partner by the hand and start to rotate and twist him in order to help him relax and to learn to move to avoid becoming hurt and stay within his comfort zone while increasing it (the same as in low walking on different levels with an upright spine only with partner) help your partner by changing directions so he learns to avoid creating big movement and do only what is needed for the work, help him by tensing up and relaxing so he learns the effects of mirroring on himself and expel the extra tension with movement and breathing. Help your partner by blocking his path so he learns there is more than one way to solve a problem and to avoid following just his eyes and memory. Help your partner by rolling yourself and squatting down and moving here and there so he learns to release his eyes from the horizon and avoid being fixated on one plane or posture for movement. Help your partner by hitting him with your free fist or the elbow of you working arm every time he tried to power against your working contact arm so he learns that you have two arms (silly but we forget in practice and die while working without reminding ourselves to stay honest) And above all help your partner by paying attention to yourself so you remain in control and it is you in the chariot instead or Mars the god of war. Breath, relax, move and smile whenever possible.
Place yourself on your fists and keep your body straight and relaxed as possible. Have a partner lift your legs to different heights and drop you and your job is to relax and to maintain your breathing and your tension at the minimum required to avoid changing your form. Next have your partner lift your upper body up (my students tried to lift me by the ears and it didn’t work well for them) and again dropping you at different hights. Remember that when working hard on hard you need to spread your awareness in your entire body so that the impact will be able to transfer through you without ending inside. Keep breathing and loosen your fists when it is not required to tense them.
Take a knife that is not too sharp and press it into your partner. Work slowly so he can find the best way for himself to avoid getting cut or stabbed and change positions from time to time. It is best to start with just the body moving while you sit on your behind and find from there the different movement your body can create and to learn to use each hip on its own freely. Add this one simple turn to this drill while already standing and later on sitting down as well to help each other learn the reality of a blade point and blade by twisting the blade inside as you would a screw. This will help in learning to move your entire body and to avoid resisting the movement as a whole. You have to give permission to the blade to travel rather than trying to first move it or redirect it and get yourself harmed.
Move with care and relax yourselves rather than sprint to a fixed finish. Move and work from different directions and positions and avoid stopping and zeroing your work to an initial stage. Work from where you are as in a real contact. keep breathing and stay honest.
Stand or lie down and breathe. Tense up your entire body and relax to a one heartbeat count and relax. Repeat a few times starting the tension wave in different places in the body and also tensing all in one go. Up the count to two and repeat the drill paying attention to different parts in the body and feeling the heartbeat in your entire body as you tense and relax and elevate the level of awareness in your body. Up the count slowly to as high as you feel is working for you and in a very short measure of time you will gain a lot of ability out of simply paying attention.
Remember simply paying attention lies between falling into a ditch and breaking your leg or avoiding getting the screwdriver pushed into your ear.
Start walking using your breath as a guide in this fashion. One step on the inhale, one step on the pause, one step on the exhale and one more on the pause after that. Let the breath start the movement and during the pause relax and note where there is excess tension. It will relax with awareness without any effort. Have a partner either throw something at you like a tennis ball or simply give a changing voice command of direction and you roll to the given side as you recieve the charge. Go up the scale with breath adding more steps per breath phase and rolling to all sides and note how you handle and the added tension and distrubution of it in you.
The drill is simple on paper but it is not easy. Go as high as you can and let the movement show you where you tense up with no need and where you can move more naturally. Relax your face and eyes and note the ever changing alignment of the hips and shoulders.
To learn to hold tools and knives in particular well hold one in your hand and have a partner use a stick to first tap you on the arm and hand and than repeat the drill as you tense and relax your arm and shoulder as you are being tapped. Change roles and repeat the drill and than add closing your eyes to the drill by the person holding the knife. Progress to changing grip on the knife as you are being tapped and once you do this start to slowly move your knife letting the breath start the movement as your partner increases the hitting and adds strikes to the rest of your body. Remember to relax your eyes as you move and avoid looking at yourself too much. Feel your body.
Once all partners went through this drill start coming at each other as you are also evading a strike or a stick and work so your hold is not a stop in your movement or perception. Keep breathing and moving and remember while all roads lead to Rome the sides of the roads are littered with the bodies of the people who ignore reality.
The goal of the drill is much more important than simply running through the drill. Here aim to pay attention to the tension in your body and use what is needed while avoiding relenting to fear and impatiance.
Slow movement is great at cleaning out tension and making you stronger and move alive (density) in everything. To illustrate this do these four drills and than work with a partner and see how you fare differently.
1. Stand and very slowly raise your shoulders as high as possible to a twenty breath count and relax them again to the same count. Now repeat the same drill with the elbows to the sides and back and the fists to the front and to the opposite side (right fist goes to the left side parallel to the ground…)
2. Stand and rise on your toes to the same count and as in all drills keep your breath leading movement and your body relaxed and upright and eyes forward and up. repeat the drill lifting your feet and remaining on the balls of your feet.
3. lie on your back and slowly arch your your back up and your feet pressed to the ground creating an arch with your entire body. note where the movement begins and as you repeat the drill a few times new places come to life out of the benefits of this slow movement.
4. lie on your stomach and place your arms to your sides creating a + sign. Press all limbs to the ground lifting the body off the ground and again as in the third drill feel where the movement actually begins and with slight repetition find new freedom of movement in you. Remember what Vladimir says. He is not flexible, he is free…