Which has been the absolute beauty of this week: the experimentation, the influx of ideas and thoughts from other perspectives. I think there's a time and a season for everything, and perhaps most of the time one should devote oneself to the practice of, shall we say, "established principle." But once in a while, the exploration, the broadening or even bending of the mind is a wonderful way to stretch one's skills and knowledge a little further than where they were.
I ended up spending most of the Aikido class sitting out in the genkan with Lowry and Sloan Senseis talking about some surprisingly deep and philosophical discussions, not just about budo, but about one's general approach to life. I don't know if there's a term for it (and you know I'm crazy about those stupid terms), but I think there's something important and valid about just sitting down and chatting, philosophizing with either someone who is your sensei or at least sempai (whether in budo or in any other facet of your life). It's another element of training, in a way; again, not one to do all the time, mind you. In fact, the majority of the time, I find it's best to shut my mouth and just start doing. But once in a while, stopping the body and discussing and pondering through conscious thought is refreshing and enlightening.
This morning in Aikido, we spent the whole time on the hanasu no kata, the 8 releases. Once upon a time, we used to go through them every class as a matter of course before moving on to whatever section of junana hon kata the kohai we were working with happened to be working on at the time. But since we started focusing on the renraku waza (the release series), we've only been doing the releases in the context of moving on to another technique. Which is fine; you end up doing the release either way. It's just funny to take a class and do just the 8 releases, and watch dan grades struggle to remember which one is next!
I also learned a few interesting things from my partner, which is always a treat. I've mentioned it before, but I learn so many things from folks who are technically my kohai! It humbles me, for sure. It also gives me reason to keep my mouth shut most of the time; if I'm busy yapping about what I know, I'll miss what other folks know.
I have one Aikido class today at noon, and then I'll be hitting the two Jodo classes tomorrow, in the morning and at noon. Should be interesting, because I've never had the opportunity to participate in any kind of seminar, godo-geiko or what have you that focused on Jodo.