I realise that Fritz Perl’s catch phrase “lose your mind and come to your senses” neatly sums up my approach to “warming up”.
For me to prepare for freeform practice I need to shift mode from “thinking about” and doing, to feeling. That is, grounding my self in my “felt sense” allowing my awareness to play in sensation. In practice I do this by using my inhalation to feel whatever there is to be felt and exhaling into that. Dissolving. Any movements I make are then to heighten sensation in as many areas of me as possible. This of course rapidly bring me to my awareness of my environment, ground and air temperature and others I am working with.
When facilitating a warm up in a group I am now wary that I will become too much the focus of the groups attention. That they will watch, and do and still leave themselves in the realm of “thinking about and doing”.
Freeform practice begins with ki-musubi. (I don’t like to use jargon, as I think it carries us dangerously away from our actual experience, but, at the moment, I have n’t found a better term to describe the felt sense of shared-energetic-direction). Ki-musubi is in some ways a locking-in with the energetic extension and/or expressed intention of your partner in movement.
In freeform aikido both parties are active in finding ki-musubi between them. I think it is important to recognise ki-musubi is not the property of anyone, or something I can do, but is something I can be open to as the child of our engagement – born out of our meeting.
Ki-musubi is the starting point and dive board from which all further action evolves. It is the guide and muse of how the situation elaborates. Ki-musubi is the given creative well-spring of the practice.
In many ways the challenge of freeform practice is to how flexibly responsive to the ki-musubi we can allow ourselves to be.