One of the cool things about having a family is the sense of wonder that you see in your child's eyes as they discover new things. It could even be something as simple as a tall building or the first time they see a blacklight.
We had someone on the mat on Sunday who comes from a karate background. He's been asking a lot of questions and although I've read many similar statements from people I've never actually heard someone verbalize it quite like he did.
He asked many questions including why uke seemed to just go along with the movement... such as when we enter tenkan and pull someone around for a technique. Someone there suggested that he do what comes natural for him. When he just stood there after his initial strike it was pointed out to him that nage was behind him and can do anything to him. This new student explained that his previous training had him thinking in terms of a one hit and done attitude. That after he punches someone they aren't dodging or moving... they just go down. Interestingly enough the other person there with a karate background had said that you have to keep thinking of the fight continuing or maybe there is another attacker. (Two karate backgrounds, different thought processes).
We went through many repetitions with him on this entry as both nage and uke. At one point he tried to resist some and found himself being pulled around anyway with me using no strength. Then he tried again with more resistance. Seeing I was getting more resistance (he never turned to face me either) I just took his wrist and his collar with the other hand and controlled him. I had led him so off balance he had to turn around and I gently lowered him to the floor on his back(iriminage-like motion). From his perspective, he just lost his balance and could never recover even after he started moving.
He had this big grin when he saw how much control I had over him and he started to understand how important it is to take uke's balance. He started to become a believer that Aikido isn't just moving around cooperating with your partner. That there is something real to this art.
So for me it was a fun class as I got to see aikido through his eyes.
I was also very happy that during some free time after class I was working with a very experienced uke and had him moving well as I changed from technique to technique. I have missed a few classes recently and didn't know how well I'd be able to get back into things.
When it was my turn to uke I was glad to actually put a hand up without thinking about it (when he unexpectedly did a strike to my head for an atemi). I'm not sure I'll always do that but when I do I'm pleased to think that if someone were to try to hit me out of the blue I might actually do something about it.