Sit, Cut, Throw
"First, relax and be centered. Then, extend and connect. Finally, blend and include."
Shihan Rick Stickles
The Sit, Cut, Throw Curriculumwas developed as a result of 10 years of Shihan Stickles' work to integrate the principles of meditation, sword, and hand–to-hand techniques. These three elements, when combined into one complete, non-dualistic training system, create the optimum environment to experience the dynamic, far-reaching, kaleidoscopic ramifications of Aikido.
SIT (Conscious Awareness)
One of meditation's primary benefits is bringing the practitioner into the present moment. For the martial artist, being in the present moment is critical to survival. In 1991, after examination of several different Eastern meditation techniques, Shihan Stickles followed his meditation teacher, Dean Sluyter , and began the practice of Dzogchen, a sitting technique rooted in Tibetan tradition. This inclusive, open-eyed, present awareness practice heightens sensitivity to surroundings, greatly broadens peripheral vision, and cultivates the state of "just being."
CUT (Structural Integrity)
The basics of Aikido techniques are embedded in the movement of the Japanese sword (ken jitsu). In 1975, after meeting Shihan Kazuo Chiba in London, Shihan Stickles made a commitment to an intensive study of Aiki ken (wooden sword) and its relationship to the empty-handed Aikido techniques. Good posture and a sense of being grounded, coupled with fluid, balanced body movements, create the physical form carried through all of Aikido's techniques.
THROW (Environmental Inclusion)
A relaxed mind and heightened awareness, along with a structurally sound physical body, prepares the practitioner to deal with a variety of environmental elements. On the mat, the environmental issue is defense from physical attack. Aikido techniques absorb and control the attack, neutralizing them through a series of locks and throws.
The heart of the Sit, Cut, Throw curriculum lies in the establishment of vertical alignment (mind/body/spirit integration) and the horizontal extension and connection to surroundings. A clear, honest, and meaningful horizontal connection to others and the environment is not possible without the proper vertical alignment.
With this curriculum, once the sitting and cutting techniques are firmly implanted, the practitioner can work individually on the vertical alignment which is, in fact, a critical component. The more diligent the sitting and cutting practice, the stronger the progress will be when executing throwing techniques in an Aikido class.
Through correct application of Aikido principles of vertical alignment and horizontal connection, the practitioner is in a better position to deal with the various challenges presented by daily living.