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Journey of 1k steps Blog Tools Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-29-2008 12:36 PM
Diane Stevenson
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Just a returning student determined to stay in it for the long-haul, insha'allah. A blog to stay focused, stay motivated and gain insight.
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 21
Comments: 8
Views: 46,419

In Spiritual Get out of the way Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #21 New 01-18-2009 01:54 PM
Get out of the way

The last bit of any technique which ends with uke falling: get out of the way. Take shomenuchi kotegaishe for example. Get off line, steppin to about 90 of uke's line. Blend brushing nearest hand down uke's arm to his wrist, draw him down into slightly over extended forward. Keep his center in front of yours, tenkon: he is depending on you for balance. Maintain your own extension to keep his wrist, elbow, shoulder locked. Cut across and down uke's center , just when he starts to move, get out of the way by stepping forward foot back and turning hips.

If you do everything right, but you don't get out of the way, well, it's not a throw. Gravity can't act on uke because you're blocking the way.

There's an interesting analogy there.

Seems like the whole idea, or at least a primal concept of aikido is to take uke's balance such that gravity has its way. Thus, uke really throws himself, I only facilitate the process. In fact, when we add dynamic movement to technique -- which we are now doing more of towards the end of class -- uke's own momentum and off-balanced-ness (not sure how else to phrase that) puts most, if not all, the intensity on the joint lock or the projection.

So often in life I need to get out of the way. Sometimes it's an issue of letting someone else do it. This is more like training with a friend at the dojo. My son needs to clean the kitchen himself, his own way; if I stay in the way and do it, he will never learn. Other adults in my son's Cub Scout pack need to take responsibility for activities: if I do it all, they won't have ownership, I'll burn out, and the pack will suffer for it. In order to attain my goal of strengthening the other, I have to get out of the way.

However, Budo is not so much about conflict with the outside world, as it is about conflict within oneself. So when I encounter the garbage in my own heart -- fear of failure, perfectionism, apathy, selfishness -- how does this principle apply. Get out of the way: unbalance your opponent and let greater forces have their way.

I think the writer of Hebrews has something to add to this discussion. He wrote that we should be diligent to enter into God's rest. Now, the context of all this is explaining the significance of Jesus identity, death and resurrection to an audience who thought in terms of the revelation of Moses and the prophets whom God had sent beforehand. The two references made to rest in that context are: 1) God rested on the 7th day, having fully completed the work of creation. 2) God provided a place of rest -- the promised land—for the children of Israel which they initially refused to enter. By this parallelism, the writer effectively equates : 1) Jesus' finished work of atonement on the cross with God's finished work of creation; 2) the option each individual has to accept or reject that provision with the choice the children of Israel had to enter Cannan.

To my mind, entering into this rest is a lot like getting out of the way. I stop trying to muscle things thru, and instead rely on an outside force which is always present, always dependable (gravity). In terms of who I am, how I make sense of this world, what to do about death -- I have already gotten out of the way and accepted Jesus' finished work to apply. But the writer of Hebrews goes on (and this is where those stupid chapter breaks or paragraph headings really hinder a thoughtful reading). He says "THEREFORE … let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

My time of need is when I am being attacked. When my fear of failure paralyzes me. When my insecurity drives me away from relationships. When my selfishness denies others what God would provide thru me. When my enemy accuses me of hypocrisy and deceit. No doubt about it, this is the time I need to struggle and overcome. Aikido suggests I should apply the knowledge I have and then GET OUT OF THE WAY.

Is this passivisim? Not at all. Getting out of the way so that uke can fall is a very deliberate action. You have to discern where how to move, and then effectively do so. Getting out of the way spiritually, ie -- entering God's rest in order to receive mercy and find grace -- is also a deliberate choice of direction and movement. We first fix out attention on Jesus and then move in the direction of grace.
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