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Ki in daily life is the writing prompt Ron gave me a few days ago. I asked him to take it back but he didn't.
I am feeling blah around it but I am practicing new behaviors so here we go.
I have noticed lately that I am feeling low. I am not excited to get out of bed. I am having a lot of negative thoughts like:
"I have worked my whole life and this is where I have ended up." I need to make more money or have more recognition." Now the more money would be nice but I don't need someone telling every second that I am doing a good job.
As I have said before I am turning sixty in a few days. I think the pall that I feel is because something in the back of my mind says 60 is the big one: the one where we really are all done. No more fun…just grown up hard stuff.
That being said…and I am going to keep telling about it until it passes because I know that it is a lie and if I keep telling it will diminish like all untruths. Only the truth lasts and I want to live in the truth.
That being said…I feel great. Last night Ron and I went for a bike ride after work. We had a nice healthy dinner and then cleaned up the kitchen.
We played mitts and sticks and then an exciting game of "Ticket to Ride" where we had some healthy fun feuding. He gets to wear the imaginary engineer hat and scarf because he won yet again.
Work felt long yesterday and I felt lonely for a bit and sad because I think I don't get to see my family enough.
Ki development is important because without it, Aikido is just a bunch of techniques that will only work with cooperative ukes.
Ki (also known as mind, body co-ordination) includes the connection with the now that allows us to react to what is happening with the appropriate response for that particular attack.
Co-ordination of mind and body allows us to be at our best, utilizing all the information at hand and responding with clarity to keep ourselves as safe as possible while causing the least possible harm.
The response to an attack is hidden in the circumstances and will be revealed with careful attention to the "Now".
The "Now" is discovered by have your mind and body integrated. Mind, body co-ordination is noticed and nurtured through ki development.
At Berkshire Hills Aikido, ki development is incorporated into all aspects of training. We do special exercises and testing to help us develop basic centering and more advanced correct feeling. And every movement on the mat and in life provides limitless opportunities to maintain correct feeling.
When it is lost, as it often will be, we just notice and then get it back as soon as we can without recrimination of ourselves and without blaming the stimulus that caused us to lose it.
This practice of having the return of mind and body co-ordination be our goal lets us release the victim stories and return to the process of training. All experiences can be perceived as gifts that allow us to see
I asked Ron for a writing prompt and he gave me co-ordination of mind of body.
Mind body co-ordination is always a good subject. What can I write today about it? That it is more important than ever as I approach 60? God, sometimes it terrifies me to write that. I know, I know. It is better than the alternative.
But what can I say except that I feel 30 inside and so full of life and energy. I get hit with this melancholy that makes me ache for the younger me. But why? I feel young …I just don't look young. Why do I want that angst-filled woman back now I am filled with serenity, acceptance, peace and contentment a lot of the time? I am what I feel like not what I look like.
The mirror has been surprising me. A new hair cut… a new hair color, several pounds lost…it is still me. I look and then let go again. The mind body co-ordination comes in when I accept….yes, I am going on 60 and this is what it feels like today. I have no physical complaints. I am fit and limber and moving well. I am as strong if not stronger than ever.
I see what O'Sensei meant about how we must defeat the mind of contention that we harbor within. It really is about false fears. There is nothing to be afraid of today. I look how I look and I feel how I feel. There is freedom in the acceptance of the truth. Thank you for the reminder, Ron, Sensei…you are always the sensible one when it comes to me.
I used to think that all men were saviors. Then I thought all men were abusers.
When I was a little girl I thought men kept us safe and protected us from the world. After I started training I thought all men hurt women and there was no hope.
Now I know the truth is complicated. Good men exist. Good men do bad things sometimes. Bad men do bad things and maybe good things sometimes.
No man is coming to save me. That is my job. I can learn from all situations. Every single moment can teach me more about survival and thriving.
I spent many years looking for my knight is shining armor. Trust me…he is not sitting on a bar stool.
I starting training in Aikido and found a good man: but better than that I found a good woman who no longer was willing to be saved or be abused.
In aikido I found my own power. It started subtly as I trained with men who were rough around the edges but had good hearts. Men who encouraged me to roll and to wear my white gi pants to fit in; that didn't care if I looked pretty or got sweaty.
There were men in that dojo that were self-absorbed and sexist …just like there is all over the world. There were men who did not want to be taught by a woman and who told me that women can't get strong enough to protect themselves.
I just kept training and teaching. People that did not like our way at our dojo went away. We find that good people stay. We found that men are good and strong and respectful just as women are good and strong and r
Uke is a positive role. It is not just waiting to be nage. Aikido is not about overpowering each other but learning, together, how to resolve unrest, conflict and disorder.
Uke provides nage with the opportunity to feel another person's energy, physicality and essence. Nage provides uke with the opportunity to let go in a controlled environment, to not have to be in total control and to give a gift of energy.
Aikido happens when uke and nage work together to resolve the conflict or attack of the moment. Being as in the now as one can be makes the experience so fun and educational.
By being the best uke or nage we can be in each moment we provide earnestness.
Earnestness is defined as: sincere and intense conviction. It is such a sacred gift to give to each other. In this world where really being seen and heard by others is rare and fleeting we come together in the dojo to see and feel each other deeply as we strive to become safer and more comfortable in the world.
Everyone can't be a wildly athletic uke or a smooth polished nage. Yet we can start right where we are and do our best. That is all earnestness requires of us. We just be who we on any given day.
Some days I feel totally healthy and happy. Other days I feel grumpy and sore. I have practiced when I was limping because of an injured knee from carrying too much weight for my frame. I got to practice from a revolving armless office chair that was actually fun when I got over my ego. I had
Today in class I got triggered…I started to feel like I was going to throw up. I felt teary and shaky inside. We were doing an irimi nage and Ron asked us get inside nearer to uke that I like to. I like to take their balance earlier to avoid the intimacy that comes from a closer in throw.
When I was 24 a really big guy, about 6'6" who must have weighed at least 350 pounds knelt on my shoulders and shoved his penis in my mouth and down my throat. I thought of him in class while the panic attack was starting. I felt my body disappear and the trapped feeling come back
In the past I have stayed on the mat when these feelings come up but today was different. I did not try to deny the feelings. I noticed them. I gently observed to myself, "Oh, you feel nauseous…are you going to cry?"
Next, I felt my feet on the blue mat. I noticed the other people in the dojo…There was Jocelyn. There was Anne. I see Ron.
I breathed deliberately in through my nose and out through my mouth several times. I kept moving. I attacked when it was my turn to be uke. I consciously asked questions through the panic that was hovering about a correction I received as nage. I felt my hakama with my hands; I felt the inside of my mouth with my tongue. And I could not feel my center.
Near the end of class Ron had us a do a centering exercise. I told him I could not find my center. He reminded of an exercise we do to explain centering to someone who has never met her center.
He told me to
When the judgments pop up on the mat what can we do about them?
You know what I mean, sometimes in my head I hear "you (meaning me) suck", or "uke (meaning you) should relax more or follow better" and so on….
None of the above is conducive to blending or correct feeling. So what I do is notice the thought, feel the feeling and keep training. My experience is that the process of noticing, feeling and continued training works very effectively. I am not wasting any time or energy denying or minimizing my negative self-talk. I am not building a case against uke by focusing on what I think is wrong with them.
Usually for me, those kind of thoughts are proceeded or followed by an uncomfortable feeling.
So I breathe in deeply, I exhale fully and wait my turn, then I do the next thing I am supposed to be doing, whether it is bokken movement, attacking my nage of throwing my uke. I pay very close attention to what I am supposed to be doing and before I know it my mind is clear again and my spirit flies free.
I can't control what my mind thinks initially.
I can respond in a powerful way by being present with my thoughts and feelings, letting them pass and focusing on the task at hand.
We are running a beginner's class and I am buoyed by the response. We had 3 new people on the mat on Thursday night. Other times in recent years we have had no response to the offer of a beginner's class.
When we first started offering basics classes about 25 years ago the response was great….often 12 to 14 people would attend. It seems to me that the trend now had been for more confrontational arts. I think MMA has had an influence on people who are interested in martial arts.
Maybe now the pendulum is swinging back to people being interested in martial arts for other reasons than to beat people up or to be stronger than everyone else. I sure hope so. We are ready. Let the influx continue.
Ukes will rest or wander if not led. Nage will lead where uke's energy is headed.
Following and leading become one as the energy and intention becomes the focus. What seems to be matters not and what is prevails.
Why would uke lean....why not if they have a place to rest? Move the resting place and uke will lose balance.
Letting, not forcing with open palms and soft finger tips...no grabbing, pushing or pulling only guiding.
When uke comes around to see where nage went she will move in the energy trough if it is made available. First the void must be defined by nage's dramatic, dynamic movement. Uke is encouraged to follow by enthusiastic soft letting.
When nage moves with intention and invitation uke can't help but follow. It is like offering roast beef to a Dalmatian...uke is willing and eagerly follows on the sweep of defined energy in the described channel.
Aikido requires faith. Nage must believe in his ability as he defines the channel with this vibrant movement, strewing energy as he leads the way. Then nage follows uke as nage continues to lead. Nage must lead with no thought as to if uke will follow, and uke must trust that nage will lead.
It sounds crazy until you have felt it. To feel aikido one must take a leap of faith and move as nage with conviction and move as uke with abandon.
That abandon that uke develops is a sincere attack every time. Each uke deserves the best attack uke can give each time and then the best attention given to
Class on Thursday night was small, just 4 of us…all black belts. When it was my turn to teach something I saw during Ron's part of class made me think about extemporaneous movement which is how we teach together, building off an idea that the first person offers. We don't plan ahead. We just go with who shows up and with whatever state of health each person is in.
During freestyle I never think of what technique I am going to do. I know it's not like that for everyone but it is how I stay open and move with what is. I think it is the purist form of aikido…letting uke show you what way they want to go and guide them using their own energy.
So starting with a 2 hands on 2 hands grab I asked nage to do anything but not to decide on something -- just to do what seemed the easiest thing at the moment. After a few times through we all got more comfortable….then I asked us all to kote geishe from a standing 2 hands on 2 hands grab. I asked nage to not decide when to throw but to throw when the opportunity presented itself. It sounds really easy and yet from standing it was difficult. Nages did some strange things like: forgetting to do tenkan and backing up with small steps or grabbing with the hands instead of letting the hands lead. We kept at it and it got more comfortable but still was challenging.
Then Ron asked if we could do another round with uke grabbing nage the same way but with uke and nage both in motion. What a difference that made for all of us. The motion k