Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the
world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to
over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a
wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history,
humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.
If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced
features available, you will need to register first. Registration is
absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!
I've been applying Aikido off the mat lately, in a big way. Feeling what's actually happening, instead of imposing my interpretations or expectations. Blending with circumstances instead of fighting them. Seeing things from others' points of view - and seeing others as cooperative partners, not in opposition. Keeping my center and integrity, speaking clearly and directly. Finding a resolution that leaves everyone in a better place. I'd be kind of impressed with myself for being so clever, except that it's simply an effect of my Aikido training that I can't not-do these things. Oh, I did plenty of resisting and fumbling around first, but ultimately the Aikido came through.
I'll start with right now. So far this weekend has been absolutely wonderful. I am starting to decompress and breathe lately, and am getting caught up a little at a time.
Yesterday (Friday) afternoon I got checked for new glasses, which I need for an upcoming trip; my eyes aren't happy about contacts lately. Then I had a couple of hours before going to dinner with family visiting from out of town, so I was able to putter in the yard, watering the native plants I put in months ago. Dinner was relaxed, and we all sat and talked and enjoyed each others' company. Afterward, Michael and I went for a walk along the beach boardwalk at Coronado. Before bed I did some planning for upcoming projects I'm excited about getting started.
This morning I did a bit of writing on an idea that came to me while drivin
Every few months Sensei offers "Aikido In Focus" workshops. These are a series of "concise topical training clinics for accelerating both your Aikido and personal development." They are usually about 2 hours long, on a Sunday morning. I've participated in every one since I started training, and they've been a huge contribution to my growth.
I have enjoyed them all, and have gotten immediate, useful feedback that has helped me improve my technique, or made me more aware of some aspect of Aikido I can be working with in daily training. But that's not why I go, and that's the least of the benefit.
Each one creates another small crack that lets new light in. It always takes me a while to figure out what that new light is revealing, but I know right away that it's there. This time I've been sitting with it for almost a year, and I'm only just starting to make out the forms and patterns I'm seeing.
Back in May of last year (wow… has it really been that long?), in one of these workshops, we danced with the energy, exploring the elements in our Aikido, joining with the rhythm of the music. Getting out of our minds and letting emotion and body find expression through this different way of accessing what we already knew.
But the thing that mattered, the thing that stuck with me, and the thing that's been gnawing at me since that day, was one split second at the very beginning. Sensei was introducing us to what the workshop would involve, and what we were there to explore. ...More
It's funny how we have to keep learning the same thing over, and over, and over, and over again. An old lesson looks unfamiliar in a new situation. Principles that are old friends in one context seem strange when seen in a different light.
The lesson? Stop resisting. Stop denying. Stop wishing. Notice. Feel. Become aware of the actual direction of the energy. Not your story about it. Not how it was supposed to be. Not how you meant to have it work out.
Notice what's actually happening. Blend with that. Align with that. Move into that. Use that. Act from that.
Being in harmony with the reality of the circumstances is the only place you have any power. You can't act from resistance, denial, and wishing. Effective action is only possible from awareness and acceptance. Not resignation, acceptance.
This is what's so. Stop dragging your feet, and move.
Someone on Facebook recently asked what your sensei says regularly that sticks in your mind & helps inform your Aikido or other Martial Arts practice mentally, physically, or spiritually?
I actually misinterpreted the question as asking about things Sensei says about Aikido that inform my life outside the dojo. Off-the-mat Aikido. Here are the things (not his actual words, of course) that came to mind, plus a few more, that stick with me:
Constant reminders to settle, check our own posture and alignment. Be in integrity with ourselves.
Attend to doing what we are doing as well as we can, not to trying to make it affect our partner.
Notice where we are, and where we are going. Being aware of these things is what allows opportunities for positive transitions to arise.
Keep our eyes up and see the big picture. Don't focus attention on the attack.
Work with others at their level. Help them be safe, and don't pile on information or levels of detail or finesse they are not yet able to understand.
It's not about having a soft or a hard style. It's about being appropriate to the situation.
If you operate at the mind-based level of planning each action based on if-then decisions leading to codified responses, you won't experience freedom in your actions, and you will always be limited in what you can achieve.
And one that I heard for the first time in tonight's class, that seems to fit here: If your attacker wants to retreat, build them a golden bridge on which to ge