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Home > Columns > > September, 2006 - Jiyu-Waza
by Lynn Seiser

Jiyu-Waza by Lynn Seiser


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A lot has been going on in my life. Okay, so that is not unusual. My life often borders on overload. Very little of it seems to be what I expect it to be or even under my control. Life is like that most of the time, at least mine is.

I started to wonder why I was not more stressed or upset. Usually something like a major cross-country relocation can truly wreck havoc on one's life. So perhaps more importantly that "why" was the "how"? I seem more relaxed and accepting this time. What has changed? The world has not, that is for sure. Therefore, I must have.

I often think of my Aikido training and how, if I let it, it can change my everyday mind and the way I face things in my everyday life. So, was my current life situation anything like anything we do in Aikido? The answer was, of course, yes.

Jiyu-waza usually means the freestyle training exercises. Jiyu-waza asks, invites, and accepts any approach or attack from a single or multiple opponents or training partners. Anything goes, and usually does. Jiyu-waza also requires one to respond spontaneously, without much or any thought due to prior training and conditioning. Jiyu-waza is a physical exercise and mental training in trust and choice. Trust that others will the make choices they believe are in their own best interest. Trust that you make choices in your best interest and in response to the choices others make.

Enter and blend with the unexpected. Since nothing is rearranged or choreographed, there are no expectations about what the attacker will do. They can punch, kick, or grab. They can come from the front, side, or rear. They can even gang up on you and attack simultaneously instead of sequentially. I would say that is a lot like life is. It is very unpredictable. While we all search for stability and security in things not changing, things always seem to, and not always in the ways you expect or want. The usual response is to resist the unexpected. Guess we all want the world to be the way we want it to be. Empty the mind of expectations and accept, enter and blending, with what is. Someone once said that suffering was the unwillingness to accept what is. What is maybe that someone may punch, kick, or grab They may say no, ask for something or give something, be angry or sad, or pay back a debt or ask us to pay back one we owe. They may post a response to your well meaning offering in this forum with something that appears to you off topic, tangential, inconsequential, insulting, ignorant, or absolutely brilliant. You never can tell, can you? Life is that way, a lot like Jiyu-waza.

Enter and blend with the opportunities. I once heard that when the window of opportunity open in life, most of us are so busy watching television that we do not even know it. The windows open but we must choose to get up, walk across the room and jump through it. Opportunities are there if we say open and aware of them. Keep blending until the technique presents itself. I also heard that the kanji for crisis and opportunity were the same. Crisis usually means things are not going the way I expect or want them too. Sounds like an opportunity to go beyond my routine to me. So rather than respond with the usual fear based responses of fight, flight, or freeze, perhaps here is an opportunity to enter and blend with the situation and "let" a response happen rather than force it or "make" it. You always choose your response, prior training, or lack of it, makes most spontaneous responses a prior choice. You may choose or "let" your response be shiho-nage or kote-gaeshi, throw or lock, or evade or enter, engage, and blend. You may choose to be happy or sad, or to be a success or failure. You may choose to participate in these forums by adding or subtracting from the quality of the discussions and conversations, or by taking them (and yourself) far too serious and personal. Life is that way, a lot like Jiyu-waza.

Choose to be victorious over yourself rather than others. Choose to take charge rather than be controlled. Choose a goal that is in the best mutual interest of all parties involved. Remember, we all win or we all lose. Choose an action plan, path, and goal that you will always be proud of. While we cannot choose what others or life gives us, we can choose how we respond. (BTW, I am choosing to let myself enjoy my relocation.) Life is that way, a lot like Jiyu-waza.

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!


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