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Aikido is a way for me to view the world thru different eyes. It allows me see from a vantage point of integration as opposed to the differentiated view I have of the world when I lose one point and the larger "me" is subsumed by the unitary "me".
When practicing with a partner I am able to experience him/her without the clutter of words that often serve to obfuscate who we really are. When practicing we lay ourselves open to inspection in ways both transparent and honest. Our motion and our interaction are like a chess game where the pieces are always on the board and nothing of the moment is hidden.
There is no light quite like October light. It has a quality that rounds off corners and smoothes ragged edges in a ways that soften the world, blending seemingly discordant shapes into a seamless whole. October light eases the passing from summer to winter and stores the promise of spring as a remembrance of the endless cycle of the passing of the seasons.
Aikido has much in common with October light. Aikido softens the edges of uke's and nage's relative motion. It bends linear movement into graceful arcs that lead the eye rather than shock it. Via Aikido, discordance gives rise to harmony as isolation yields to integration and the participants move from plurality to singularity.
It's November now, the beginning of the brown months. October's light has gone to sleep for another year; but like the legendary Phoenix, it'll be back, rising from the ashes of a spent summer. Until then, I have my Aikido to carry me along and remind me of the splendor of its illumination.
High summer is the best time to practice. The dojo is hot, fans move the air, but hot moving air is still… well, hot. The heat loosens my body, eases the winter ache in my joints and energizes my desire to practice. It's as though the warmth expands my body reducing the friction that winter's contracting cold brings on.
Already the air here whispers of the New England winter waiting just over the horizon. Ice on the windows of the cars in the morning, gardens gone to yellowed leaves, trees moving swiftly from fall colors to leafless brown all speak of the approach of another long winter season. Even with the heating unit, the dojo is chilly in the winter; usually getting comfortably warm right about the time class is about to end.
In summer my practice turns outward; winter inward. Winter is a time of reflection, a time to assess, to plan, to accumulate. A little less ukemi than when the air is hot and moist, to be sure; but less is not none and at my age any at all is to be thankful for.