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Old 08-18-2005, 09:03 AM   #54
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,568
Re: Aikido's individuality

Bruce Baker wrote:

The art of riding the wave.

That would also include learning how to make the wave, as well as ride it.

If you have ever wiped out and ridden a wave in the ocean, or been thrown into a river to fight the current and rough water, then the concept of riding the wave does have some meaning. If not ... you will when your ukemi gets good enough to feel where the energy is going instead of trying to anticipate movements.
Thank you Bruce.
This is excellent imagery to work with in aikido practice.
I think for reasons you will see below, that I have been doing this implicitly for quite some time now, although I had not connected them. Analogy and metaphor are wonderful tools.

This prompted me to remember something that I wrote a number of years back as an exercise in the priniciple that all activities in life can teach great truths. This can be done for almost any activity no matter how mundane. Those who are aware of the teaching of Chado, the significance of tea ceremony and its relationship to martial arts will understand what I am getting at.

The activity I was doing at the time was surfing, which relates to the excellent observation Bruce has made. Rather than surfer psychobabble ("be the wave, man"), I decided that each practical thing learnt in good surfing could likely teach a lesson about almost anything else you could imagine, and put the things I had learned in a simple list .

I think the list can be taken with Bruce's imagery to good effect in training and in thinking about how to practice and teach aikido. If you find it helpful, you may use it with due credit.

So without further ado:

"Surfing is Life"

1. You do not create the waves.

2. You are not in control of the waves.

3. You can only control your relationship to the wave.

4. You can only surf one wave at a time.

5. You can't surf every wave.

6. Waves cannot be resisted without getting hurt.

7. A wave will not wait for you to get ready.

8. There are only four ways out of the break: over it, under it, around it, or with it.

9. Sometimes, no matter what, you just get caught inside the break.

10. If you are caught inside, every breath you get is a gift.

11. Every wave has something to teach you, whether you ride it or not.

12. To ride far, let the wave lead.

13. The best ride is the one you are not expecting.

14. All waves are the same shape.

15. Each wave is unique.

16. Waves won't keep.

17. Waves cannot be predicted.

18. Favorable wave conditions can be anticipated.

19. Waves, even small ones, are more powerful than you are.

20. Some waves can't be surfed by anyone.

21. Many waves can't be surfed by you.

22. The next ride is always different from the last one.

23. Waves have sets and lulls.

24. Sometimes it's totally flat; and sometimes you get no lulls between sets.

25. Company is nice in a lull, but ultimately it's just you and the wave.

26. A wave is not a place for crowds; that's what beaches are for.

27. People who like crowds tend to stay on the beach.

28. Sharks like waves too.

29. Sharks can surf without stopping to eat or sleep.

30. You have to stop surfing to eat and sleep.

31. You are smarter than a shark.

32. Wind shapes the wave, at its beginning and at its break.

33. The shore shapes the wave, but in the end it's the waves that shape the shore.

34. Every wave ends up on the beach.

35. When this wave ends, the only choices are the next wave or the beach.

36. If you want the next wave, you have to let go of the one you're on.

37. The best wave is the next one.

Erick Mead
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