Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo
An unexpected lesson in ki this week completely changed my perspective on a little social crisis that had erupted in my life. I had the extraordinary pleasure of visiting Elkton Ki Aikido this weekend. The Sensei, Brian Kelley, knew that I was from a dojo that de-emphasizes ki and ki development to a large degree. He graciously decided to devote most of the class to ki training and testing. One of the topics he discussed was where to place your awareness when blending with a katate tori. If I focused my awareness only on the point of contact with uke, then blending while completely relaxed was very difficult. If my mind was allowed to be anywhere but the contact point, then movement became more fluid and effortless. Yes, uke had my wrist, but with my mind everywhere but there I could move in so many other directions and do so many other things it didn't matter.
Amazing what a different perspective can do to something as simple and elementary as blending. Entering another dojo with an empty cup can be such a wonderful thing. I often leave with something valuable that I didn't even know I was missing!
But back to our story...a person in my circle of friends is one of those people who feels that the only way to make herself look good is to make others look bad. She managed to trap myself and another friend of mine in one of her games over the past few weeks. Since I highly value the good opinion of my friends, I was really distraught over the situation and was letting it dominate my mind at the expense of many other things more worthy of my attention.
Then I thought of the blending lesson with Kelley Sensei this weekend. When I allowed my mind to be anywhere but on that situation, I didn't feel trapped anymore. I was able to look at the trap from a more objective viewpoint, and decide on the best technique to remove myself from it. In the end, I was able to appear to give in to her way while gently exiting from the situation entirely.
Perhaps there will be some in the group who will think that I was afraid to confront her. Indeed, I had enough information that I could have taken to the rest of the group to both exonerate myself and to do some serious damage to her as well. But I feel better about myself for not meeting aggression with aggression, and leaving with my own personal opinion of myself in good standing. Hopefully the rest will soon see her for what she is, or even better she will realize that she doesn't need to destroy in order to shine. In the meantime, however, I can relax comfortably out of her reach. Maybe I'll go back and re-read Dobson Sensei's book - his wisdom might help me keep from getting in those situations in the first place!