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Old 04-21-2008, 06:05 PM   #8
Sharon Seymour
Dojo: AikidoKIDS! & Katsujinken Dojo, Prescott Arizona
Location: Arizona
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 57
Re: Soft Power, A Magnetic Approach to Practice

How interesting to read folks' varying responses to this article! I was struck by "The key is to be able to focus more attention on the feeling and form of your movement than the speed and power of the attacker." For me, this idea presents the very powerful martial strategy of responding from your own frame of reference. To be drawn into your attacker's frame of reference is to allow the attacker to dictate your options and have the initiative in the interaction. Only by waiting until the attack is committed can I find the optimal response - if I am tied up trying to anticipate my opponent's decision, I'm already stuck and will probably be too slow in my response.

The idea of "enjoy[ing] the sensation of your own movement" is certainly a challenging one. The primary definition of "enjoy" is "to receive pleasure from;" a secondary definition is "to have the use of" or "benefit from."* This seems to reinforce the idea of staying in your own space and inviting the attack in to your center of power. I don't want to buy in to aggression. If someone chooses that mode of expression, it is their option, and I can choose to stay in my space or mindset and meet them there. The learning curve for truly receiving attacks has been very long for me. The reaction of slamming the door to protect my space is deeply rooted. Consider the idea that "irimi" doesn't mean barging in to your opponent's space, but rather, entering into relationship with them on your own terms.

Many thanks to Palmer Sensei for contributing this excellent essay, and to the respondents who have opened up new ways of viewing it.

*(American Heritage College Dictionary)

There is more to balance than not falling over.
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