I spent this past weekend in a Systema Punching seminar taught by Kaizen Taki from Seattle, Washington. It was a remarkably powerful seminar for me and reminded me of the importance of using our training for self-betterment. This process was brought to light by helping us to get in touch with our fears as they manifest themselves in our body. One of the important aspects of our training is to learn how not to be governed by fears that might manifest themselves in our thoughts, feelings, or body tensions. These fears prevent us from being able to cleanly use our own energy, perceive and connect with other people’s energy and use to connection between us in an efficient and effective manner.
For many of us, we first become aware of our fears in Aikido when it is time for us to go to the ground. Some people have a very difficult time teaching their bodies to experience actions and reactions that allow them to connect with the ground in a soft manner that feels both comfortable and protecting. It is important to allow these people to actually get comfortable rolling and moving on the ground. For them, teaching them to roll from the ground up is helpful.
For other people, different levels and types of physical contact evoke fear responses in our bodies. This is typically revealed through excess tension or out-of-balance flight responses. Unless a person is able to work through these fear responses, successful execution of techniques become difficult at best. I find that having students not hit the “reset button” when the a technique is failing is an important way of developing some understanding of what is happening inside of us that is causing problems. These problems typically emerge from some fear-based issues. Developing proper body movements help us to overcome these “hard-wired” responses that occur before we are even consciously aware of them.
I would like us to spend this week focusing in on what we do in practice that results in our experiencing fear-based responses. I would them like us to open up a dialogue, both through talk and body work to help our bodies experiencing some alternative response sets that can help our bodies learn to work through body-based, fear responses.
Marc Abrams Sensei
(Original blog post may be found here