Aikido enters into you, if you open up to it.
Immerse yourself and become enfolded within it. Let it take you in.
Stop a moment. Take in a lover's breath. Let your lungs suffuse with the air. No yoga technique, no special rhythm, just breathe until you can feel the oxygen mating with the inner lining of your lungs.
Your heart quickens, and warms. Your chest relaxes and the warmth becomes radiant. Like honey-dew, like light, life dwells in the womb of your chest. Never mind your gender... when you feel this, you will smile a mother's smile.
Aikido is one of my lovers. it is all of my lovers. It masquerades as budo, because it must. Life and death, in every heartbeat, every breath cycle, the opening and closing of the eyes, the push and pull of the tides, the in and out of each day. It's there in the wound of your sorrow, and it's the antigravity of all your memories uplifting.
Call it aikido, call it budo, call it life.
I call it love, but secretly I think it's something better than love. It starts as a feeling, perhaps. The surface of your skin in intimate contact with the universe. Can you feel it? Can you feel every place along the contours of your body where the universe meets it? Can you feel how it fits you better than the best tailored clothes?
The feeling ripens, swells, oozes like sap, and builds toward bursting, until action manifests, until you can't help but do something to share it. Let me whisper into your ear, let me remind you of the power of lip and tongue and the warmth of air, and the complex dancing rhythm of the hidden drum inside your ear, at the end of a sacred canal.
Let me direct your attention to light, to color, to shadow and form. The world is on electromagnetic fire, and the totality of what you see is unimaginably vast. Landscapes, suns, and galaxies, they all burn like angels and seraphim on the pinhead of your retina. And look (let that pupil dilate!), it comes through the cleft and flows down yet another another tunnel. Spark and catch, your quivering nerves, your lightening brain, echoes and waves and thunder, because of this connection, because of the cool conflagration between radiant bodies.
There it is. Aikido is everywhere at the interface. It is the intercourse of anything. Of everything. It is the atomic and molecular lust to join with each other, to create new forms. It is the amino urge to combine and replicate so many times that a standing wave, a cell emerges. It is the frantic sine of flagella, driving toward light, where more cells also go. It is the hunger to consume and the release of being consumed. It is the meeting, mating, matching, joining, organizing principle of tissue, organs, organism, beings, couplings, family, tribe, trade, city, nation, ecosystem... all teleological but recursively intersecting at all levels, all ways, always.
It is the ecstatic rage against agents of death. It is the fierce mother's defense and the alpha impulse to stand between predator and future. It is that holy jewel, the sword in the scabbard, but also the sword in the body of that which takes away life. The sword of aiki is the sword that cleaves.
Aikido is that which joins. But never so easily pinned, aikido is also in every release. Minerals may grow by accretion, but all life grows by division. Multiplication and division conjoined, be fruitful and divide. It is the fruit falling from the tree, and the seed spilling onto the tufted ground. It is the ejaculation of the man, but with the same cry the mother gives birth, with the same sounding the infant enters the world, cleaving it again in the eternal reverberant continuum. And each time is for the very first time. It is the bursting pod, the broken egg, and the hollow space inside the sloughed off skin.
Is there anything that aikido is not? Oh yes, but aikido is also in its own absence. Aikido is not disease. It is not injustice. It is not murder, nor even the destruction visited by breaking tectonics, of winds turned hard by the mathematics of velocity. There are things infinite which are not aikido, but lo, aikido is there where these things are. Aikido is wherever there is healing, repair, recovery, and renewal.
Try to limit it if it suits you. It doesn't care. Study it, and call the study of it aikido. It's more than that. Practice it, and call your practice aikido. It's more than that. Look for it in the rigid boxes of your technical forms, and of course you'll find it. But you'll miss it even more.
Aikido is joyously indifferent to your coming and going. And yet it is wholly dependent on you to carry it, to birth it, to raise and develop it, to transmit it to others and impregnate them with your own genetic contribution to the infinite line. For you are the root and the branch of aikido.
So free yourself. Free yourself from love. Free yourself from lovers. Be free of that lust which is the surest sign of life and awareness. Be free even of this forbidden eroticism which should not be mentioned in polite company. Be free of the passion which, above all else, sets you free.
Seek it, knowing it's already coming inside you. Merge with it, knowing it will seize you anyway. Secure this thing which nothing can hold, which no ground can support. Release and return, release and return.
Would you rather I just taught you ikkyo, kotegaeshi? Read again... I have written about no other thing. Come alive to the lovers' dance, force no moment, fit parts together with the lightest caress or the most desperate embrace, let it flow into you and from you. Take partners and join with them, and let the joining rock you in its rhythm. The synergy of the system comes without effort, it exists between you and surrounds you. Shall I say it's like sex?
It's not like sex. It is sex. I can only say this once a year. Are you embarrassed about the very thing that brought you here? Then take my hand, lover, take my wrist. Or take anyone's hand, it doesn't matter whom. Open your mind, open your heart, open your arms. It's not me that will teach, nor anyone else. The thing itself will show you the truth behind my words.
Yield, I say. Surrender. Here comes Grace, here comes Joy. Take them both, and see where they take you.
Do what the gods do, and create the world anew.
Still Point Aikido Systems
Founder, Honmatsu Aikido
Born into aikido on Valentine's Day, 1979
Ross Robertson lives and teaches aikido in Austin, Texas.