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Old 08-27-2011, 12:17 PM   #1
graham christian
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Neutralizing.

Neutralizing what the opponent is doing. In Aikido this is a term often used and connected to hara or earthing Ki etc. It is also described as moving in alignment with or harmonizing with. Various views and ways of putting it.

So here I shall give a view to introduce a perspective I haven't seen put much yet I believe to be true to the ways of O'Sensei.

Rather than to neutralize I believe he was merely being neutral. He was operating from neutrality, the spirit of neutral.

Now of course there is the spirit of loving protection etc. all part of the whole so where do I get this view from? Well I get it from the statements and practice of non-resistance. So to put active non-resistance into a terminology that can be better grasped as a starting point then I would say it is the spirit of neutral.

This removes us from the whole 'logical' duelistic framework of looking at things for you look at them from neutral. With non-resistance. The person attacking or holding expects resistance of some kind and yet if you give neutral Ki you are in fact giving non-resistance, untroubled by the 'illusion' of should do this or must do that but merely following its path. So what is it's path? It is the path of non-resistance, the lines that lead to techniques. The paths of non-resistance.

From neutral you can thus see through. Take someone giving you an angry comment or any other negative comment or emotion. Then through being neutral and looking from neutral you can see through that emotion rather than having to contest it and challenge it with an equally negative emotion. Now if you are neutral for real then the emotion wouldn't disturb you in the first place.

Thus this is a perspective on active neutrality the result of which may seem the same as what is described generally as neutralizing but is in itself totally different. Active neutrality just stays and moves as itself and cannot be affected by negative force thus the force having nothing to go against negates itself.

So I say from this view that the feelings experienced by those when using hara ie: compassion, love etc are also inherently non-resistive energies and thus follow thos natural fluid non-resistive paths of motion. They are active non-resistance or active neutrality which in turn shows you that neutrality is not a passive thing.

Thoughts....

Regards.G.
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Old 08-27-2011, 01:52 PM   #2
Hellis
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Re: Neutralizing.

I saw the title and I thought that has to be Graham !!!!
Do I get a prize ??

Henry Ellis
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http://aikidoellisvideo.magnify.net/
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:02 PM   #3
graham christian
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Re: Neutralizing.

Ha,ha. Brilliant response Henry. That was like a true sword cut. I laughed out loud.

Top prize from me. Hope all goes well for you.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:04 PM   #4
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Re: Neutralizing.

I agree. It can be used effectively in techniques or as a principle to overcome various peoples mood swings in your daily life. You touched upon something very important as neutrality, calmness and emptiness are true indicators as weather you can be non-aggressive.

But in order to obtain neutrality, one will have to be able to contain people and be non-judgemental of them. This is difficult but also the right way.

Last edited by Aikirk : 08-27-2011 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:19 PM   #5
Hellis
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Ha,ha. Brilliant response Henry. That was like a true sword cut. I laughed out loud.

Top prize from me. Hope all goes well for you.

Regards.G.
Graham

Whew !!!! I was pleased that the first prize was your `` good wishes `` I was worried it may be a set of your DVDs or a series of private lessons or a booby prize of a lecture - many thanks for the good wishes.

Henry Ellis
Aikido Ellis Video Channel
http://aikidoellisvideo.magnify.net/
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:49 PM   #6
graham christian
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Graham

Whew !!!! I was pleased that the first prize was your `` good wishes `` I was worried it may be a set of your DVDs or a series of private lessons or a booby prize of a lecture - many thanks for the good wishes.

Henry Ellis
Aikido Ellis Video Channel
http://aikidoellisvideo.magnify.net/
Come on, I wouldn't be so mean. But the thought of what would be a top prize for you....mmmmmm....now there's food for thought.

Lets see now, for services to Aikido over ***** years you are awarded.....nah, on second thoughts you'll only get big headed.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:55 PM   #7
graham christian
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Simon Kirk Sørensen wrote: View Post
I agree. It can be used effectively in techniques or as a principle to overcome various peoples mood swings in your daily life. You touched upon something very important as neutrality, calmness and emptiness are true indicators as weather you can be non-aggressive.

But in order to obtain neutrality, one will have to be able to contain people and be non-judgemental of them. This is difficult but also the right way.
Hi Simon.
Glad you liked it. Liked the non judgemental observation and that it can serve as guide. From observations like that we can enrich our understanding in Aikido and see the type of mind we should face an opponent with.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:17 PM   #8
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Re: Neutralizing.

Logic is only dualistic if you're doing it wrong.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:56 AM   #9
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Logic is only dualistic if you're doing it wrong.
Mary, I hope you don't mind, I think I am going to get that little gem printed onto a T shirt

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:11 AM   #10
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Neutralizing.

Graham,

To be and stay in a completely neutral state of mind, would to me indicate to refrain from any emotion. Nothing that is said or done can 'touch' you. You can then clearly respond in a manner you see fit.
But emotion is a big part of being human. Obvious solution is to (learn to) control your emotions, that much is clear. ALso the hardest part, I guess.
What is your view on this?

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:40 AM   #11
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Mary, I hope you don't mind, I think I am going to get that little gem printed onto a T shirt
Not in the least! It's wise to caution against dualism -- it's definitely a prevalent thought mode these days, to the point where I'd call it a learned reflex. But logic is a tool that is used to arrive at the truth, and while the truth is sometimes a single discrete thing, that's not dualism...that's just, ya know, the truth. Two plus two IS four; that's not dualistic thinking. And just as often, the truth that logic brings us to is, "Could be this, could be that, could be the other, could be possibilities as yet unimagined." If you believe that logic = dualism...you are indeed doing it wrong.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:09 AM   #12
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Graham,

To be and stay in a completely neutral state of mind, would to me indicate to refrain from any emotion. Nothing that is said or done can 'touch' you. You can then clearly respond in a manner you see fit.
But emotion is a big part of being human. Obvious solution is to (learn to) control your emotions, that much is clear. ALso the hardest part, I guess.
What is your view on this?
You must open yourself to others. Not only the ones you like, but even the people you despise. If you want to stay neutral you must be non judgemental, and this is to all. If you are not non judgemental to everyone (no exception), you are not neutral.

You must be able to control your own emotions be acccepting the emotions of others and being able to contain them, without being influenced by them.

This is very difficult while it is the same as removing fear in yourself. Fear is the emotion of nonacceptance. Contracting is fear, and the same thing which happens in your mind when you judge someone in your mind. You close the door and shut them out. It must stay open.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:27 AM   #13
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Simon Kirk Sørensen wrote: View Post
Contracting is fear, and the same thing which happens in your mind when you judge someone in your mind. You close the door and shut them out. It must stay open.
This is the hard part I believe. I have no fear responding to strikes with bokken, or whatever. Somehow this comes natural. I have a hard time not being judgemental to people that act stupidly, or disregard common normal behaviour.
One student once told me something that works well is to express surprise. Oh? does that really tick you off? Why? Sometimes this approach helps, but more than often my emotion beats me and I respond/react 'stupidly'....

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:18 AM   #14
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Neutralizing.

To be able to control your emotion and be unmoved/uninterested/unbothered nowadays is 'strength'. But humans have evolved emotions for a reason (quite complex system btw), so are we evolving backwards or in a circle? Or are some people to weak to handle the displayed emotions? In the same breath I hasten to add to understand the benefits of controlling your emotions in a confrontation

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:41 AM   #15
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Re: Neutralizing.

About neutrality, lack of emotions,control of emotions and so forth: in Buddhism, equanimity is one of the four limitless qualities, whose development provides one with the tools to become enlightened. So, equanimity = good thing. But it's important to remember that just because words have the same root, doesn't mean they have the same meaning. Equanimity is good...but equivocation is not, nor is creating false equivalences. The development of equanimity does not call on us to pretend that things are the same or that they have equal value, when in fact they do not. To use a rather stark (but not at all contrived) example: consider the case of a Holocaust survivor, who tells of what she experienced and what she witnessed. And then, you have a Holocaust denier, who claims that it never happened. The pursuit of equanimity does not require us to look at these two views and say there's nothing to choose between them, that they are equally valid and equally true -- that's just crazy talk. Instead, equanimity seeks to interrupt the strong tendency of human beings (partly learned, partly innate, definitely conditioned and brought to a high art in the typical example of the species) to reflexively size situations up and assign them as quickly as possible to categories with dualistic labels: good or bad, with me or against me, I-approve or I-don't-approve. The pursuit of equanimity calls on us to pause and see what is as fully as we can before we try to draw conclusions from it -- and also, to not make these conclusions final, to be aware that the situation will change and our conclusions will need to be revisited in light of that. It does not call on us to blind ourselves to reality in the name of some hypothetical, wished-for equilibrium. Doing so would have the opposite effect of why you pursue the four limitless ones in the first place.

Similarly, emotions are not bad or to be avoided. What we want to avoid is the fueling of emotions so as to give them unnatural life, so to speak. I'm sure we all know the difference between feeling a momentary irritation at being cut off in traffic, and fuming about it for the next ten miles. And, if you think about it, we also know the difference between authentic irritation or anger or resentment, and the manufactured variety: the former happens when someone cuts you off in traffic and makes you slam on the breaks, the latter happens when someone switches to the lane in front of you without actually impeding you (but they're IN MY LANE!). Paring away the manufactured, destructive, self-fueled emotional excess is actually very simple (which is not to say it's always easy): you recognize the poison, you recognize that you're the one fueling the fire at this point, you simply stop fueling it and watch it evaporate. What you're left with is something much closer to the truth. Simply saying "Anger is bad" takes you further from the truth, not closer to it.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:38 AM   #16
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Re: Neutralizing.

I really enjoyed that, Mary! Thank you.

Hi Graham,
Quote:
So I say from this view that the feelings experienced by those when using hara ie: compassion, love etc are also inherently non-resistive energies and thus follow thos natural fluid non-resistive paths of motion. They are active non-resistance or active neutrality which in turn shows you that neutrality is not a passive thing.
I really like this part! I have very nearly always found that when I operate with genuine care for people, working with them ( ), I am far more successful. To my mind it's very practical and I get the sense that I'm paying more attention since I'm paying attention to more of the whole. In some cases, it seems as if a whole new set of options presents itself.
Sometimes I get the sense that if people would simply try to get along, the goal itself could make it happen. One of the most important things I learned from my experience with depression was the idea that happiness/pleasure/emotion in general operates within the realm of choice. Like everything pertaining to the body, it's a matter of conditioning the self.
Whatever you're doing at any given time, you're reinforcing an effect upon the body. People often talk about training constantly as if it's something you can choose to do. I would argue we're always training, it's just that some folks realize this more than others. This is why Aikido, I believe, can be described authentically as a way of life: it addresses this idea of self-improvement through continuous training.
...Not to say everyone needs to one-stop shop at the Aikido store, just that for those who do, I think it makes perfect sense.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:30 PM   #17
graham christian
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Graham,

To be and stay in a completely neutral state of mind, would to me indicate to refrain from any emotion. Nothing that is said or done can 'touch' you. You can then clearly respond in a manner you see fit.
But emotion is a big part of being human. Obvious solution is to (learn to) control your emotions, that much is clear. ALso the hardest part, I guess.
What is your view on this?
Hi Tim.
I get your point and how you relate it to emotions. However I don't have it as that myself.

For me it is maintaining a state of being, a responsibility if you like. Following the lines of non-disturbance, non-control and non-opposition. Against nothing. You could even equate it with purpose.

The purpose to be and do in accordance with selfless spirit.

Emotions on the other hand tend to lead us and we think they are our master. I see them as all versions of love, all part of our true nature. They should compliment, join and assist the neutral state.

So here's the difference according to me. Our true nature is thus loving emotions including unconditional love, compassion, kindness, empathy etc. As we spiritually lose our true selves we thus develope negative emotions, un-natural (though called normal) and negative in their expression even destructive, antipathetic to you as your true self.

None of us like negative emotions in truth, be they anger, hostility, hopelessness, et al. These by the way include Apathy, the emotion of 'given up completely'

Neutral, active neutrality, non-resistance given to these emotions even in ourselves can shift the emotions and thus allow positive ones in. To me another discipline extant in the practice of Aikido.

So in my explanation I am saying the effort to control, get rid of, fight, even emotions you don't like or want is resistance and thus gives them more power. Thus we suffer by our own resistance and then as usual blame. In this case we blame the emotion and excuse ourselves saying I did it because I was angry etc. When you non-resist anothers negative emotions hands on then their emotion has nothing to fix on, to attack, to upset. Thus it dissipates and thus you help the other as well as self.

Non-active or passive neutrality now that I would say is not actually neutrality but more some kind of low emotion, a don't care attitude, a dark or cold state of being. As I said earlier an apathetic emotion.

Hope that answers without being too confusing.

Such is my view. G.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:36 PM   #18
graham christian
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I really enjoyed that, Mary! Thank you.

Hi Graham,

I really like this part! I have very nearly always found that when I operate with genuine care for people, working with them ( ), I am far more successful. To my mind it's very practical and I get the sense that I'm paying more attention since I'm paying attention to more of the whole. In some cases, it seems as if a whole new set of options presents itself.
Sometimes I get the sense that if people would simply try to get along, the goal itself could make it happen. One of the most important things I learned from my experience with depression was the idea that happiness/pleasure/emotion in general operates within the realm of choice. Like everything pertaining to the body, it's a matter of conditioning the self.
Whatever you're doing at any given time, you're reinforcing an effect upon the body. People often talk about training constantly as if it's something you can choose to do. I would argue we're always training, it's just that some folks realize this more than others. This is why Aikido, I believe, can be described authentically as a way of life: it addresses this idea of self-improvement through continuous training.
...Not to say everyone needs to one-stop shop at the Aikido store, just that for those who do, I think it makes perfect sense.
Glad you liked it Matthew.
It's a thing for me I practice every day also in all situations, work or where ever. Of course just as you're doing great with it the universe has an unerring way of presenting you with something or someone to throw you out of kilter but such is the way to learn our next lesson.

I agree with all you say above, thank you.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:55 AM   #19
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Neutralizing.

Thanks Graham.

While being in that apathic state of mind, emotions can no longer control/affect you which allows you to have good judgement on a given situation and respond accordingly. Thing is, when you practise this it ultimately changes you as a person. How would this affect you normal daily life? Would others on some day say that you have no emotion, they have no clue how you really feel?
Or would this state always be something you can enter and leave at will (which I think btw)?

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:53 AM   #20
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Re: Neutralizing.

Ok, back up this train. I am confused. So Graham is defining this new term, "active non-resistence." Fine. And in defining this term, he claims that active non-resistence is a neutral perspective. Then we get a couple more of his posts and he then says that we need to remove negative emotions:

Quote:
So in my explanation I am saying the effort to control, get rid of, fight, even emotions you don't like or want is resistance and thus gives them more power. Thus we suffer by our own resistance and then as usual blame. In this case we blame the emotion and excuse ourselves saying I did it because I was angry etc. When you non-resist anothers negative emotions hands on then their emotion has nothing to fix on, to attack, to upset. Thus it dissipates and thus you help the other as well as self.

Non-active or passive neutrality now that I would say is not actually neutrality but more some kind of low emotion, a don't care attitude, a dark or cold state of being. As I said earlier an apathetic emotion.
So how can this attitude actually be neutral state of mind? Aren't we now creating a positive state of mind? That's fine if that is what you are saying, but it is not neutral.
IF we remove from our emotive state some list of subjectively identified emotions, how that create a neutral state of mind? It cannot.

What about all of the good intentions that are paving the way to hell? What about the blame that we were only trying to help? What about all of the poor decisions that result from good feelings? Your argument is decidedly one-sided and closed, contrary to the very premise of your advocation.

How can we express compassion or empathy for others if we only experience positive emotions? How can we be motivated to justice if we do not experience outrage? How can we understand joy if we have not felt sadness?

This is ying and yang. Our emotions are designed to help us act. Some emotions are not enjoyable feelings, that does not make them negative or bad. Some emotions may be foundational for poor decisions, that does not make them bad.

Advocate moderation of emotions. Advocate an open perspective. Advocate a stillness of the mind. Whatever. But I echo mary's post, you need to figure out what you are saying.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:25 AM   #21
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Neutralizing.

It seems he talks about some sort of disconnect from the emotion you may have, either positive or negative. Just accept that emotion but do not fuel it and let it control you. In a sense be apathic to your own emotion(s). That is why I posted my question: it seems unnatural to human nature.
On the other hand I have experienced that when highly concentrated somehow emtion seems to disappear, only when that concentration is broken emotion returns. But I am not at all sure that is the same.
Hope this makes sense...

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:39 AM   #22
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Re: Neutralizing.

Another thought: denial does not create reality. Denying your emotions, saying that they just don't exist or you won't let yourself feel them, doesn't translate into reality. Repressed anger or fear or resentment is still there, it still has power, and it still causes you to act out in ways that you may not even be aware of -- particularly if you are in denial that you have these emotions.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:13 AM   #23
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Another thought: denial does not create reality. Denying your emotions, saying that they just don't exist or you won't let yourself feel them, doesn't translate into reality. Repressed anger or fear or resentment is still there, it still has power, and it still causes you to act out in ways that you may not even be aware of -- particularly if you are in denial that you have these emotions.
Bingo.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:41 PM   #24
graham christian
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Thanks Graham.

While being in that apathic state of mind, emotions can no longer control/affect you which allows you to have good judgement on a given situation and respond accordingly. Thing is, when you practise this it ultimately changes you as a person. How would this affect you normal daily life? Would others on some day say that you have no emotion, they have no clue how you really feel?
Or would this state always be something you can enter and leave at will (which I think btw)?
Hi Tim.
I do not mean an apathetic state of mind. Apathy to me is a very low, down emotion. Neutrality is far from inert, it is alive and vibrant.

I've mentioned non-control etc but now I will add that it is also part of concentration.

When studying you are concentrating, free of negative emotion. In fact if negative emotion comes along then you can't study properly can you. You know why? Negative does or attempts to do something and that is negate. Thus it negates your efforts.

If you are non-resisting it cannot get in the way, this is the power of neutral.

When you study and especially when you practice the sword the state of mind you are after is neutral also. It's not a predictive state of mind. Yet it is very alive and yet immovable,

Remember also that I said by using this state of mind you 'neutralize' negative emotions and at the same time this allows positive emotions in. So when you're good enough you can concentrate fully and at the same time have fun, experience joy, view with compassion. All interdependant, natural.

Now to confuse you (or not) even more I will say to you I can personally equate it also with center line. When facing a sword I am merely a center line. Thus there is no rush, no defending my body for all I protect is center line. I protect my non-resistance, my neutrality.

Respectfully. G.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:02 PM   #25
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Re: Neutralizing.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
When facing a sword I am merely a center line. Thus there is no rush, no defending my body for all I protect is center line. I protect my non-resistance, my neutrality.

Respectfully. G.
Graham

Have you actually faced a live blade ?
My son Rik has - when a guy burst in on a party he was at. there was wall to wall poop until Rik disarmed the nutter without injury to himself or anyone else.

Henry Ellis
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http://rik-ellis.blogspot.com/
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