Monday, October 1, 2012

uke and nage speak different dialects of the same language

When uke and nage speak different dialects of the same language can communication and deep listening still be accomplished?

This summer we have had a few visitors and a couple of new students. We had a young man who a brown belt in Karate come to a few classes. He was so busy in his head I don’t think he heard or saw anything new. He kept talking and explaining and apologizing. We both are fluent in English yet little communication has occurred. I heard him yet he can’t hear me. He hasn't been back.

Another youngish man has been training regularly since the beginning of the summer. He is very quiet and good humored. He had trained for a few months in an aiki jujitsu style, so he knows how to fall and is very open to rolling. His native language is Spanish so our communication is technique and ukemi and body movements with a little language. I feel like I can hear him and he hears me through aikido.

We had a visitor from Japan from very traditional dojo who was in his 50’s yet appeared much younger, he was so fit and trim. We had a great time training with him. He came to 3 classes and was very teachable and open. We were able to communicate with him mostly through aikido since we speak no Japanese. His English was wonderful but I could understand his Aikido better.

Last week we had another visitor from Eastern Massachusetts. She is from an Aikikai dojo. I look forward to seeing how communication occurs between us.

On another note, I just realized that communication with a long time student has ceased for me because I stopped listening intently and made assumptions based on past interactions. Aikido is so challenging. Even as I feel a bit discouraged over falling short again I am buoyed by the opportunity of becoming a better student and teacher each class.


  1. Thank you Mary for your reflective post, the karate man couldn't understand you, because he came with a full head, forgot to empty it before entering in the tatami. We should never forget in all the years we train to remain with a beginners mind, we can always learn something from anybody.

  2. I love to learn. I just realized that i never check back for comments. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  3. Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work. aikido dojo