Aikido is going back to what we knew when we were born before social niceties bred it out of us. When children don’t want to be around Grandpa or don’t want to kissed by Auntie Lou that should be respected. It could be that Auntie smells bad or it could be that she is really mean and untrustworthy. Or it could be that the child just doesn't want to be hugged by that person on that day.
This Christmas I got to see Aikido at its finest being practiced by my grandson, Tony, age 5, who has been on our mat a bit only to twirl and run and laugh.
First, let me tell that Tony is not shy. When he was 3 he would walk up to anyone and say, “Hi, friend.” And he is sometimes not friendly. He has hit other kids when bothered too much and also knows how to use his words to take care of himself.
Tony and family were getting ready to exit after our Christmas gathering. He was giving hugs and kisses to everyone. He came up to my daughter Emily’s boyfriend Jay who he does not know every well. Tony was going in for the hug and then realized he was not comfortable with that. You could see the momentary hesitation on his face and in his body language. So Tony gives a huge smile and enters towards Jay and says, “High five.” They slapped out and all was well. It was so graceful; Aikido in action with not one bit of training.
Tony’s action was totally cool with everyone. Nobody said, “Oh Tony, give Jay a big hug.” Tony’s response was accepted as normal. What a long way my family has come. Good for us!