Friday, August 19, 2016

...when I was just a peanut


I started playing basketball and baseball really early. I had 5 older brothers….it was our culture….we ran, we hid, we threw balls and caught them or got hit in the face. One of the first things I remember my father telling me was “keep your eye on the ball” as he pitched a baseball.  I would shoot at the hoop on my brother Dickie’s 6 foot 4 shoulders when I was just a peanut. Movement is my spiritual practice.  If I am walking or riding my bike or playing mitt’s and sticks with Ron, you know I am happy.

So aikido was a natural for me. Not that I knew it when I started. I just thought Ron was a fine looking fella, to quote my mother.

For the 1st year I stumbled about not having a clue. Not one clue. I did not understand the whole concept of being uke. Why would anyone want to fall down?  I could not roll…not at all. It was very scary and pitiful. I used to hide at the end of the line but the guys would push me up and encourage me even though every roll and every fall hurt like hell. I cried after class a lot. Once after a particularly terrifying class I vowed never to come back. Ron saw me scurrying out and he called me over to explain it was only noise when the guys yelled as they attacked me. He said noise can’t hurt you and the guys would never hurt me anyway. I didn’t totally believe him but I really appreciated him taking the time to explain that to me. When I was a kid my father would yell at me and then hit me. I never knew there was a separation.  I really needed aikido training badly.


So I kept training 3 times a week. And here I am waiting for classes to start up again in September….every few days I do some rolls so I know I still remember how. I will be 59 years old next week and I can fly through the air and land in a nice round roll. I love that and I love the me that aikido has helped me find.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

brown belt enegry...gulp.

With so much brown belt energy around it seemed as if the dojo might explode like a teenager does when confronted by a parent: Hurdling accusations, running in fear, hiding in the woods, peeking out to see if it is safe to come out.

The dojo is not just a physical space. It is a combination of energies that synergize to hold us all when we are weak or strong, emotional, vulnerable, serene or hurting.

We can be ourselves here in this place of mutual respect where we learn to give and get. We can hold space and energy for people here and we can receive both when we are in need.

Our dojo is not for everyone. One must be very brave and have fortitude to stay when the very naked aspect of our true selves arrive.

The dojo can hold space for most of us. But it cannot fix issues that must be addressed in other ways.

We are what we are, which is strong, true and even magnificent. Aikido training can complement our path and it can enhance self-knowledge and self-defense.  And we are not the answer to all of life’s ills.