Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ukes gonna uke.




Should other people do what we want them to do? Why should they? Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.

Should past performance indicate how a person should act and feel in the future? Are we responsible for our own behavior?

Aikido gives us a chance to physically explore those ideas. Ukes are gonna uke.  An uke is who they are on any given day. If I “expect” an uke to be a certain way I have stepped out of my center and into the mind. By paying close attention to my uke I can guide the technique and come to a resolution. There is no room for “should haves” or “could haves” in the now. 

Uke will do their best at each particular moment as regular people in the world do their best with the circumstances of the day. Me expecting others to behave in a certain way is a futile as me expecting uke to be different.

By accepting what happens I can deal in each moment, gather information for future choices and move on.

Ukes can be stiff and sore, cranky and unwilling. They can fall too early and resist illogically. Each uke gives us another chance to meet ourselves. People can be mean, unreasonable and demanding…providing us again with the chance to meet ourselves and develop into strong, versatile humans with compassion for others even as we learn to defend ourselves.

We can cast off what we know and become who we are meant to be.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Yoga...why not aikido......:)

Everyone should train in aikido. All this energy wasted on (fill in the blank here with fitness fad of the day) does not make one aware of their surroundings. It does not teach you how it feels to be grabbed and it does not offer you any solutions to conflict.

How does Zumba make you safer and how does golf add to your tool kit in a conflict situation? Okay, golf makes you familiar with a handy weapon…but have you ever thought about using it a self-defense option?

Now I am not saying that golf, yoga or dance training is bad…not at all. What I am saying is the world is not safe and we could all use aikido training.

One young woman trained with us for several months before she went off to travel in Europe for a semester.  She was never going to be a lifelong aikidoka but her training helped her. She was on a train in Amsterdam alone at night with just one other person, a strange man. That man approached her; as he leaned into to grab her with a lecherous comment she put her foot in his stomach and pushed…he staggered back and she scooted out of that car into the next where there were other people.  Safe.

Could she have done this without aikido training…maybe but would she have given herself permission to follow the little voice in her head?

I know we can’t visit every kind of conflict that happens to humans…but we can train in an art that allows us the opportunity to feel what it feels like to grabbed, pushed and be really uncomfortable.
We can support each other in our choice to address the unmentionable…that conflict happens and many of us end up victimized because our heads are in the sand. “If it is not thought about it won’t happen.” It happens every day and in lots of different ways.

From guys making secret quiet comments when they think no one else will know, to angry drivers who scream at mothers with babies after causing an accident.

People seem angrier these days, short tempered and out of patience. Aikido helps with that too. Not just with the obvious endorphins that we get from any exercise but from the connection and trust that is established when we get to use another person’s body and energy.

Aikido offers us the chance to develop compassion, empathy, patience and joy along with strength, spatial awareness and heightened vigilance. It offers a sacred pause to look at our own choices. It allows us the chance to change lifelong habits and question our own motives. We can make changes, big and small, that make us freer and happier.

Yup, everyone should train in aikido at least 3 times a week…see ya on the mat.