Saturday, November 19, 2016

Aikido attacks are like real attacks





Aikido attacks are like real attacks. How, you ask? We are working at simulating the realness of an actual attack. We give energy and follow. When an attack happens in life it is unexpected and spontaneous. The person being attacked feels uncomfortable and may deny and minimize. In aikido we can just be with what is happening. We can even celebrate the attack because uke is gifting us with energy.

We have been talking in class about attacking by directing our energy towards nage’s center. We don’t push or pull. We give a live attack with intention and energy and then we follow as nage leads. Uke lets go of any agenda and simulates the spontaneity of the energy a real attack would have. In class today uke grabbed nage’s wrist in different ways and nage then told uke what the attack felt like so uke could have an idea of what was happening right away from their nage.

We continued with this idea as uke grabbed nage’s wrist with intention and energy towards nage’s center. No pushing, no pulling or lifting or pushing down -- just good honest grabbing energy. Nage could do any throw by responding to ukes energy. This training makes uke have to slow down as they go find their nage and continue their attack. When uke attacks in this genuine way nage has energy to work with.

Sometimes people will poo poo this idea saying: this attack is not real enough. As if a hard grab that just holds on to nage’s wrist is realistic. Why would anybody just grab and hold?  If an attacker does do that one can still make the connection but our goal today was for uke to become more conscious of their part in this connection of uke and nage that makes up aikido.

One time I was grabbed by 2 hands on my one wrist. The person was trying to push past me to get out the door. I relaxed and let the energy of the person go where she was directing it and she went right down to floor. She looked up so surprised and snarled “Don’t you use aikido on me.” But I had and it worked. My center clicked right in and the anger I was feeling went right away.

Kim and I went to a black belt mixed art seminar and one of the instructors was talking about being grabbed as if it were a big deal. Kim and I just looked at each other and shrugged. We are used to it.
Because of my aikido training my body knew exactly what to do when I was grabbed. Training really matters. It keeps us safer and helps us look at what we can change. Again, I am the only thing I can change. Any other practice is futile. I must look at myself, accept what I see and change what I can. Then I can be the healthiest and safest me that is alive at any given moment.  





Monday, November 14, 2016

it really is not about fighting.


In aikido and I am speaking of the aikido I train in and am not comparing it to or denigrating any other style; it really is not about fighting.

What I mean by fighting is that it is not a sport or a contest. For me, aikido is self-defense. It is about what I have to do to protect myself. This to me means in daily life and self-defense situations.

Aikido is conciliatory and restorative.  My training helps me protect myself from others and from myself. It reduces life to the simplest form where I have to feel what is and do what I can. I can blame and I can whine…and I get to see how ineffective both of those responses are. I can come back to center and accept and do what I can. I can move or change myself. I cannot change another. Another may be moved when I move or change.

 My focus must be on moving me and not them. This truth is so good for me on the mat and out in the world. I am empowered when I keep the focus on me and what I can do instead of wandering off my path to meddle in other people’s business.

An example on the mat is having uke grab nage’s wrists and hold. If nage tries to move uke, uke will resist. If nage moves herself, extending energy and maintaining connection, uke will move with nage.  A way to do this is to roll the shoulders up as we retreat. Uke will follow nage almost in amazement because of the conduit for energy to travel through that nage creates.

In life people will follow the same way if you lead with intention and positive energy. One day 2 guys came into my office as I worked alone. They were both obviously very high. One sat down and started talking to himself as he rubbed his head. The other leaned over my desk and told me repeatedly and loudly what I was going to do.  I did not feel scared just very uncomfortable. I stood up, checked for my car keys which were hanging from a carabiner from my belt loop and then walked around my desk and invited them both to follow me. 

They did -- right out the door.  Then I invited them both to follow me over to the entry way gate. I said, “Stand here,” as I walked through the gate and slammed it shut, locking them in temporarily. I got in my car and drove away.  The one who was telling me what to do got very upset and I could see him gesturing as he yelled. I didn’t care. I was safe.

I led and they followed.  I created a conduit for their energy to flow through.  I did not force them. I moved what I could, me. And since I extended intention and energy I created a connection that they both responded to. This is one self-defense situation that ended with me being safe and the guys being bewildered but unhurt. My commitment to defending myself can be peaceful or violent depending on what the circumstances call for. But it is not a contest. It is self-defense.