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Shodan

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 03:48
Shodan

Shodan
The sword is ready
Now it must be polished

Categories: Aikido

Brutal Clarity

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 21:58
Brutal Clarity

Brutal clarity
Comforting illusions
Is there really a choice?

Categories: Aikido

Say Nothing

Sun, 09/03/2017 - 05:27
Say Nothing

Confound the silence
And say nothing

The explosion, when it comes
Will also be silent

Categories: Aikido

Center

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 19:36
I don't understand about Izanami and Izanagi.

I walk around, but is it around the center?

I don't understand about Izanami and Izanagi.

Where is the center?

I don't understand about Izanami and Izanagi. My technique is Hiruko and Aha.

What is the center? Is it the heavenly pillar?

I don't understand about Izanami and Izanagi.
Categories: Aikido

Think Only of Success

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 01:40
Think Only of Success

Think only of success
Failure will take care of itself
After all, it has its own support:
Murphy, coincidence, chance, fate,
Karma, shitty old bad luck -
All its friends
So, think only of success
And enter into the attack



www.nothing-works.com
Categories: Aikido

Iron Sharpens Iron

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 03:55
As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

This particular passage of the bible has always resonated with me, especially in my training of Aikido; and this is what makes Aikido so special.

When we attack each other, we attack so that our partner can become better. It's a selfless thing to do.

I'm not attacking you to prove I'm better. I'm not attacking you to "win" the fight. I'm not attacking you to show off.

And please make a special note to this one:

I'm not attacking you to make you look good, either.

I'm giving you a sincere attack, and really trying to hit you, so that you can learn and become better. If I've hit you, you've failed, and guess what, you get to try again. I'll do the exact same attack and give you another chance to learn the technique. If you don't get it after four tries, then it's my turn. And I really what to improve. I want my Aikido to really work, so please attack me, don't be afraid, I won't hurt you, I want to learn how to use your energy to defend myself and at the same time protect you from injury.

I remember once, an Aikido instructor, instructed me to "Take Ukemi" or I would get hurt. After 20 years of Aikido, I've realized, that although he said he was teaching Aikido, it was really a form of Jujutsu, where if you don't submit, you will get injured.

Did you know that O'Sensei said somewhere along the lines that you need to treat your attacker like a baby, and not hurt him....

Aikido will never cease to amaze me, it is a beautiful, wonderful art, that only gets deeper and deeper as I learn.
Categories: Aikido

Union

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 01:26
Union

Some people mistake
Enlightenment, satori, unification
As union with God

Not so
The union, when it happens
Is with yourself




www.nothing-works.com
Categories: Aikido

Silent Pathways

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 00:36
Silent Pathways

I walk dark lonely roads
But, I am not lonely
There is a bright full moon
Casting myriad moon shadows
Following me as I wander
Down mysterious, silent pathways



www.nothing-works.com
Categories: Aikido

I asked him to take it back but he didn't.

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 11:07
Ki in daily life is the writing prompt Ron gave me a few days ago. I asked him to take it back but he didn't.

I am feeling blah around it but I am practicing new behaviors so here we go.

I have noticed lately that I am feeling low. I am not excited to get out of bed. I am having a lot of negative thoughts like:
"I have worked my whole life and this is where I have ended up." I need to make more money or have more recognition." Now the more money would be nice but I don't need someone telling every second that I am doing a good job.

As I have said before I am turning sixty in a few days. I think the pall that I feel is because something in the back of my mind says 60 is the big one: the one where we really are all done. No more fun…just grown up hard stuff.

That being said…and I am going to keep telling about it until it passes because I know that it is a lie and if I keep telling it will diminish like all untruths. Only the truth lasts and I want to live in the truth.

That being said…I feel great. Last night Ron and I went for a bike ride after work. We had a nice healthy dinner and then cleaned up the kitchen.

We played mitts and sticks and then an exciting game of "Ticket to Ride" where we had some healthy fun feuding. He gets to wear the imaginary engineer hat and scarf because he won yet again.

Work felt long yesterday and I felt lonely for a bit and sad because I think I don't get to see my family enough.

I noticed all this because I pay attention to my feelings and notice when they arise and how long they last and if they are true or a deliberate manufacturing of self-pity.

Ron and I have a lovely life together. Yet I can wander away from it to torture myself with "what ifs"…"what if we lose the house?, what if I die first?…what if I die last? What if I get dementia? What if I am a street lady?"

I can let myself get filled with self-centered fear like a helium balloon that breaks the string and flies off to balloon heaven (or hell).

I practice ki in daily life by coming back to what is real. And what is real in each moment is that I am ok. I am so ok.
Then I can see if I am ok in this moment maybe I will be ok in all the moments. One moment at a time.

I come back to now by doing something physical…it may be going for a walk, hopping on my bike for a spin, doing some ki exercises, juggling for a few moments, vacuuming the floor, sweeping the cobwebs off the lights and my mind. Sometimes I go out to the dojo and do rolls just to remind myself that I can.

I might write down what is bothering me, or I might write a gratitude list and share it with my gratitude group. I might write an email to my sponsor or tell Ron what is going on. I might write my blog. Sometimes I just get on my knees and pray for help. I have many tools to bring me back to the moment where all is well.

I think the challenge of getting older is to stay in the now as much as possible and to appreciate all the gifts that abound around me.

I do not have to give up and sit in my chair like my mother did. I want to grab the rest of this life and live it. I love to be alive and I am happy for the chance to see what my sixties look like on me.
Categories: Aikido

I asked him to take it back but he didn’t.

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 11:07
Ki in daily life is the writing prompt Ron gave me a few days ago. I asked him to take it back but he didn’t.

I am feeling blah around it but I am practicing new behaviors so here we go.

I have noticed lately that I am feeling low. I am not excited to get out of bed. I am having a lot of negative thoughts like:
“I have worked my whole life and this is where I have ended up.” I need to make more money or have more recognition.” Now the more money would be nice but I don’t need someone telling every second that I am doing a good job.

As I have said before I am turning sixty in a few days. I think the pall that I feel is because something in the back of my mind says 60 is the big one: the one where we really are all done. No more fun…just grown up hard stuff.

That being said…and I am going to keep telling about it until it passes because I know that it is a lie and if I keep telling it will diminish like all untruths. Only the truth lasts and I want to live in the truth.

That being said…I feel great. Last night Ron and I went for a bike ride after work. We had a nice healthy dinner and then cleaned up the kitchen.

We played mitts and sticks and then an exciting game of “Ticket to Ride” where we had some healthy fun feuding. He gets to wear the imaginary engineer hat and scarf because he won yet again.

Work felt long yesterday and I felt lonely for a bit and sad because I think I don’t get to see my family enough.

I noticed all this because I pay attention to my feelings and notice when they arise and how long they last and if they are true or a deliberate manufacturing of self-pity.

Ron and I have a lovely life together. Yet I can wander away from it to torture myself with “what ifs”…”what if we lose the house?, what if I die first?…what if I die last? What if I get dementia? What if I am a street lady?”

I can let myself get filled with self-centered fear like a helium balloon that breaks the string and flies off to balloon heaven (or hell).

I practice ki in daily life by coming back to what is real. And what is real in each moment is that I am ok. I am so ok.
Then I can see if I am ok in this moment maybe I will be ok in all the moments. One moment at a time.

I come back to now buy doing something physical…it may be going for a walk, hopping on my bike for a spin, doing some ki exercises, juggling for a few moments, vacuuming the floor, sweeping the cobwebs off the lights and my mind. Sometimes I go out to the dojo and do rolls just to remind myself that I can.

I might write down what is bothering me, or I might write a gratitude list and share it with my gratitude group. I might write an email to my sponsor or tell Ron what is going on. I might write my blog. Sometimes I just get on my knees and pray for help. I have many tools to bring me back to the moment where all is well.

I think the challenge of getting older is to stay in the now as much as possible and to appreciate all the gifts that abound around me.

I do not have to give up and sit in my chair like my mother did. I want to grab the rest of this life and live it. I love to be alive and I am happy for the chance to see what my sixties look like on me.
Categories: Aikido

Sustainable Practice

Sun, 08/06/2017 - 03:17
Your aikido will only improve when your concept of aikido improves.
~ Kenjiro Yoshigasaki


Sustainable Practice

As I get older
And my Aikido practice ages
(Matures?)
Along with me
I am reminded of the quote above
And how difficult it is
To improve or even sustain
My Aikido practice unless
My concept of Aikido changes
As I do physically
The need to adapt, change, grow
To transform self and art
Is a constant need and struggle
But can only happen
If and when your concepts change
And you are open to this very possibility
This, I constantly remind myself
As I step on the mat
Breathing, moving, breathing, moving
Doing my best to sustain an art
That has also sustained me
For long, hard, joyous decades
I find my mind, my mind finds me
As I move to where my ego smugly sits
And destroy it!



www.nothing-works.com
Categories: Aikido

ki development writing prompt

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 20:14
Ki development is important because without it, Aikido is just a bunch of techniques that will only work with cooperative ukes.

Ki (also known as mind, body co-ordination) includes the connection with the now that allows us to react to what is happening with the appropriate response for that particular attack.

Co-ordination of mind and body allows us to be at our best, utilizing all the information at hand and responding with clarity to keep ourselves as safe as possible while causing the least possible harm.

The response to an attack is hidden in the circumstances and will be revealed with careful attention to the "Now".

The “Now” is discovered by have your mind and body integrated. Mind, body co-ordination is noticed and nurtured through ki development.

At Berkshire Hills Aikido, ki development is incorporated into all aspects of training. We do special exercises and testing to help us develop basic centering and more advanced correct feeling. And every movement on the mat and in life provides limitless opportunities to maintain correct feeling.

When it is lost, as it often will be, we just notice and then get it back as soon as we can without recrimination of ourselves and without blaming the stimulus that caused us to lose it.

This practice of having the return of mind and body co-ordination be our goal lets us release the victim stories and return to the process of training. All experiences can be perceived as gifts that allow us to see our reactions and our responses. Ki development on the mat provides us with an alphabet so we can rewrite our lives in a calmer, less reactionary way. We can look at the real causes of discomfort in ourselves which are most often historical.

Ki development contributes to peacefulness on the planet by starting with the only thing we can really change: ourselves
Categories: Aikido

At Peace

Sun, 07/30/2017 - 07:28
At Peace

Though I have suffered
The moon is rising
And I am at peace



www.nothing-works.com
Categories: Aikido

Honesty, followed by Honestly!

Sat, 07/29/2017 - 18:08
Being honest is one of the hardest things to do, it seems. It's so simple, just tell the truth, but how many times do we find ourselves not telling the truth? Do we even know what the truth is? This can get pretty deep....

Your friend doesn't look very good with her new hair cut, but instead of telling her the truth, you tell her it looks good...and you justify it with, it's all a matter of perspective.

Your boss asks you if you called that client, you haven't, but you tell him you have, you excuse yourself and call him right away. You justify it with, I'm about to do it....

Your daughter asks you to buy her a pair of jeans, and you tell her you don't have any money (but you do, you just don't want to spend your last $100.00 on her pair of jeans....)

In a wonderful book that I like to read every once in a while is says: "He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity." Proverbs 2:7

I've been thinking about that pretty hard, and really paying attention to when I am honest and catching myself when I am not.

On the mat, it's much easier to catch myself, because honesty is much easier to see. Am I honestly putting effort, strength, power into my attack? Am I aiming at my target? Am I just throwing myself, afraid that I may get injured? What's driving me?

I think honesty must come from the attacker, uke, in order for the nage to truly progress and learn Aikido. Doesn't that sound like common sense to you?

To truly understand and develop in Aikido we need to be honest with each other. I've heard it so many times, "the truth hurts," but does it really?

I'm really excited about teaching today and sharing this with my class.
Categories: Aikido

mind body co-ordination

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 15:05
I asked Ron for a writing prompt and he gave me co-ordination of mind of body.
Mind body co-ordination is always a good subject. What can I write today about it? That it is more important than ever as I approach 60? God, sometimes it terrifies me to write that. I know, I know. It is better than the alternative.

But what can I say except that I feel 30 inside and so full of life and energy. I get hit with this melancholy that makes me ache for the younger me. But why? I feel young …I just don't look young. Why do I want that angst-filled woman back now I am filled with serenity, acceptance, peace and contentment a lot of the time? I am what I feel like not what I look like.

The mirror has been surprising me. A new hair cut… a new hair color, several pounds lost…it is still me. I look and then let go again. The mind body co-ordination comes in when I accept….yes, I am going on 60 and this is what it feels like today. I have no physical complaints. I am fit and limber and moving well. I am as strong if not stronger than ever.

I see what O'Sensei meant about how we must defeat the mind of contention that we harbor within. It really is about false fears. There is nothing to be afraid of today. I look how I look and I feel how I feel. There is freedom in the acceptance of the truth. Thank you for the reminder, Ron, Sensei…you are always the sensible one when it comes to me.
Categories: Aikido

Honestly!

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 18:45
OK, so I was trying to work out why a technique didn't work very well with me when someone was attacking. And, I just couldn't figure it out, so naturally, I blamed my attacker. He's not attacking me correctly, so it's not working.

Can you believe that! I actually started blaming my attacker, on why I couldn't get the technique.

Well, isn't that just a natural why to react to situations. I mean, think about it, don't we do that all the time. How hard would it be if we were always blaming ourselves. Don't you think it'd be a bit depressing?

It's not my fault I'm poor. It's not my fault I can't find a job. It's not my fault I'm getting a divorce. It's not my fault I split the coffee all over me and burned myself.....and on and on it goes. Isn't that why we get married, so that we can blame our partner for everything!

I've seen how instructors manipulate their students into making them look like they've actually "got" the technique. It's so disappointing, and at times, physically painful.

If iron sharpens iron, then it's all of us together that need to work on this. We accept where we are, and are held accountable for it.

So, I was demonstrating a technique the other day, and my uke, in front of the whole class, made sure that everyone knew that I got the technique wrong.....what in the world did I do.......I thanked him and said out loud, "well, that surely didn't work, I need to try it a different way."

Please check out this video I made for my dojo, and comment! I love comments.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1Lazwi2scY
Categories: Aikido

Mystery

Sun, 07/23/2017 - 03:47
Mystery

There is a mystery to life
An uncertainty, with many unknowns
We try to plan, to predict
And, sometimes we get lucky
But, for the most part we don't
So we come up with ideas
Ideas like fate, destiny, karma,
Or, God's will, god's plan
Some kind of explanation
Beyond the fact that life
Life is just this way - mysterious
But, some would hijack this mystery
This honest mystery and create
A belief in supernatural entities
The gods did this, God did that
Then wrap around this god-belief
Some kind of religious trapping
That then traps people's minds and bodies

We are all looking for some kind of
Self-fulfillment, some meaning
To our lives and the world around us
But, if you can accept the unknown
Accept that the universe has mysteries
Mysteries that aren't supernatural
Mysteries that can slowly be explained
Or, perhaps not....at least, not now
Still, we can look at the world and marvel
We can look at the world and cry
We can look at this world of pain and joy
And have faith - faith in ourselves
Life is billions of temporal paths
All leading into a future
That does not have any perceived clarity
But that does not mean we should
Abdicate our ability to think and reason
They say that if God does not exist
Then we would have to invent him
To explain the mystery and give us comfort
I find comfort in good, intelligent people!



www.nothing-works.com
Categories: Aikido

Light Bringer

Sun, 07/16/2017 - 07:28
Light Bringer

I turn my back on angels
Who the fuck needs them?
Needs such righteousness, such purity
I look to demons, sinners
Those who are fallen, like me
To them I can relate to
Remember, the Light Bringer
Came to us, came to us
Perhaps, even he couldn't stand
The uptight stink of heaven



www.nothing-works.com
Categories: Aikido

Sitting in a Bar

Sat, 07/08/2017 - 21:21
Sitting in a Bar

Sitting in a bar
On the north side of Chicago
Watching people, thinking
I can almost grasp it, almost
It's there, tantalizingly so - almost!
An real existential moment
(I get a lot of those in bars!)
What does it all mean?
We go about our business
Working, doing stuff....
Seeking some sort of connection
But, is there more? Has to be!

I now sit in another bar
A thousand years from now
On a distant space station
Orbiting a majestic gas giant
Thinking the same thoughts -
We have since discovered god
And asked him to give humanity a break
He's been so busy catching up
With the ever exploding multiverse, anyway
But we still search for true meaning -
The bartender keeps them coming
A very retro bar - a human bartender!
Sgt. Pepper plays in the background
Did I say retro?

Maybe in another thousand years
We will have it all figured out??
Later I will take in some
Low gravity Aikido practice
Watching through massive screens
The swirl of fantastic, fast moving gases
In the gas giant below
As nage and uke go round and round
Seeking a union as tantalizingly ephemeral
As that which we have all searched for
Since our mortal creation



www.nothing-works.com
Categories: Aikido

Eve of Deconstruction

Sun, 07/02/2017 - 00:44
Eve of Deconstruction

And tell me
Over and over and over and over again my friend
You don't believe
We're on the eve of deconstruction
Mmm, no, no, you don't believe
We're on the eve of deconstruction

All the Bannons are a flyin'
All the signs are a pointin', pointin'
Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away
There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave
Take a look around you boy
It's bound to scare you boy
Look whose finger is on the button, boy
Look whose finger is on the button!

And you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve of deconstruction

Look at all the policies a plottin'
The American infrastructure deconstructin'
Look at all the cabinet choices
Look at all the scandals explodin'
Look at all the Tweets, my boy
Yeah my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth it knows no regulation
Handful of senators don't pass good legislation
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin'

And you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve of deconstruction!


***********************************
Have a good 4th of July......and,
With apologies to Barry McGuire
Categories: Aikido

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