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Doubt

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 03:12
Doubt

My great ball of doubt
Is firmly rooted in my great faith
And great tenacity of purpose

Categories: Aikido

Fearful Rocks

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 01:54
Fearful Rocks

Fearful rocks brace themselves
Against the crashing waves
Others, fearless, reach out
Embracing the charging seas,
Knowing that their destinies
Are intertwined

Categories: Aikido

Without End

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 00:24
Without End

In each stroke of the bell
With each clap
We hear the past and the future
Each class continuing without end
We sit and bow before the tokonoma
Our: Sensei, onegai shimasu!
Echoing through time

Categories: Aikido

Ukemi

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 19:40
There is much to be said about ukemi, but I have observed from close that there is difference between understanding ukemi and talking about ukemi.

As a beginning one should always be aware the gift of ukemi that uke is giving you is priceless, so treat it as a precious gift, be grateful for being offered this gift and show this gratitude by training open, honest and respectful. And offer ukemi to your training partners.

Following that, one should realise that ukemi is more than 50% of your aikido, more than 50% of your techniques and more than 50% of all that you do. This is too often not clear to those that are training. This not from malice or ill will but from not being exposed to good ukemi.
It is very tempting to see how much of a technique you can resist or frustrate. Yet in the end all you were building was your own dojo superpowers and you weren't helping your partner, even though you thought you were. But worst than that, you weren't helping yourself and cheating your partner out of an opportunity to learn.

One often hear people claim Aikido is about love, about harmony. That aikido is life. Yet as uke they train without harmony. They haven't learned the difference between uke being alive and uke being dead. As uke they don't give, but expect to overtaken, to be conquered. Why is it harmony if nage gets his way?

I have been fortunate. All my teachers have told me to do ukemi. Not as an obligatory part of training, not as a necessary evil to be undergone to get to the good part, but as a main buildingblock of my development. If you don't understand the technique, then take ukemi for that technique again and again and again. Ah, you wanna become beter at Aikido, then take one year of only ukemi and learn, feel and learn. Give, give, give until you know why giving is receiving.

So I give. I don't correct my partners when they don't offer to change roles after 4 techniques. I happily offer ukemi.

And now for something completely different, lets talk about ukemi. Ukemi isn't about doing high falls. Ukemi isn't being unbalanced, ukemi isn't about having things done to you to which you have to react. That is what my teachers called being dead. If uke is dead, then the exercise won't be aikido. Ukemi is about being alive. It is about living and being alert, about being outward, about being connected and about being natural. There is nothing natural about being hit, whether it be by a hand or by an on storming bus. Alive is moving with what happens.

Being alive is a difficult concept. Knowing you have to be alive is different from being alive. That is why we train and why ukemi is a major part of our training.

I have made a list of what being alive is in my opinion (and this is still a work in progress) but I also found that a lot of people genuinely don't understand what I am rambling about.
  • Be aware of what is happening and what you are doing. Somethings you don't want to do or actively avoid. You should not be bent over so avoid or correct that. Nage shouldn't be behind you so avoid or correct that.
  • Rolling is good. Rolling is being alive, but don't confuse it with slamming or bouncing. Absorb whatever is happening into a dissipation of energy by escaping with a roll or tumble.
  • Be humble and let go of expectations. You can only go with the flow if you are with the flow. It is not possible to outthink the flow, it is not possible to predict the flow. Oh, and surprise, the flow can be anything from doing a technique to cleaning the dojo to relating to others.
  • Stay with the contact. Only rolling, tumbling to safety and away from your partner as the flow directs is where uke can release the contact.
  • Rolling away is escaping. It is not something to survive a technique, but it is something to escape a hazardous situation. Away, away, away. Flow toward safety at top speed.
  • Ukemi is for learning Aikido. Ukemi is for learning to throw the other. The goal of proper ukemi is to learn and do proper Aikido, so you will never be thrown when not offering the gift of ukemi to the other.
  • Connect the hands, connect everything, but move the feet.
  • Follow through to discover the points of escape, reversal. Follow through to discover where there are openings, not to exploit them (unless this is what you are specifically training with your partner) but to discover them and use them to learn. But be honest in this. The flaws you discover in your partner's technique are more than likely to be your own flaws.
  • Shield yourself from harm, but don't disturb the flow. Blocking equals stopping. Stopping means being a dead uke.
  • Don't assume. Assumption is like trying to predict the flow. Be honest and accept what is happening. Accept your partners. Accept life. Be grateful.

Be humble and listen how the universe sings.


Erik doesn't matter
Categories: Aikido

Serenity prayer aikido

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:12
Serenity prayer aikido-- what can I change? what can I accept?

And yes, Wisdom to know, now please.

Let uke grab and hold. Notice how it feels. Breathe, seek wisdom by staying with the feelings and moving with the energy provided.

The answers come in the situation, courage to change what we can, ourselves. Serenity to accept we can change ourselves, Wisdom to know which is which.

In life it can be trickier because bad motives cower behind good intentions. Careful attention must be paid to the now so the responsibility that comes from acceptance of what we can change does not allude or overwhelm us.

True technique and true love are rooted in this prayer and this practice.
Categories: Aikido

Adrenaline

Sat, 10/28/2017 - 23:40
Adrenaline

Once
I greedily accepted adrenaline
As it rushed into my system
Prepping me for battle
Now, I pause, asking myself
If I truly want it or need it?

Categories: Aikido

Sea Without a Shore

Sun, 10/22/2017 - 22:31
Sea Without a Shore

I close my eyes
And enter a sea without a shore
What need, then, do I have for a compass?
Can I ever sail in the wrong direction?

Categories: Aikido

The Full Moon

Sun, 10/08/2017 - 00:57
The Full Moon

The full moon
Rising in a clear night sky
So simple, so beautiful

The full moon
Rising in a clear night sky
So simple, so beautiful


Categories: Aikido

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