Monday, September 6, 2010

MUSUBI - THE HEART OF AIKIDO

9/6/10 NOTE; Musubi, to join, connect, unify, tie together.
Mary Heiny Sensei calls musubi “the heart of Aikido”. And on a personal level, on those rare occasions when I feel the wonder and power of a technique done extremely well, it was as if uke and I were one smoothly flowing unity. No you and me. Not even an us. Just a being, a gestalt. Even when I am uke, when this happens it is so beautiful, I just lay on the mat laughing. [New people to the dojo are certain I am crazy.] This is why I practice Aikido. Not as a form of self-defense, but for the opportunity to be something more than I am. A place in which I can lose myself in order to be something more. I apologize, I don’t think I’m describing this very well. It is like trying to describe blue to someone when I have only had a peek at it myself. Aikido is like a physical koan.
If I can help the vets get a sense of this concept of musubi, of the power of giving up the “self” to become something positive, rather than fearing the loss of self because of actions done to or by them, then hopefully they can see a way out of the self-defeating, downward spiral in which they see themselves caught. If they can come to realize that the anger, vulnerability, fear, aggressiveness they carry can be a source of energy they can tap in order to blend, to join with a threatening situation or individual, then they may begin to feel more control over, more possession of their own self.
Most of the guys start off impressed by the power they see in a technique. They then begin to feel the increased control they have over uke the more they center and relax their own physical strength. And sometimes a little light comes on when they do a technique with uke, not to uke. That’s the little light I work towards.

Friday, September 3, 2010

LEARNING FROM THE WALKING WOUNDED

9/3/10 w&f [0s, 5v] B Don’t seem to have any staff currently interested. I did have a vet with a bad back, and one who needed a cane to walk and had an arm in a sling. This made me really concentrate on how various techniques worked, and how to simplify them so the walking wounded could still use them effectively.
The vet with the bad back said that when he used the relaxing and centering principles throughout the day, it eased a lot of the pain in his back. He was working on moving smoothly and with “more aikido kind of posture” and this also helped.
Working together with the vet with the cane and sling, we were able to see how maintaining even the slightest contact and pressure on nage in the direction their momentum/energy/center was moving enabled excellent control, even when doing technique one handed, and with somewhat awkward foot movement. He was even able to do a very smooth ikyo [#1] with out grasping til the very end. This guy could be great when he gets both arms working.
Once again, I seem to be learning more from these guys than I am teaching. Sometimes it is easy to forget the power of "beginners mind".