The first step is to open the door. You can not step through the threshold of a new experience without first opening the door. Next open your chest wide and breath in deeply, now step into the dojo. And so begins the journey of Aikido. A journey that teaches us to enter into conflict with open minds, open hearts, and open hands.
An eight-year-old stands in good hanmi with right hand extended in invitation, “Hey Dad, grab my wrist.” Dad walks up taking his son’s invitation in a cross hand grab. Dad is quickly introduced to the mat as son steps in performing a kokyunage. Father and son exchange grins, the elder’s in approval, the child’s in glee. As father gets up off the mat he is met with the next invitation, this time from Mom.
In class one night I was instructing irimi nage. In doing so I said to bring uke's cheek and nage's bicep together. Interestingly this was interpreted as forcing uke's head to nage's arm. This of course set up a struggle. Uke fought, nage pulled harder, tensing the shoulders and stiffening the next movement of tenkan, pivot.
During this time of down turned economy we all know someone who's investments have lost. We all know of someone with a tragic story, lost retirement, lost home, families breaking under the stress. At these times we are reminded of the fragile nature of our material world.
There is an investment that we can each make that will create opportunities for true wealth building. The potential to not only grow our personal wealth but the wealth of our family, our community, our nation, our world.
Not that I would ever want to admit that doing kids classes is good for me but I feel it only necessary to attribute the beginning of the following concept to being in kids class. Consider yourself warned.
Often in class I will see a technique or opening and think I've done that one before or oh thats just like the one we did Monday. I believe this to be a common part of the human existence, to make things more palatable to my mind I connect it to something my mind is already familiar with.
"A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind."
"What makes someone credible?" or "Why do we trust someone?" These questions were asked by Albert Mehrabian in his book Silent Messages. The answer in his studies and confirmed by many studies after, 7% content, 38% voice, tone, and tempo, and 55% body language
How can an Aikido class for your office help at work? What might the benefits of an entire department, work group or agency training in Aikido be? While teaching in Chicago we had a software company that encouraged their employees to participate in a company sponsored Aikido class held twice a week during an extended lunch period.
In reading an interview of Toyoda Shihan I was particularly struck by this phrase, “to catch with your body.” I knew ukemi translated into something like that but didn't know exactly what the translation was mostly because the business of ukemi is usually filling my mind when I think of ukemi. This statement, to catch with my body, reminds me of the personalness of Aikido.