All a waste of time.

Accept what is, deal with it if you need to and move on.

When we are attacked in class we don’t waste our time thinking about why or what if. We accept the attack just as it is and direct the energy and flesh in a way that protect both the attacker and the person who is attacked.

By staying calm and moving in the flow we create more flow. This transcends the attack into a neutral force that feels good for both of the components of the conflict.
The person who is attacked moves as soon as they have energy to work with. That knowledge comes from paying close attention to all that is happening. When we first start training this seems overwhelming. It feels impossible. Yet we already know how to do it. When we were children we ran before we were tagged and we moved in conjunction with others in sports and dance. As adults we have to unlearn the things that we think are effective.

We move and the movement itself, along with the aggression offered by the attacker provide us with the resolution. It arises naturally out of the circumstance. All answers come in the conflict, not before, not later in judgment. Everything is in the now. We do the best we can with the matters at hand.

As we learn new ways to move, we incorporate them into our old habits. Little by slowly we develop more awareness, more mindfulness, and more acceptance of what is. The now is never more than we can handle if we stay in it.

There is the real challenge. How quick we are to judge, to whine, and to remember what should be. All a waste of time. We just accept, deal with it or not and move on. In training we are offered controlled circumstances to provide us with stimuli to experience ourselves. We get to see how we respond to stress, to our own judgment, to how another person physically moves.

We can spot these responses and stay with them. We can accept the other human in the exercise. We can be respectful and we can lead and follow the movement and the moment. All becomes clear. If we feel stymied, we feel it and look again for direction in the circumstance. The answers are provided in the patience, the acceptance and the compassion.

The self-knowledge comes from the frustration that arises and is released. The self-acceptance comes from knowing we did our best. The self-love develops as our compassion for the other person comes back to us as we treat them with respect and courtesy while taking care of us both.

Be Here Now again.

Be here now. I never really thought about this until this morning. I just expected myself to do it. I was challenged today to ask myself: Where am I?” Here. Then, “What time is it?” Now. I saw this 3 word sentence in a new way.

I brought this questions to class. I asked Ron, Jocelyn and Anne where are you and what time is it? We focused on that for a moment then I asked them to let go of the story they brought to class about who they were, how they felt about themselves and this experience this morning.

Then I challenged my class to mirror their nage as uke and the same as nage. So if uke felt stiff to nage, nage was to respond in kind. If nage felt quick to uke …uke could become quick. We did this with any attack and the technique that rose up organically through the interaction.

The results were illuminating. Our habits got shook up because we interrupted what is normal for us.
Jocelyn had a startling break though with Ron as uke. She was so in tune with him he thought he was going to get to rest at usual place during the throw and just as he started to settle in she turned again and down he went in a smooth soft circle.

When I attacked Jocelyn she felt quick so I got quicker and it was such a revelation to change my routine of steady aggression. I continued to move quicker than what is normal for me. I used this interaction as a talking point to further illustrate what I meant to the class. Vague concepts can be hard to understand especially when well-loved habits are challenged.
I then invited nage or uke to ask questions or give feedback at any time after a series of throws.

Class was interesting and uncomfortable. I feel like I may have changed an idea that was so ingrained in me that I did not know it was there. I am still letting in come to surface.
Aikido training can be many things to many people. At Berkshire Hills Aikido I challenge long term students to examine the things that they can change, to notice how they feel and how the person feels to them and to watch their own thoughts.

It’s so easy to go sleep and to accept the mediocre from ourselves or to blame others for our choices. My life is enhanced when I feel what is here and now and make centered decisions that rise out of shared energy.