Know Your Limitations

Face down. Prostrate on my belly. With my head turned to one side, one cheek smooshed and spread like a pancake on the griddle. That’s where I was when I confronted a demon. The nage who had just whirled me down to the mat was now trying to master an immobilizing (but not deliberately painful)…

Ai’s Wide Shut

“It’s like we’re psychic,” Holly marvels. “How did you know what I was thinking?” I ask. We repeat the experiment. She shuts her eyes. I grab her wrist and we pause there a moment. Then I focus on her shoulder—specifically the bunched fabric of her gi top. I think about grabbing it with my free…

Immovable Mind

To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace. – Morihei Ueshiba A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind. – Morihei Ueshiba I always admired the heroes in old Westerns. The townsfolk are under threat and the sheriff, gunfighter, farmer has…

The Caretaker’s Test

The above picture comes from Scott Carlton’s recent 5th kyu test—the first demonstration a person gives to establish their rank as a beginner. The first time they truly come to Aikido’s front door and knock, knock, knock. At first glance, the photo seems like an innocuous and typical first test snapshot, and yet, it actually…

Mushin

Coordination is a central idea in my training right now. Body coordination. Mind and body coordinating together. Right now I am thinking a lot about mental coordination within myself. We talk about being “single minded,” usually in our focus on some activity. But all too often my mind bifurcates into conflicting thoughts. Some of the…