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All Tied Up – Musubi part 2

In my last post I discussed two Japanese words–awase and musubi— are slightly different concepts of connecting with a partner’s energy. I focused on musubi, which means “knot.” As uke (attacker, receiver of the technique), I can feel when my attack gets tied to what nage (thrower) is doing, either by a slight loss of…

Bound to Connect: Musubi Part 1

Bound to Connect: Musubi Part 1

Aikido is a Japanese martial art. Although it is practiced around the world, its cultural context is important. From the uniform to the technical terminology, aikido comes with cultural nuance. The jargon is a turn-off for some. But it holds depth and direction for study. A lot of the language is difficult to translate into…

Growth Through Subtraction

Growth Through Subtraction

  In the US, we have an independent mindset that defaults to  “Yeah, but why should I?” Why should I obey this stupid law? Why do I have to step back instead of sideways? Why, when I begin a martial art, do I have to do all this bowing to everybody? Once we are convinced…

Remaining Mind

Zanshin translates as “remaining mind.” It does not mean the mind remains on the past or a few moments ago, or that thing you did well or poorly. It remains here and now. Zanshin also translates as “the mind with no remainder.” Divide any number by one and the remainder is zero. If you are…

Immovable Mind

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…

Mushin

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…

Unity vs. Coordination

Unity vs. Coordination

Aikidoka talk about unifying body and mind. It is a target we train for, but I still balk at the phrase. I couldn’t articulate why until I was recently re-reading The Aikido of Shin-Budo Kai. The phrase “coordinating body and mind” stuck out to me. Unity, to my mind is an ideal or abstract state of oneness. …

Getting Here, Being Here

I recently had a wonderful conversation about the mindset of martial arts with a college professor. He is particularly qualified to speak on the subject. His doctorate is in Sports Psychology. He is Japanese, with a Japanese teacher’s license, and he is an experienced kendo competitor. We sat on my couch, enjoying a drink and…

Exploring the Principles: Keep One Point

Exploring the Principles: Keep One Point

Every art, trade, science, and study has its jargo n. Aikido is no different. Jargon can be a barrier to learning, but it develops for a reason. The jargon points to specific ideas that laypeople may not comprehend without study and devotion. One idea in aikido that tripped me up was “one point.” The principle…