Connection

In my early years of aikido, connection was not emphasized. I first conceived of connection as something to break away from. Someone grabs your wrist, and well, you’re trying to escape, right? Make them let go! It was a long time before it occurred to me that one of the principle things we are practicing…

Reach Out and Touch Someone – Extending Ki

What is ki? It is one of the first questions that beginners ask. The best answer I know is “Keep practicing and find out.” But that comes across as glib. What I mean is: ki–like fear, illness, joy, pain, faith, etc.–is something best understood through experience. Words point in the general direction like a pain chart…

Have You Ever Had To Use Aikido?

  Have you ever had to use aikido? I suspect that most people who practice a martial art have been asked a similar question. “Have you ever had to use tae kwon do—kenpo—kung fu—brazilian jujitsu—kick boxing—sumo wrestling—northwestern wounded praying mantis style…?” What we’re really being asked is, “Can you give me the salacious details of…

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…

Throw It All Away

A koan is an insoluble puzzle that gives deeper and deeper insights but is never resolved.   Recently Mark Sensei slipped us a dual koan to ponder: Uke is irrelevant/Throw it all away     “Uke is irrelevant” originated from a video produced by Warren W., 6th dan, from New York Shin Budo Kai. After…

Shall We Dance?

Our dojo recently enjoyed a spectacular, technically spot-on nikyu test—nikyu meaning 2nd rank below black belt shodan. No matter what level someone is going for, Durango Shin-Budo Kai always strives for high standards. Did the candidate know the vocabulary? Did he execute the correct technique? Did she demonstrate poise and focus in the present moment?…

Which way is down?

Which Way Is Down? I’ve always been a bit clumsy. From bumping into walls to drawing surprised glances when I dance in public, I have always felt challenged by my lack of physical grace. But even so, I’ve always believed I knew which way was down. It’s just right there; look at the floor. Toward…