Mark Sensei commonly reminds us to move around our own center, regardless of what uke may be doing or not doing.
After spending my entire life reacting to the behaviors of others (a survival strategy that served me well as a child, but no longer serves me as an adult), this wisdom sounds very counter-intuitive. And, like everything else Mark Sensei demonstrates, it works.
When uke grabs my wrist and I turn tenkan, I understand intellectually that the best thing I can do is simply to turn around my own center. And yet, time after time, the habitual responses that have been grooved into my nervous system over decades take over. And I find myself staring intently at uke’s hand grabbing my wrist, struggling as muscles are engaged.
In that moment, Mark Sensei might say that my attention — and therefore my mind — is on the contact point between uke’s grab and my wrist. And he would likely say that’s okay, and encourage me to simply acknowledge what is taking place and move mind back to my own center.
Where else in my life might I benefit from moving from my own center?
Instead of worrying what people think of me and trying to change myself to fit into various circumstances, what if I simply lived my truth, with respect for myself and respect for others?
Instead of focusing on the past and giving energy to recreating arguments in my head, or conjuring up memories of who has wronged me and how, what if I simply focused on what brings joy and satisfaction in my own life, regardless of where those other people are today?
Where else in my daily life can I trust enough to listen carefully to inner wisdom and move around my own center?
Tim has been training in aikido since 2016 and is currently ranked 5th kyu.