Let’s face it, most of you came to Aikido with ambiguity in mind about the practical efficacy of Aikido in real combat, or the allure of a mystic dream mingled with the fantasy about the idea of being invincible as a fighter.
Well you came to the wrong place!
People walk into a dojo, see what they imagine to be a “throw” and either leave or come back to train but remain entangled in the illusion they are “throwing” someone.
There are no losers in Aikido. Everyone wins or at least gains. Gains either protection or a lesson about the discourtesy of attacking.
But more than this Aikido serves to NEUTRALIZE the mind of aggression. Most situations where Aikido has prevailed, never get off the ground. Crude thinkers imagine nothing happened. But it did. At a deeper more subtle level. I’m not talking about pixies, but practicality. Applied and very real skill. Best security is unseen. It is there, but not noticed by the violent, because there are subtleties the violent mind cannot perceive.
And for those situations that do escalate there is the imminent practicality of Aikido as the most devastating protective measure. But this carries the proviso that training be honest and correct. Otherwise, the slower version of cause and effect, reciprocal causality takes place over often long periods of time. But in the end the books are balanced. They always are. No one can escape.
What people like to imagine is Aikido, is usually a very modest beginning in the direction of Aikido, at high risk of being derailed by all the things we’ve seen over the last few years.
Who wins and who loses?
In a fight or a war, everyone loses. I do not have to elaborate on this. Just observe how recent history has affected your hip pocket and I can rest my case on that.
In the Aikido paradigm, a universal and eternal principle of existence, which guides the operating systems back of sustainability and continuation of life itself; there is a relationship of energies which, no matter how disparate, become reconciled and educated into the generation of newer possibilities.
Yin and yang have been reconciling and alternately conflicting, much as lovers do, since time immemorial. And breeding prolifically as well. Hence creation.
Friction is required before reconciliation can arrive. And yes it is friction, not painkillers or sleeping at the wheel, or running away, that gives rise to the very potential that drives the Aikido spirit.
Nobody either wins or loses. Everyone learns, gains thereby and can then move forward.
In training, often the opposite of what you think you see is in fact happening. The intellectual mind, being partial, especially when deceived by the eyes, is not either rational or logical, but likes to think it is. But there are still people who think erroneously that iriminage is a push.
For practical purposes in training, it does not start to begin to become Aikido until uke wins! Every time. Ukemi is merely early training for kaeshi waza. That’s all. But because of the courtesy of training, an absolute requirement for progress and awakening, we respect each other and cooperate. Until we can train safely we cannot begin.
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, advisedly and most emphatically: THERE ARE NO THROWS IN AIKIDO.
We train as if there are throws for purposes of mutual safety. That’s all.
You see, Aikido does not strive to defeat anyone or anything other than the mind of discord in oneself. The opponent is quite capable of defeating himself, PROVIDED YOU KNOW HOW TO DANCE TO LET HIM DO SO!
So let him. Assist him whilst retaining your centre and the rest falls into place in full accord to the natural laws of the universe. (Look up physics, biomechanics, etc.)
At the moment an attacker is most powerful, he is also most vulnerable. Napoleon cautioned his troops, on pain of severe punishment, to never celebrate a victory, but rather immediately begin to prepare for the next battle. I think one of the Caesars and some other ancients of note were not unmindful of the same principle.
Uke and nage are interchangeable and switch on a dime. These are conceptual agreements defined for purposes of enabling a training paradigm.
The resolution of conflict does not rely on a “technique” but an attitude of loving cooperation, allowance and accommodation, which is innate and which reflects an eternal universal essence. It is there all the time, always was and always will be. A great ocean of it. And we dehydrate for the want of noticing that we are swimming in it, if not drowning.
No one wins or loses, when energy is balanced. All participating energies neutralize. There is no uke and no nage except for purposes of training. But if you are stuck in the cave man mentality of “doing something to them,” you are lost.
Undoing aggression is akin to unwinding a ball of string. If you do too much you create entanglement which gets so bad it will require a cut. If you softly play and accommodate the string untangles.
You will not get the desired result and end up with usable string if you take to it with a baseball bat. But that’s exactly how most people think but pretend they don’t.
At the heart of all life resides a communion of soul. The visible manifestation of this is the desire to find ways to exchange energy and communicate. Love.
This can only be possible if the lines are kept clear. When both sides are trying to make a phone call, the line will be jammed and no mouth-frothing rage will assist. On the other hand, when there is no attempt on either side to pick up the phone, nothing fruitful happens either.
The trick is to know when to be receptive and when to engage the line to talk. Pilots, soldiers, coastguards, firefighters and some others very quickly learn the art of radio communication after being taught certain simple protocols. The rest of us become spoiled with facile technology that does all the sensitivity work for us and so we risk becoming communicationally challenged.
We interrupt too much.
Knowing when to “speak” and when to “listen” in all things, especially all things ki, is the art behind the art.
As an uke you must realise that you are nage. As nage you must realise that you are uke.
Perhaps then this mystery of Aikido will begin to make some measure of sense. And when it does, we will be able to start on the grand universal path of AIKIDO.