Brian Kagen pick: “Just Because The Person Is Coming To Kill You, Does Not Mean That You Cannot Love That Person: Week of July 5, 2009” by Marc Abrams

“Putting out “positive vibes” is an important way of creating a sense of connection that allows others to approach us at a distance that is “friendly” close. Inother-words , we can actively manipulate the sense of proper distance that others use when interacting with us. From a martial arts perspective, it is relatively obvious that controlling this distance is an important component towards being able to effectively stay safe. Consciously effecting the preconscious experience of a potential attacker is an important martial arts tool.

Both of the factors talked about above, point to the importance of communication in any situation in which humans interact. From a martial arts perspective, controlling the level and nature of communication has profound implications. This acknowledgment and use communication is another uniquely effective andpositive aspect of Aikido . When people are in a conflict with another person, the ability to listen to that other person is typically compromised. Yet this is the most important time to be listening! People tend to be amazed when a highly skilledAikidoka seems to “know” when and how you are going to attack before you think that you have communicated this information to them. There is no mystery or magic there. It is simply being calm, centered and positively connected with the other person in a manner that allows us to “listen” to important information that is given before a person is usually aware that he/she is sending this information out.”

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  1. bruce baker says:

    Marc kinda has it right, but the practice of becoming emotionally detached from not only your attacker, or practice partner in more toward the truth. Eventually you must become detached from your own emotions so that your level of concentration and awareness is heightened, which will in turn allow your brain and body to react to the situation around you because there is not static in your thoughts or interference in brain and body doing their possible best, is the actual reward and the real goal you should be realizing, not this “I love my enemy” nonsense.

    It is neither Love or Hate, but a neutrality that creates a sense of well being for your opponent or attacker. You should not become involved or get caught up in this neutrality as it will cause your mind, body, and spirit to feel like they are running through soft mud.

    Only you can figure out what is interfering with your mind, body, and spirit connections operating at peak efficiency. It may start with a “neutralizing thought” in another part of your brain that helps to neutralize the static, but eventually whatever formulation you come up with … it does have to provide you with a clarity that both fogs your opponents ability to respond clearly and enhances all your abilities of mind, body, and spirit to work together to cause you to have a higher than average level of performance.

    Nine out of ten times the masters and teachers use faster reflexes along with unbalancing techniques to show a student a superior means to practice, but this is acquired from not only hours of practice, but years and years of practice. It becomes a continual process of looking for how someone can counter-attack, or insert an attack that will harm you, then turning what might be harmful to you or your practice partner into something that is totally unemotional, because when you fog your mind with emotion you will lose the connection,you will dull the sensitivity to your physical connection, you will begin to fog your brain with the false sense of security that will drag you toward elation or depression.

    I am not saying Marc is wrong, because a novice, a beginner will use this trick to reach a neutral center, but your goal should not be to reach for emotion, but to generate a neutrality in yourself and subliminal signals to your training partner or opponent with will let them imagine a feeling of well being. With this goal in mind you reflexes, your thinking, your connection of mind/body/ spirit will be as good as it can possibly be and when you do your best … that is all you can do … until it gets better … or it does not.

    At least you know .. this is who I am … the best I can be for who I am, the body I have, and what God gave me to work with.

  2. bruce baker says:

    Excuse some of my words in my comments. I see that sometimes IT becomes IN or is mistyped as IS, or OF and OR being mixed up .. dislexia I guess, or is it it the SPELL-CHECK in the PC program I am using to write? Whatever it is .. sometimes you are gonna have to grab the spirit of the sentence, unless someone in submissions corrects it.

    And, Over the years some people read my comments and take them as a personal effront to whatever they believe … don’t. There is no one here but me writing dots on a screen to me …. talking to myself, giving my thoughts out loud.

    Here’s a thought …

    On one level our animal instinct to fight for survival and take the best of nature for ourself or our tribe takes over, but on another level … we are trying to cause a civilization to take hold where ideas and discussions can take place without violence or those animal instincts causing us to resort to violence.

    We are animals, and we are attempting to be thinking beings above emotion, but many times thinking and emotion lead to breakthrough of new ideas, so I apologize to those who can’t see how Chaos leads to change. Be it ideas, or in nature itself, we will run across chaos in either our lives or our ideas and have to come to grips with that difference of ideas and lifestyles.

    We are animals, and there will be times our animal nature will take over. All I am asking those who get upset with me to do is … be aware of what your animal nature, you education for your culture, your society has interjected also …. causing you to become upset. There is always the option of NOT reading these comments, isn’t there?

    Our lives include a process of continually analyzing ourselves, our society, and the world around us .. so that we learn to find the neutrality I speak about and thereby become the best person we can be.

    This just doesn’t happen in a happy-happy-joy-joy world. I take my cue from nature … where we work through periods of chaos and change somehow creating periods of peace and contentment, cause that is what life is, isn’t it?

    I think that I am in tune with nature doing my part in nature for what I am supposed to be doing. I apologize if my ideas upset anyone … but it happens. I blame it on Mother Nature …. you know the old saying … mother nature can be a bitch.

  3. One of my early encounters shortly after commencing training involved a drunk neighbor. I was returning from the old College Ave dojo and keiko one evening feeling pretty good. This guy comes lurching down my lawn in a wrestling crouch saying, “Let’s see how this works…” Sounded like a pretty good idea to me. Was so happy to have yet another training partner. I had this little vision in which his body was illuminated and outlined like a butcher’s chart with little kanji in each delineated area. (I DON’T EVEN READ JAPANESE!) But the distance was closing. I was feeling good and started a kiai, visualizing irimi nage. I got as far as irimi and found him crawling past as fast as he could go mumbling, “This isn’t a very good idea!” I felt really bad that he wouldn’t stick around and do aikido with me.

    Transcending the day-to-day self seems to be both the key to good technique and also an almost addictive attraction of training. Heard Nadeau say once, “I just collect those ‘magic moments’…”

  4. Bruce:

    I respectfully disagree with your view of this “mental place” as a trick for beginners. My own opinion is that your perspective would only be considered low-to-mid level attainment. I look at my primary teacher, Imaizumi Sensei, I look at another teacher of mine, Kenji Ushiro Sensei, and I look at my VERY BRIEF experience with the head of Systema (at the Aiki Expo)and the common thread is the sincerity (Makoto) with which they connect at a “loving/accepting” level. Distance with a neutral stance is markedly different than the distance that is obtained with an open/accepting/loving stance. I am not describing this position as some new-age, tofu eating, crystal worshiping person. I am describing this position from my struggles to truly reach this level and in seeing this level being utilized by some of the last people on the face of this earth that I would like to get into a fight with (Ryhabko & Ushiro).

    Marc Abrams

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