“An Ikkyo Kind of Day” by Nev Sagiba

Ever had an Ikkyo kind of day? Where no matter the attack, only Ikkyo happened. And you shook your head in frustration, or got berated as “wrong.”


Each technique is simultaneously everywhere and available all of the time. You can find Ikkyo, or any other technique everywhere all of the time.

If your mind sees it and you’re breathing, and suddenly it’s possible and works, it’s in no way “wrong.” Aikido, as with life is a rich path of discovery.

When you find a wall or blockage, is it the “lack” of opportunity, or the inability to mentally “step back” and notice the myriad VERY available opportunities presenting themselves, nay, screaming at you.

How do we restore the mental flexibility to see clearly?

One key was given by Sensei, many years ago: “Try something different.”

Scotoma of the mind, a blind spot. That’s why so many people experience so much “pain” becoming “computer literate,” or athletic, or skilled in any other way. You are growing new brain cells! It’s meant to hurt. Energy hurts as it transforms. Change can be painful.

Yet, if you can’t find that link today, but it appears tomorrow, it likely is not an internet conspiracy and no one sneaked in overnight just to play tricks on your mind. Your mind was playing tricks on itself!

Many years ago I attended a lecture by a well-grounded swami. I have a verbatim copy somewhere. The gist of it was this: Everything is a gift, particularly adversity, provided you understand how to adjust in making it so.

“Resist not adversity,” Jesus said. (Matthew 5:39) There’s nothing passive or victimy about this statement. HE MEANT, DON’T JUST STAND THERE, FLOW WITH SKILL!

Look around instead of fixating!

Everything is a gift, particularly adversity. Tom Crum proposed this as the principle of Aikido: “The Gift of Energy.” Rightly so.

Can you imagine the sheer genius and the challenge to the calcified ego, as in all we who still research the art, in such geniuses as Minamoto no Yoshimitsu, Minamoto no Yoshiie, Yoshikiyo and all the Takedas who followed and persisted in researching this discovery of immense and momentous import of the aiki potential? And the various predecessors who followed, involving unrelentingly this propensity in daily practice? And then the impeccable and divine Ueshiba Morihei with all his natural foibles, taking it just that step future.

Semiotic arousal, sees signs where the dormant miss them. Including opportunity in adversity. Where western medical practitioners blinded by greed and insecurity see only a pathology, eastern wisdom practitioners recognize natural human potentials able to flower into true, all gain assets.

That semiotic propensity was there right in the very beginnings when the first glimmers of aiki were being explored. The incident of Yoshiie noticing geese flying in a way denoting enemy troops, would have evinced little concern in the less awakened mind. Were that pivotal battle lost then, the transmission of aiki and that lineage could well have ended there. Today the world would be a different place. A poorer one no doubt.

I recall in 1972 or thereabouts, that very sober and well-grounded swami who travelled from India to speak to people here. In a nutshell, that was just the message, the essence of the content of his discourse was just this: Each thing that comes your way is either a gift of immense value, or a liability and that depends on only one thing: How you respond to it.

The skill to respond well can be learned. Indeed is our natural and divine destiny.

He put forward that “symptoms” of the emerging mind, are a natural part of life and “flowering of the soul.” Whereas western medicine of the mind tended to pathologize everything, and thereby strove to suppress instead of FIND THE CORE CAUSE and work to harmonize, the so-called west, had a different approach to rival the brutality of witch doctors in the use of lobotomies and shock therapy now banned as criminal acts in most civilized countries. Notwithstanding damage, much of it now proven to be criminal, is currently conducted with chemicals. Instead of taking the long-term view, the short-term exploitative, pecuniary profiteering downhill path based on fear, greed and lack of understanding is taken. In giving that symptom a label making sure to pathologize it, you destroy the creative potential and can then sell toxic chemicals that do more harm, than any good at all.

In the dark ages, there was a stage where active kids were said to have been afflicted with the invented and non-existent pathology named ADHD. A misunderstanding of natural propensities of activity, sharp mindedness and a low tolerance levels to suffer fools gladly. Activity and instant attention, good zanshin, was pathologized and drugs were dispensed in the formative years. Drugs that destroyed those children in both body and mind. The listless, obedient, compliant and introverted were then deemed to be normal because instead of showing signs of independence, and declaring it, they were easy to manipulate by the morally lazy for whom, the most vitally important career on the planet, real and full-time responsible parenting, seemed too much of a bother.

For millions of years the active and attentive were the hunters who brought home the food and fed the tribe and compassion was shown to the retards who threaded beads and assisted the women back at the cave. Suddenly the retards and button pressers had become the rulers and the practical, instead subjugated by the mentally disenfranchised who now appeared to rule with only a square lit screen with pretty pictures, words and squiggles which entraps the mind, while the biosphere and actual reality continued to rot.

How heartening that modern medicine is now so much more enlightened, compassionate and so much less predatorial and exploitative of the suffering of others. How heart-warming that we are progressing towards caring, authentic compassion, caring, nurturing, protecting all life and the biosphere that sustains it.

How heartening that we are advancing beyond this dangerously self-destructive world of controlled fantasy and using these petty, toy technologies for useful communication instead.

Neither skill is more or less important. There were cave dwellers who both hunted and threaded beads, just as today there are computer workers who maintain health and practice Budo. But mostly these are few. People prefer the extreme they find easiest. To grow and evolve, however requires bridging the disparate realms. Make no mistake; the foremost Samurai were not simply killer thugs but mainly held administrative and diplomatic responsibilities, were literate poets, artists, philosophers and contributed to the refined attributes of an emerging society. The battle side of things was only for necessity when all else failed.

And the old swami went on sweetly as if reminiscing, that before the great fall, Indian sages also recognized “symptoms” but not as pathologies, rather seed potentials that needed to be brought forth safely. They too would refer you to specialists, teachers who would help these talents emerge instead of rot in the shell.

There are people who can smell sounds, see smells or hear colors. Actually, all of us, at some point in our lives, have this skill and it is common in newborns. This phenomenon, called “synaesthesia” – from the Greek “syn” meaning “with) and “aisthesis” sensation. It consists of synchronous function of more than one bodily sense. The perception of a determined stimulus activating a different subjective perception.

In the west this is deemed, arbitrarily and with no sufficiency of evidence, to be a pathology. In the east it has long been known to be the early stages of “the third eye” or Ajna Chakra beginning to awaken.

Still doubt the subjectivity of perception? When some tribal people were given wooden chairs they recognize the wood, and being accustomed to sitting on the floor, rightly used the chairs for firewood.

When “civilized” man travelling to “wild” places, saw examples of amazing faculties, they either went into a state of denial, felt threatened and with a need to kill that which was not understood, or blindly and superstitiously embraced it but out of context. There are numerous examples.

Is your reality “the right one?” Most likely not. You are simply immersed in surroundings which your mind interprets in accord with the way you have become institutionalized to them over time. The other variables you miss, unless you make the effort to expand your field of awareness.

Ever set out to buy a particular item, say a car, and you suddenly notice that particular model and color everywhere. Where did they all come from? Did the world change or had you ability to notice?

Ever seen the person standing outside of vision yawn and immediately after, the crowd followed suit? The academic “explanations” are as ridiculous and unlikely as those of UFOs.

Why is it that you can’t tickle yourself?

There are lots of these questions.

There are a very few “explanations” that are not unmitigated gibberish. In reality, no one really knows because they’ve not done the hands on research.

Lack of understanding of natural universal processes and principles binds us to limitation. Understanding them frees us. This is a gradual progression which requires regular attention.

All living beings have two natural “flaws,” a physical imbalance and blind spots not generally noticeable until an intense challenge arises. In the wild these determine survival from predators. In humans it is similar but different and the various blind spots are more often mental than physical. Where there is opportunity and even in adversity, regular personal discipline, the yoga of budo will correct these to produce increased balance, clarity coordination and skill. Dynamic balance receives they universe because it is the nature of the universe.

Average is not normal. There are many levels of fragmentation and many of these are deemed normal, when we simply know no better. Reintegration of mind and body is not a destination or conclusion, but a beginning of a journey without end.

Be certain of this: No “medication” or magic bullet, has ever existed, now exists or will ever exist, that will get you into harmony with the universe. Attunement with the great harmony is an ongoing journey and process which requires unavoidable work, dedication, sincerity and persistence. It goes beyond mere dabbling or tampering with a few chemical processes which are merely a fragment of the whole.

But this journey of personal integration cannot begin until well into the exploration of a creative personal discipline which is a way of life, not just a hobby.

If you are experiencing an Ikkyo kind of day, it’s good. You are expressing, or pressing out, something that was previously asleep and now noticing new possibilities. Enjoy it.

Our design is to explore the universal potentials, a connectivity comprising an inner web of endless possibility which can and does express most adaptively, through the original computing mechanism, the living body-mind.

Next week may be an Irimi Nage kind of week and so on. All good. All unlocking something unique.

Let it flow and discover Aikido, life and the universe from the inside outwards.

Nev Sagiba


  1. bruce baker says:

    Two thoughts ..

    The human body heals itself, and all medicines and procedures are to provide the best conditions possible for the body to function or to heal itself.

    When a person becomes a danger to themselves or to others … we must take actions to correct behaviors and actions of that person, or kill them thereby insuring the safety of the group. (as heartless as it sounds to mention killing, in the end … that is what society does to things that become a mortal danger to humans.)

    Sometimes we are mesmorized, hypnotized, or just plain tricked as we, the society, subscribe to different solutions for our medical or social problems, but that is because human beings have become disconnected from reality.

    We live, we die.

    We are not special, but some of us have special skills.

    You can fool all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

    I wonder if we are ignoring the basic horrors of life and death as our society PROGRAMS the youth of the next generation into idiots that cannot function independently outside of our modern technological society.

    The haves, who are the rich societies of the world with technology, and the have-nots who seem to be the 3rd world nations/ technologically deficient societies that breed terrorists, genocide for war torn nations, are the new normality for the world, or is it … a return to our basic animal instinct to kill and conquer?

    Anyway, the medicines, the strange ideas that people are entitled to certain services of a society are programmed into us and our children as we become ROBOTS for the few who control us and our society … the powers that be. (yeah I am being cynical.)

    I have realized that there are short term solutions.

    Yeah, short term solutions for children who are Attention Deficit, or some variation of that diagnosis, and that when someone comes up with a term …. it is just the tip of the iceberg showing. These people get their recognition or sheepskin for their written paper or recognition and thereby advance their wealth and recognition in society also, something our society lauds and nudges us towards for our life’s goals. (I went through a whole set of hoops in the 1980s for my kids with the system, telling the experts they were wrong and there was something more, and the professions/ the experts didn’t agree with me until … someone wrote a paper and a general diagnosis was added to their lists of diagnosis, go figure.)

    You have to see past the tip of the ICEBERG! What is the person getting who is putting forth the diagnosis, or definition for whatever they are doing?

    Is their actions, their physical or mental condition, a danger to themselves or others?

    Is what the doctor is doing creating the best possible conditions for your body to heal itself or function?

    Simple things are made complex so a chosen few can FOOL ALL OF THE PEOPLE SOME OF THE TIME.

    What I am saying is … a little distraction of practicing aikido .. just might clear your mind so you see the simplicity of what seems complex.

    You become comfortable with Ikkyo until your instructor tells you to do … anything else … but Ikkyo.

    It is not different for the rest of society. They become comfortable with a few things that work and forget about the other things in their arsenal of tools.

    The simple things you learn during your practice sessions of aikido can be applied to your life in a variety of different ways. After all, you are taking the practical applications of life and applying them to your practice of aikido, right? So, you should be able to prove those lessons of aikido practice by applying them to your life outside the dojo, off the mat, at least that is the theory.

  2. Couple O Sensei quotes –
    “Ikkyo issho” – roughly translated to me as “always train ikkyo”.
    …or, ‘Christianity is a fine religion, but in aikido we prefer to turn the cheek before it is struck…’

    …then from a lesser source, me…
    The interpretation of behavior as pathology was perfected in the Soviet Union. Here it is an expression of frustration at a general lack of personal behavior standards and the foreclosure of traditional methods of discipline. Doesn’t make it less dangerous. One of the common denominators of school massacres is the fact that the perpetrators are generally on prescription psychotropic drugs. You don’t, however, hear the MSM seeking to ban Ritalin (or other even scarier stuff). Not “politically correct” (a term coined by Mao Tse-tung). And “Brave New World” is no longer on school reading lists.

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