“There is no time and space for Ueshiba of Aikido…,” by Nev Sagiba

What did he mean? I have no idea. But this much is clear: Time and space don’t really exist. Our mind and our design make it appear to be so. So much so that it is real. For us. As real as we make it.

And yet.. Have you ever been so ill that everything runs into one painful long moment where any semblance of time disappears? A person in a dark cell such as sensory deprivation or solitary confinement experiences something similar.

Now, here’s an interesting point. To a person having chosen sensory deprivation, an hour passes in what feels like a minute (especially if you paid good money to access the experience); whereas to a person being detained against their will, an hour can feel like weeks.

In reality there is only now. But the cycles and segments of what we call time, define our reality. We wake to a cycle and we sleep to it. We eat, work, rest, play and do other things in accordance to time schedules. Our body’s circadian cycles adapt and in extremes break down.

Insomniacs experience time differently.

Computer time is very different from kitchen time. If you’ve experienced this, you are in training to be a time lord, just like Dr. Who. (Kidding :) If you can work on the puter and get to that cup of tea or coffee in time, before it cools, indeed put the hot water in it, then you’re making progress. Let alone eat unburnt meals, rescued from the stove in time.

In an emergency, the body releases certain chemicals, including a variety of peptide cocktails, endorphins, adrenaline; and the brain releases vasopressin, which totally alters the human sense of time and its perception.

Ever been in an emergency where everything seems to you as if it is happening in slow motion, but witnesses see you move at hyper speed deemed impossible?

What is that?

A good exercise is to tell the time before looking at the clock. Or tell your inner timer to awaken you at a particular time. People who practice this get good at it.

A better exercise is to compartmentalize and segment functions into parts and become conscious of each part.

Now this is where it starts to get interesting. Some meditation techniques use this for sitting or slow walking and watching the breath; but the faculty becomes available for any action at any speed.

To attune to the rhythms of life and creation you need to step outside of time and space.

With practice, you begin to see in-between the gaps. Kendo is good meditation. It improves your Aikido exponentially. By embracing the concept of time and making it your time, you can make time disappear.

Good warriors can, when appropriate, create a pause which binds the opponent’s mind. Silent kiai.

There is only now. Separateness is another construct of the mind. We imagine that we start and stop at the confines of our skin. This is an instinct inherited from our ape ancestors. Necessarily, daily survival would have once depended on it. But the ki of the universe is everywhere, in and all around us binding everything and everyone with ki-no-musubi. This is where fighting stops and Aikido begins.

Einstein spoke of space-time continuum as being one. But this gets into deep quantum physics and spirit. If space and time are indeed one, then musubi and deai cease to be a problem and an obstacle to be overcome.

How do we come to this realization? Lots of training. Yes. But it’s a matter of mental attitudes, namely fear. Knowing the difference between real and imminent fear and mere ideas about fear.

The person who feels separated from existence makes himself separated. More and more so until he ceases to feel an affinity of understanding with it. What is not understood then begins to seem alien and different. The original schizophrenia that led to our fall from yoga or union with the universe then sets in. It breeds a fake fear, a paranoia that jumps at shadows. Particularly one’s own. This is a dangerous illness because it causes the mind to make incorrect assumptions. In extreme cases it then develops the disease to attack and inflict harm. The victim becomes a criminal who acts against the harmony of the universe by acting against life, as he slowly destroys himself.

The only real and actual fear, the life saver, is that which happens in imminent danger. That’s not just a set of thought processes gone wrong, but the universe working to save your life. It is real and is that which causes the sudden chemical changes to adapt to stress and risk and intense action. It is an ancient primal ancestral set of instincts, which open up universal channels of survival. If you are not used to it, it can poison you.

If you train, such as Aikido, or any drill to perfect any skill set, the pathways to action will be open, available and potentized. You are likely to survive intense situations as a result. You may even see things differently to the accepted patterns that bind those subject to group agreed ideas that don’t really exist outside of entrenched opinion and beliefs often reinforced by the concepts put forth by conceptual language use.

We have, among other things, time, space; both the concepts and the reality; the eternal now, the mind’s apprehension of time and space and numerous variables such as our attitudes; instincts and biochemistry, cycles-real and made up; musubi-unity and the mind’s perception of separation; timing; mind states; all pervading universal ki; kiai; real life saving imminent fear and toxic ideas posing as fear; drilling, practice and increase of skill such as found in regular training.

All of these will fall into place of their own accord. Only the last one, regular practice of skill is the required personal discipline to activate clear perception.

And then time and space will disappear, you will enter The Zone; but mainly at times when you need it in order to save your life in high-risk situations. Or in deep meditation. Or total enjoyment.

The rest of the time, time and space are good friends that keep us safe from too much sensory overload.

Nev Sagiba


  1. …time exists. if it didn’t, motion wouldn’t either, at any level from the subatomic up. motion, however, in a relativistic universe, depends on the velocity of the system in which the motion is happening, especially at near light speed. our perception of time and space is even more flexible as Nev notes…

  2. Brett Jackson says:

    Just to understand this one part of the above teaching provides a great springboard: “But the ki of the universe is everywhere, in and all around us binding everything and everyone with ki-no-musubi. This is where fighting stops and Aikido begins.” This one sentence (sorry two sentences) is worth more that most of the books in the public library. Also, looks to me (though I’m not a proper judge) as if an amazing and (I can only say) brilliantly insightful tie-in is offered to the spiritual origin of criminality.

  3. Brett Jackson says:

    If this analysis of the spriritual original of criminality is correct, then we would expect aikido training to be eminently therapeutic. I suppose this could be tested in double blind experiments, but short of that, I’m sure quite a few of us practitioners believe that this is in fact the case, as we have witnessed it in our own persons (a therapuetic effect) and perhaps in the persons of some we have co-practiced with. That’s something very special.

  4. Roger andersson says:

    Time is a label… What is perceived as / labeled as time is the change of events.
    What scientist call space/time events. Nor is time absolute in any way. It seems in some areas of space time moves slower or faster. Or is at least perceived to do so.
    It really depends on where you see things from. Stars that went out thousands of years ago still appear to be glowing bright from earth. On the other had, it’s been speculated that when the universe finally ‘slings back’ there might be a period without time and space (figure that one out)
    The biological standard in every human differs and as far as being fit goes, we are talking levels, assigned (for some reason) with labelings in years i.e you have the fitness of a 25 year old.

    P.S the sun doesn’t set… it the earth that turns :)

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