Dec
29

“Appropriate Preemption,” by Nev Sagiba

“The pusher was bending down to pull out a pistol from a boot holster he would have used before any of the unconscious crowd could even begin to know what happened.”

Appropriate preemption is a rare thing because it requires a measure of clarity that some people imagine as “mind reading.” Not so. It is the clear and lucid reading of intention which makes itself available with regular practice of good budo, especially Aiki Budo where your practice partners know how to attack without telegraphing as do beginners and the unskilled.

Morihei, Gozo, Koichi, Seiichi and Morihiro had it. Most of the others fake it and that poorly.

Preemption is one of the epitomes of budo skill that separate the true budoka from children.

The thug, the bully and the idiot does not preempt. He merely initiates aggression. This is the pathology we are trying to heal in the species.

In order for true preemption to become available the protector must have a clear and unmitigated knowingness of the attackers intention to attack. Then be able to discern, evaluate, decide and act in less than two seconds.

The following is true recounting of something that happened:

A budoka had a job as a waiter in a large restaurant. Whilst serving a table he casually sauntered up to one male person and delivered a knockout strike. A furor ensued and as it turned out he was arrested and charged, and needless to say lost his job.
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Dec
26

“Boundaries,” by Nev Sagiba

Maai is the functional study of relationship boundaries and of the nuances of the natural forces that go into making them. Boundaries exist to protect a centre. There are infinite centres reflecting the one universal core.

People let their minds entangle in the space between boundaries and because it appears to be empty, become hypnotized by a concept of no-concept into which they insert their fears and ideas and their own mind then defeats them. Reality is what is happening while your mind was writing another script. These false assumptions born of fear then lead to violence of some kind.

The principle of musubi unites the boundaries and dances with the energy exchange between them bringing the natural economy of energy exchange to a balance where it may settle. Respect being the ultimate social lubricant it enables a constructive paradigm of existence to take place and to vivify those core values which carry us through time by uniting us as a species who can thrive against the odds.

All of human suffering comes from the disregard of, and the transgression of either real, imagined or other boundaries.

Often territory is hard earned, but it can also be stolen. Stolen territory whilst filled with the energy stolen from the rightful owners is fraught with mishap. The hungry ghosts of injustice do not rest until they have fed on the souls of the perpetrators. This is why all empires fall. Murder is not a building block but a corrosive acid.
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Dec
22

“How Can You Tell If You Have The Warrior Gene?,” by Nev Sagiba

Some indicators are:
If you feel intense dislike of bullies and cowards.
When you feel like stepping in to stop injustice.
When you feel like “taking out” those who lie, con, cheat, and predate on the weak, innocent and gullible.
When you feel an obligation to stop harm and protect society.
When you are aware and like to minimize risk where you see it.
When you feel motivated to protect and instruct those who are too weak, ignorant or unprepared to do so for themselves.
When you like to see people happy, productive and at peace.

The warriors way walks a fine line. The risk is that an often legitimate warrior may, with excess of zeal and insufficient training, tip out and become part of the problem.

Here is the good news: In order to maintain and administer a society there are numerous career paths that require warrior types capable of facing danger to minimize risk for the gentler folk. Such active servers thereby establish a healthy balance both within themselves and in society that they serve.

You will seldom be thanked (Watch last 3 minutes of the movie The Seven Samurai) but the job satisfaction is always rewarding.

If you are an Aikido practitioner, in these cases the skill you obtain as part of your career will be augmented with additional strategic insights, and in turn your career will increase your Aikido skills.

Whatever your work, Aikido properly addressed will enhance your ability and your daily life.

A well protected and properly administered society is in a good position to uplift itself and step up to higher standards of happiness.

Nev Sagiba
aikiblue.com

Dec
05

“Aiki Juji — Keys to Unlocking Paramount Skill,” by Nev Sagiba

It may be serendipitous that the empty space between the four diamonds of the Furin Kazan form the identical X, which Morihei Ueshiba describes as, “The Cross of Aiki.” Either way, to understand the principles of nature that express as Aiki through the human frame, one must have a clear and actionable comprehension of how the cross of aiki expresses.

The least of the aiki-juji is to be found in juji-garame a mere arm breaker most difficult to deploy during frenzied action. But throw it in we must as it forms one of the viable kihon nonetheless.

The primary Aiki Juji is to be found in proper stance. Not the mimicking of a stance with tension and stiffness in all the wrong places denoting false ego and fear, but the fully spirited stance of the warrior. This originated in the equestrian arts of war, now mostly lost. A stable vertical centerline denoting maximal heaven and earth connectivity.

People of today mostly mimic Aikido because not ever having had to really balance in dynamic motion, such as with equus; the full range of potentials in human balance has atrophied. The excess of sitting in soft society does not help. Without a living understanding of such skills as horse, sea-legs, hard manual labour and a few other attributes of natural living, you can access only part of what is possible for a full understanding of the Way of Ai Ki. In other words Aikido is “Mind fully in the body, touching Heaven and fully rooted in Earth, as one..” not merely conceptual but alive.
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Nov
04

“Chasing Butterflies,” by Nev Sagiba

“The Way is not a street but an attitude! Showing up at the dojo without equivocation when you think you are “too tired,” is one of the secrets of mastering the art..”

Chasing butterflies is a fools game. If you sit still and simply notice, they will land on you. Let them go, they do not belong in a collection but to Nature alive!

Over the years I’ve met a few millionaires. The salient feature I noticed is that the truly successful and well adjusted ones are not obsessed with chasing money. Money leaps at them and they can’t get rid of it.

I asked myself why? Speaking to the average was of no avail because the warped logic is, “Because they have money they don’t need to chase it..”

On the surface this appears to be correct but closer observation is that this is an excuse the insincere use to refuse to change themselves and their entrenched habits of chasing and basically wasting a life hankering after what they are making unattainable by either complacency or too much unskilled striving.

Let me explain. I noticed this in other areas of life as well. Some guys attract women like bees to honey. They also don’t strive. The chasers seldom catch more than a cold.

Hmm?

And then along came Budo and I noticed the same thing. Winners don’t care about the relativity of winning or losing or looking good. In training they are in it for the experience. They are not frightened of exploring possibilities. Refreshingly, this naturally makes them look good because they are not hung up on it.

Watch the people who force rote kuzushi. Transparently they will come unstuck the day they come across a non-compliant attacker. What then?
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Oct
31

Try NIEP: “OODA is for Fighter Planes,” by Nev Sagiba

“Atemi and kuzushi MUST be part of the flow and not separate or gratuitous. There is no time. Your “decisionary preparation,” must occur in the dojo by drilling the basics with, as O’Sensei would put it, “Honest attack and honest defence,” until the core basics become preconditioned responses that function naturally, not contrived..”

In the time it takes to say, “observe,” “orient,” “decide” and “act,” a real fight will be over and you could well be under.

Jet fighters have different distances and manoeuvres than human bodies engaged in mano a mano survival combat. Try this instead:

Notice, (all the time zanshin)

Intercept, (shortest path)

Enter, (closing the gap and also atemi)

Pivot, (captures flow to kusushi)

N.I.E.P. …and the obvious followup kihon waza, basic technique will reveal itself by itself because of the attack.

Start slowly in training and keep it safe, but in times of true need any speed is possible.

“What’s the difference?,” you may ask.

Decision is the difference. Decisions take calculation and time to process that on the ground you do not have.

Also atemi and kuzushi MUST be part of the flow and not separate or gratuitous. There is no time.

Your “decisionary preparation,” must occur in the dojo by drilling the basics with, as O’Sensei would put it, “Honest attack and honest defence,” until these core basics become preconditioned responses that function naturally, not contrived. All bujutsu, to function, must adhere to this.
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Oct
25

“Paradigm Lost, Paradigm Regained,” by Nev Sagiba

“Aikido is a method of healing the tendencies of contention and augmenting those of harmonious interaction without losing the practicality of survivability.” – “In practical terms, applied Aikido accelerates the rendering of aggression to impotence sooner than it would do so by itself if left unaddressed.”

When you want to fight an opponent who wants to fight you, you have both already lost. No matter the outcome, all contenders will sustain some measure of injury. Some more than others.

This is the “fighting” paradigm, also that of “sporty-fighting.” Contention feeding false ego.

A battlefield warrior, unlike the movies, whilst trained to do business, unless psychologically unwell, tends to prefer no battle will arise. He knows he is a sacrificial drone for other interests and his chances of survival are about even, if that.

Whilst some of the very best strategic lessons are learnt in the battlefield, only a few make it to debrief. Dead men impart nothing. Valuable wisdom is thus lost. If observed by an experienced warrior, mistakes may be able to be harvested to augment strategic capabilities by learning from them.

Some individuals never make mistakes. They “don’t need to train because they already know it all.” These are the living dead but they don’t realize it yet.

The best way to learn is from your own mistakes. The second best from the errors of others.

To learn from your mistakes, you must first place yourself in a position where you can make them, and survive, in order to correct them and move on to clarity of practical understanding. Skill in action. Training is an ongoing pursuit without any end, only incremental progressions.
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Oct
21

“Bucket Lists – Prosper and Live Longer,” by Nev Sagiba

 

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Neale Donald Walsch

“Life and training are not about contest. They are about being the best that you can be for today and helping others be their best.. The contest is with yourself alone. What you practice daily you become good at.”

Star Trek fans will be familiar with the Vulcan blessing, “Live long and prosper…” It’s not just for Vulcans, Earthlings can have it too. Before you kick the bucket, make a list. Then do it. Excuses take too much energy to keep feeding, energy stolen from achieving. Make it a choice to prosper, then set about doing it. I’m not talking about collecting money. That may or may not be a fringe benefit of real prosperity.

Real prosperity is spiritual, physical, mental and social. It is what you give to the world and how you choose to excel yourself. Prosperity is when you don’t cower before life but meet the challenges!

In regular manageable increments you can do anything. Daily installments of any task ensure you will become good at it. You already know how to brush your teeth and drive a car. You got good at these activities by repeating them daily. So too with anything else you may choose.

Many people claim they need to wait, “for ideal times” or “until money to come into their lives” before they can set out to chase their goals. But no time is good enough, the weather is either too fine or too stormy and they, “are too busy right now.” Ideal times never come. (What the heck is an “ideal time?”) If money does come, the irresolute forget their wishy-washy but vociferous “goals” and chase after other things instead.

If you really mean it, the time is now. The day is today. There is no other. There may not be another. You can!

Some years ago someone showed me an article which made sense. Studies conducted in China, showed that over-training led to an early demise approximating that of people who did no physical exercise at all. Moderate, regular activity involving skill seemed to prolong life with quality by as many as 10 to 20 years.

Now because I can no longer find the article and because those studies were made in China, there will be those who will be quick to assert that such information is, “anecdotal.” Indeed. But it is rather obvious. However merely “knowing” it as a concept and doing it are entirely different matters.
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Oct
17

“Aikido’s Ethical Dimension,” by Nev Sagiba

“Aikido is not a better way to fight but a way to make conflict impossible by opening our mind’s eye to the numerous creative possibilities that will obtain equal or better results in all things. And each time we fall, as we will, enables ukemi, to stand up and try again to get it right, to refine ourselves as much as possible.”

Aikido without ethical standards would either revert back to a killing art or degenerate into a meaningless dance.

It would cease to be Aikido and will have become something else.

To aspire to such a vacuous monstrosity would be like saying, “I love democracy but only when I can implement tyranny in its guise.”

A dangerously implosive trajectory indeed.

The Founder’s lofty and unique, but very possible approach to Budo has global implications. Since the world is made up of all its parts influencing the whole, also in daily life. What you do to one affects us all and how we comport ourselves reflects on all of us.

One of the most unhappily miserable individuals I know has spent his life “studying spiritual ways” so that he can better manipulate people in business. He proudly gloats how he, “can screw salesmen out of their commission,” “nails little old ladies to the floor,” and, “can close an evil deal.” He treats women atrociously after often charming then seducing them and is so humiliatingly abusive to waitresses I was sorely tempted to break his nose in public one day.

Each fortune he made, he lost. Each of his marriages failed. He leaves a trail of burnt and suffering people in his wake.

He remains a lonely, frightened, embittered, cheap con man who entirely misses the point of everything! He is still at it.

Such behaviors (including my temptation to punch him) go nowhere. The ancient instincts of the primitive, aggressive, abusive, violent ape are no longer valid for human beings. In the face of the technologies we now command, this “dark side,” if left unaddressed could, by our own hand, render us extinct as a species. This is a matter of serious concern. The power of creation and the power of destruction cannot mix with good results.
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Oct
11

“Why Harmony? – Sword and Explosives – Enlightenment is Dangerous,” by Nev Sagiba

 

 ” “Why did Ueshiba state that his Budo of Aiki, whilst not a religion, can lead religion to completion? Was it arrogant or simply pointing to a vital universal principle that enables the addressing of violence by converting it into harmony instead of contending?”

Why Harmony?

When fighting to restore a compromised harmony it’s not all sweetness and light but can get downright ugly. The wisdom of balance is in knowing when to stop and not become addicted to “action” thereby falling into the dark side and becoming the very problem we sought to solve. That is the risk the warrior protector faces. And yet the Universe tests us all in the front line, in circumstances of life itself, within ourselves, if not the very battlefield.

So, why harmony? Why not any which way?

After all, there have been times when the fittest and cruelest took the day. And everything else they wanted. Then built an empire, after which it became extinct. Nothing was learned and this pattern has been repeating since the first humans.

Why?

Why is it that empires invariably fail to “get it” and then destroy themselves. Aside from the fact that the foundations were rotten to begin with.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that we are an integrated part of a whole. This is not, “deep philosophy” simply common sense. Both science and religion confirm it again and again. Any organism cannot operate against its own integrity and hope to sustain.

This concept of so called “enlightenment” is often portrayed as to be so that when one person’s opinions somehow “get enlightened” they will somehow be separated in a, “better class of beings,” and be able to look down their nose at everyone else. Then that can purchase some extra special cloud real estate in a rest home called Nirvana. Somehow they won’t go mad with boredom. Such thinking is infantile and regressive.
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Oct
05

“Modulate,” by Nev Sagiba

“Problem is most young men want to train “hard,” but end up injuring themselves because they foster the illusion of being “the best in the world.”

“The things that work can’t be practiced.” Oh, really?

Go to any sports fighting manual and there are pages and pages of banned techniques, the things that work. Practice these. The sport stuff is good for sport.

Budo’s aim is to offer valid protection in the face of serious attrition. To practice Budo safely you will have to tone down or modulate your power, tempo and speed, forget about ego and proving and set about learning and improving. Helping each other.

If you don’t have this attitude you cannot practice Budo. More so Aiki Budo, the Aikido jujutsu that works.

Problem is most young men want to train “hard,” but end up injuring themselves because they foster the illusion of being “the best in the world.” An all or nothing approach is self defeating. Excess of zeal causes injuries and can deplete vital reserves needed for recovery and balance.

Old athletes often stop training and become unhappy because they still want to compete. In their mind they still want to contend. But it not about contest rather improving. To be the best that you can be for today is an attitude well worth fostering. There are other, more valuable things that are learnt on the Way of Budo than playing catchup in fighting, rather maintenance, caring, nurturing and protection of life and core values.

Your own mind is a powerful thing. It can make you or break you and it’s never too late for anything. Small steps towards any worthwhile goal will make changes. Persistence is the key. Every day input what you can and you will see results. Tempus fugit. You can never claim back lost time. Don’t use the past as an excuse to miss out on your future while you have time in credit. Even if tomorrow is your last day you can achieve a lot in 24 hours, even 12.
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Sep
29

“Why a Lifetime Study of Kuzushi?” by Nev Sagiba

From time to time I am beset with the realization at what a wonder of nature it is that a handful of dust, only a few litres of water and mostly air has been able to evolve and combine into an instrument of consciousness, sentience and mobility with warmth, feelings, understanding, the ability to be variously creative, make decisions and engage actions that lead to outcomes and consequences both wonderful and also stupid, self defeating and destructive as well.

That this could happen with four supportive posts is which may also provide better balance as well as mobility is easier to understand. Even easier to understand is those which crawl, slither or get about in various levels of aquatic environments.

But upright! Vertically balanced! Now that is some feat!

Learning to walk takes immense persistence for a human being. A process of alternating balancing and unbalancing to provide forward motion which speed may be modulated from a walk to a run. Every single one of us have been through this apprenticeship of a hundred thousand steps and falls before attaining the goal sought: Mobility. Then we spend the bulk of our waking life walking. Some more than others. Once having attained this skill we take mobility for granted and go through life variously useful or otherwise utilizing this ability to convey a head that hopefully thinks with some modicum of clarity balanced on a thin neck on a body most of us fail to care for as well as we devote to the four wheel buckets of rust, plastic and toxic fumes we too often use to convey this marvel of creation. We all too often neglect, abuse and misuse our primary vehicle. This body contains the navigation system – the five senses. The senses are the navigation system for that small portion of the surface of a planet we are privy to. The senses are limited windows having adapted from the Original full spectrum vibratory range (Kotodama) which whilst it embraces the Universe, we are mostly not conscious of, but which enables us to sustain a vast array of functions which allow life; body temperature, breath, sleep and other essentials for life suitable to this fragile surface environment.

Appreciation for this temporary gift is mostly attained by those who lose it. Remember the Big Yellow Taxi song?

In dotage, the reminder then returns like a nemesis, “From dust thou came and to dust thou shalt return.” This skill of balancing upright then becomes a burden and Nature begins to reclaim Her own, landed to us mostly unappreciated as we again begin to meet the Great Earth Mother with regularity. In life were too busy with “me” and other mindless roller coaster rides to care when it was possible to do so safely and to practice this skill as a personal discipline that will serve us in times to come: Ukemi. Time and gravity, the great juggernauts bring about our judgement during our seeming departure.
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