We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.
In our lives, things can start coming at us pretty fast. Work, family commitments, illnesses and injuries, other demands. Balancing all of that is challenging and often we’re tempted to get stuck on one or more of these activities, even if it’s only temporary. When that happens, it’s typical for another of the demands to start “pressing in” on us.
Our practice is to accept that life is full of energy and full of opportunities and that we can address each of our commitments directly and completely, and then to move on to the next one. This is certainly easier said than done but practice not perfect. First, it’s all about how we frame the situation- when we look at our hand, from the back, with our fingers spread apart, we see that there are five fingers all facing us. However, if we turn our hand so the thumb is facing us, then we see a series of fingers- one, then the next, and so on. The multiple competing commitments in our lives are the same. When we focus on all of them facing us, it’s a lot. Alternatively, if we can find the right angle, then we see one thing, then one thing, and one thing, and so on. Our practice helps us better remember to remain centered, extend our energy, and approach the world with optimism.
During Kangeiko, in February, we practiced randori where multiple uke are trying to grab the nage. For a nage to be successful, they have to find a way to get the hoard of uke to line up. Once that has happened, then it’s a matter of throwing them or evading them in turn, without getting stuck on them. Finally, the nage must keep moving forward- a step backward and the energy can become oppressive.
Beyond the metaphor and training in the dojo, we have a commitment to those around us. As our family, friends, and colleagues are facing this reality, it’s also up to us to support them both by sharing the optimism and by helping them take up the slack as they would like.
By Nate Weed