We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.
Training in Aikido is fundamentally about unifying our mind, body, and spirit in pursuit of our life’s ambitions (whatever they might be). In our practice we often use our bodies to better understand how to approach obstacles we face in daily life or how to comport ourselves mindfully and energetically and thereby better flow with the routine. At a recent class, with some of our more advanced students, we took an opportunity to explore this more intentionally than we often do. In this, each person considered a challenge they were personally experiencing, and then each worked to find a physical posture that provided a similar feeling. From there, we applied the principles of ukemi: finding our centers, moving intentionally to a safer posture, and then to a posture where we were again prepared to engage. This was a slow and deliberate way of stepping through a process by which we explore both physical discomfort and the physical movements that help us transform a challenging situation into one we can more effectively address. It was simply doing one Aikido art slowly and mindfully, or at least doing the ukemi for one art.
Every time we take ukemi, and every time we practice an art, our bodies, minds, and sprits are learning from the experiences. When we apply greater intention to our practices and accept them as a way to learn how to transform what is uncomfortable (or even painful) into feelings of safety and confidence, we are preparing to apply this learning in our daily lives.
By Nate Weed