Archive for July, 2009


I had an ‘A-ha!’ moment in class the other day. It was the culmination of a few things I experienced in a number of recent classes, and it all fell into place like a jigsaw puzzle:

Sensei had been focusing on the connection that occurs when we apply a technique, and gave us the opportunity to see how maintaining that connection through our grip when we apply a control will transmit the energy of one unified body to another in a powerful way, making techniques seem effortless.

Now, I ‘knew’ this already, but of course it always helps to be reminded and to practice it mindfully to keep it fresh; what I had overlooked was this:

When the connection with your partner is clear, there is a two-way communication link that transmits far more than physical information. One can also feel the transmission of mental/emotional/spiritual states as well. This reveals a greater realm of possibility when dealing with someone who is out of control. By maintaining your self-control and allowing your partner to feel it via the physical connection, the potential for reconciliation increases exponentially.

It’s communication through connection.

Of course, this is true off the mat as well. (You knew that didn’t you?)

In the same way that a four-year-old throwing a tantrum needs to feel your calmness, someone trying to bonk you on the head with a beer bottle needs to feel the same thing, because like the four-year-old, they’ve lost control too. You can share your ‘groundedness’ with them through the physical connection of the control you’re applying. And there are infinite ways to establish this type of communication, even without an aikido technique:

Anything we can do to strengthen our connection with the people around us, especially when conflict arises, will pave the road to better communication and resolution. Maintaining eye contact, mirroring body language and keeping in contact through touch will build a rapport that is very powerful, allowing the people you are in relationship with to feel you, and in times of need, to feel your self-control.

Give it a try, you may be surprised at the results.

Wishing you many ‘A-ha!’ moments,



Just a Small Band…

A-D and I were on the sidelines taking a breather from some jiyu waza practice last Saturday. As we watched the action on the mat, we hit on the idea that it would be great to have a small stage band to add sound effects when we practice jiyu waza. Imagine this:

A cellist to play the “Jaws” suspense theme (or a raw-throated singer to caw the ‘war cry’ from “High Plains Drifter”) while the partners stand in kamae waiting for the command to begin… 

A bongo player to beat a tattoo while uke runs in to attack…

A cymbal crash as the titans clash… 

A tympani ’boing’ as shite throws uke

More cymbals as uke lands and rolls (or bounces)…

An ironic sigh on the trombone as filler while the participants cue up for the next pass…

And of course at the end of the practice, two giant hooks would come out to pull the clowns, er, I mean aikidoka, off the mat.