Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bad Start, Good Finish

This morning on the way to class I nearly got into an accident. What
the hell? I was not mentally alert, and began making a right turn on
red with the oncoming traffic making a left at the same time. It was a
struggle to get out of the house on time and I showed up to class 5
minutes late, which I hate. In fact, I almost thought about blowing it
off completely, but this being my only opportunity to practice this
week, I couldn't miss it.

Once I got on the mat, however, it was all better. Sensei started us
off slowly, as we had a new beginner (yay!), and it being 7AM I'm pretty
slow to begin with. I also like to hear the beginner explanations of
techniques, the underlying principles, as I have forgotten a lot of
these little details over the years.

I was fortunate to take ukemi (falling) for Sensei twice today, a treat
for me. By the end of class I was awake and felt good. This is how it
should be.

Then there was last Friday's class, weapons, which I have little
experience in, especially sword work. I had the feeling I was not quite
getting it, and it was a bit embarrassing. In morning class, you cannot
hide! There were only 3 of us. It is a challenge to be a beginner.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Last week Sensei asked us: why do we practice kokyunage? Kokyunage
refers to a group of techniques called "breath throws" or "ki throws".
They aren't practical techniques from a martial arts perspective, though
the principles of ki flow are universal and can be used in a practical
situation. To paraphrase his answer:

O Sensei (the founder of aikido) wasn't into technique at all. He was
beyond technique. One of the things he focused on was purification. So
you could say that when we practice kokyunage, we are "burning our
karma", as an exercise of purification. If we are already pure, we burn
others' karma.

From my perspective, any group of people working together form an
energy field, or more accurately, a set of interacting energy fields.
In aikido, we are constantly working together to bring our energy to a
place of harmony and peace.