Saturday, 12 September 2009

Aikido Magic at the Strozzi Dojo

For the month, that I am staying in Petaluma, CA, I am going to Aikido classes 3 times a week and absolutely love it. Last week after class, I wrote down the following ...

I experienced Aikido today like music making, as vibrant, flowing, dynamic and magic.
I had this experience of forgetting about my body and just connecting my centre and energy to somebody elses centre and energy....exploring this with curiousity, like tuning an instrument to find the right tone, I tuned in to another persons vibration to find the right tone, to create movement. Not my arms or legs were making the moves and leading the person to the ground but my energy coming from the centre which hit the right tone and found alignment in and with someone else. When this tone was hit and alignment found, it was easy to move the other to the ground without hardly moving your arms or using any strenghts, just coming naturally from your centre of gravitas, your hara or source.

To cope with the moves, I had to almost forget my limbs and focus on my centre and energy flow and welcome the other, connecting to the other persons energy flow (ki). Let the body move as it wanted to move. An amazing experience of intuition and Ki.

There was a lot of magic in my Aikido class, I learned a lot today taking on moves that looked so damn hard. Its amazing how all these experienced teachers and blackbelt practitioners were taking care of me, with much patience letting me experience the moves and also allowing me to try these on them, with the right amount of exploration and guidance, always reminding me to recenter as the core strenghts and reconnect to the flow of the other, feeling into his body, his spine, almost anatomically moving down within the "opponents" body. The more welcoming, accepting, relaxed and connected I was with the other, the more powerful the moves and the falls. The one falling then experienced me as gentle and almost warm towards them, holding in a way but also very powerful in executing the moves.

Aikido is the "Way of Peace," or "Way of Unifying Life Energy" a martial art aimed at harmonizing the body and spirit with the natural forces of the universe. (The Secrets of Aikido, John Stevens). Ai means "to come together, to blend, to join, to harmonize" and ki, which has different meanings but in this context means "spirit" or "disposition".

Aiki as the universal principle that brings all together, reflects the grand design of the cosmos, the union of body mind and spirit and to live together in harmony in a state of mutual accord.
Morihei Ueshiba - the founder of Aikido had a vision of aiki that corresponds closely to to the notions of integritas (wholeness) and consonantia (harmony) in Western Philosophy. Integration between - between body and spirit, self and other, humankind and nature, truth and beauty - is a condition that all people should strive for, and integrity is a moral state as well: those who are whole can act in the best and fairest manner.

Reading this lines again - I feel like Aikido is the context for my stay in California and beyond, as everything that I experience, I find in Aikido and everything that I learn and notice in Aikido, I see show up in life. There is invaluable learning in the moves and the relationship with one another that I experienced in the dojo, that I am looking to integrate into my everyday life. Looking forward to contiuinng the practice in London.

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