Focus, Intention, and the Value in the Pause.
“Breathe in,” Sensei said as he raised his sword to the sky, aligning it with his midline as if it were a lightning rod. “Imagine drawing energy down this line, to concentrate it here,” the sword sunk into a ready position, held at the hara, the physical center of the body.
“Hold your breath.”
I did as directed, closing my throat to prevent the air escaping. The breath did not want to be held. It strained against my upper chest, begging for release. Internally I squirmed, waiting for Sensei to move, to give the signal to release the energy I was struggling to hold in my lungs and in my sword.
Breath is Energy
Kokyu the Japanese word for breath, is used synonymously with energy, power, and spirit.… Learn MoreRead More
There is another way.
Recently, I was introducing Aikido to a student who came to try out the Kids Aikido class. While practicing our basic tai no henko, he looked at me and asked, “and then do you break their arm?”
He was not joking, nor did he show any hint of malice. It’s not that he wanted to see an arm broken, it just seemed to him the logical next step in that situation.
The boy is not unusual in this. Another student trying Aikido for the first time last week, this one an adult, saw an opportunity to punch for the face during a similar exercise. Instinctually she felt the urge to strike, but did nothing to address the fact that uke had a controlling grasp on her arm.… Learn MoreRead More
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More than any other chore, I enjoy dusting and sweeping. It’s simple, relaxing, powered only by my body and a simple hand tool. No spraying or scrubbing, no loud noises.
That doesn’t mean I do it more often. Dusting never seems as urgent as dishes, or laundry, so I tend to neglect it.
This week I traveled to Virginia to be an uchideshi, a student living in the dojo to work and to train. For my personal responsibility, I chose to maintain spaces that required more dusting and sweeping than the other spaces. I believed the meditative quality of the work would be good for me after intensive training. I then discovered the dilemma of clearing cobwebs.
As I cleared the cobwebs from the sunroom on the first day, I felt a growing satisfaction.