Friday, February 23, 2007

Magical aikido

Strange paradox of the day: It seems that the people that stay in aikido for a long period of time are the ones with the most intense desire to be able to do magical aikido like they see the highest ranked people do. However, as you progress, your ability to do magic seems to be inversely related to your desire to do magic. Put another way, in order to be able to do magic aiki you have to lose the desire to do it.
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I can remember times when I’ve seen aikido masters doing aiki that is indistinguishable from magic. I’ve seen many other very, very good aikido masters, but so far as I can remember I’ve only ever seen magical aiki from about two of them. There have been many times that I’ve seen their magical aiki and said to myself, “Wow, I want to be able to do THAT.” Funny thing is, trying to do those magical effects is not aiki. Those guys are able to do the magic because they live the aiki. They have so internalized the aiki principles that those magical effects occur around them more often than around others.
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What does it mean to internalize aiki? Look at what the word aiki means. Ai has something to do with harmony and ki has something to do with energy. Often aiki is translated as something like “coordinated energy” but lately I have preferred to translate aikido as "the art of making peace with the energy in the world." People who are able to do the magical aiki effects are able to make peace with the things going on in the world. They have reduced their desire to impose their will on a situation so they are able to move around with uke and live with the results. They are at peace with the energy around them.
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And that’s real, magical aiki – being able to move so that you can live with uke’s actions.

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