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It takes two to tango

Photo courtesy of Sebastien B.
Here's a very fundamental consideration for soft (perhaps you call them internal) martial arts like aikido and judo- strength is not a unilateral quality. Strength requires an object to be expressed against.
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Any time you feel like your partner is too tense, too strong and forceful, consider that it takes two to tango. If you were yielding and flowing properly it would not even be possible to feel his strength because there would be no object for his strength and tension to direct itself against. If you feel like you are getting into a fight or a struggle with uke, it is perfectly within your capacity to end that struggle - by not struggling against him.
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Sometimes you'll have certain practice partners that you naturally jive with and that you flow well with, and other times you'll have partners who you don't flow so well with - who you seem to naturally clash with or struggle against. It's like there are some people who are so damned strong that they make you have to be strong against them.
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Not so! Consider that they might just be reflecting your own strength back onto you! Such a partner can be an opportunity to look within for the discontinuity that is amplifying the struggle between you and them. It takes two to tango!
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Patrick Parker, is a Christian, husband, father, judo and aikido teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282
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