Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to stay young by playing at aikido

I have always been interested in ways that I could practice aikido solo. I'm constantly inventing solo aiki games to keep myself amused. Games like...
  • walking on curbs or parking stripes like on balance beams
  • standing on one leg whenever waiting on something
  • walking in synch with the person in front of you on the sidewalk
  • pushing doors open with unbendable arms
  • rolling around corners and doorframes as if evading an attack
  • stepping offline to the outside anytime you shake hands with someone
  • maintaining ma-ai when standing in lines
  • dancing the Charleston whenever you're waiting for something
  • tsugiashi back and forth, evading your reflection as you brush your teeth
  • dropping a ball and tsugiashi, planting your foot as the ball hits
  • getting out of bed the same way you would roll to standing from the floor
  • hopping, skipping, or galloping instead of walking
I think the gist of this is that it is a healthy behavior to play. At some point, children grow up and stop playing and that's about the time they start dying.  Get to playing.  Don't stop playing just because you're allegedly grown up! You should be constantly trying new things that test and stretch your skills and abilities and knowledge in strange and interesting ways.
When you screw something up because you were playing around, the wrong response is, "I'd better not do that again!" The correct response is, "Hmmm, That was weird!"
This sort of play will make you a better aikidoka (or judoka or karateka) and it will help keep you young.

Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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