Category Archives: Aikido

尊敬

昨日の合気道の稽古の後、後輩と一緒にかき氷を食べに行き、やっぱり甘いので、喉の渇きが治まらない。それで後輩が店主に水のかかったき氷をひと碗頼んで、それを分かち合った。

「先輩は飲みますか」と聞いた。

「はい、いただきます。」と一口飲んだら、お碗を返した。

後輩が碗を両手で取り、軽く会釈した。その時に、私がお碗をとったときに同じ動作をしたと初めて気が付いた。後輩がそれをまねしただけだ。こういうお碗での飲み物の取り方は一度モンゴルの草原でテントで泊まったときに夕方にウォッカの碗を回して泊めてくれた家族と分かち合ったことで学んだかもしれない。なんだか、されたらすごくうれしい。

 


自分が好きということは正当化する必要がないだろうな。

高校、親が外語の教科書をよく買ってくれたが、ある時に「積分学の成績がそんなに良くないので、あんなに漢字を勉強せず、数学を習ったほうがいいだろう。」といった。

俺が怒って「いや、そんなことないよ。」といった。

でも、一番の親孝行そして自己尊敬で大切なのは自分の幸せに自分で責任を取ること。平静で「これで私が幸せになるから。」といえること。

Aikido: “It’s like surfing.”

I took a co-worker to Aikido practice a few weeks back. He was a complete beginner, but was an accomplished surfer. His body was flexible, and he moved a lot. When I trained with him, it was a good workout.

After practice, he made comparisons with surfing – about how he was reminded of learning to maintain one’s balance, about sensing the momentum of a wave, and moving with it.

He asked me – “Today, everyone was very polite and accommodating to each other. Is Aikido ever nasty?” I told him yes, it is a martial art, and I have been guilty of throwing people hard when they resisted. But at the same time, I expect to be thrown very hard when I resist, and it is very fulfilling.

“People do Aikido for different reasons. We can help each other to become stronger. It can be like a dance. But it is a martial art. Ultimately we are studying how to fight. What about surfing?” I asked.

Well, the thing with surfing is that only one person can ride the wave. Everyone is watching for where the wave will come, and it’s a fight to get to the spot where you can ride it. If you are strong enough and can read the waves well enough, you can be the first one to the spot. When I was learning to surf, we would travel places, and sometimes the local people wouldn’t let us surf. My instructor would get really mad, and sometimes there would be fistfights on shore. But, in the water, there’s little you can do.

I used to do that, too. I was good enough that I could ride the wave whenever I wanted. But now, I don’t think that that is such a fair thing to do.

On Recreating Knowledge

@ Brian H: Yeah – the important thing is to approach with fresh eyes. The importance of questioning things is not to question them for questioning’s sake, but to try to figure things it for yourself. Like Richard Feynman would work on physics problems. He would try to work through a problem himself. If he go stuck, he would open the literature, peek a little ahead, then close the book and continue on his own. This meant he spent a lot of time recreating things that others had done, but allowed him to develop a keen intuition, and sometimes he would come up with a simpler or more intuitive solution.

He wasn’t really so iconoclastic as he was using existing solutions as reference. This is how we train martial arts – in the same way as how Nobel laureates understand their material.

The more we pay attention to norms and standards, the further we get from this sort of organic learning.

This sort of thing should be fun. Not a chore, but recreational.

The Link

I studied Aikido this afternoon with a friend. He is a new to it, and has lots of questions. As we train, I realize that I do not have explicit knowledge of the answers to the questions he is asking. I have been led to them by years of practice and experimentation. Movements in martial arts are those movements that were originally left behind by those that survived wars. They come to us from the deep past, and are largely passed down from person to person. They are not really mine – I only channel them.

I can hold these techniques and movements for awhile, but only while I am alive. They are mainly for me to pass on. I am a vessel for these thoughts. I am the river to gather streams of thoughts and channel them to the great sea of infinite time and space.

I am not the first to think these thoughts, nor shall I be the last.

It is the Lunar New Year, and the Taiwanese believe the ancestors are close. They burn offerings of ghost money to comfort them, they set firecrackers to scare away the restless souls that still wander the earth. I am not afraid of ghosts, in fact I think it would be nice for me to meet the ancestors, and learn how better to use what I have been given.

We are all given a finite time in this world, though we don’t know how long. Today we are just a little closer to the end.

The knowledge of the ancestors comes to me in sensations, some learned, like en-trained reflexes in martial arts. These originated in battle, and have been preserved, refined, and transmitted from person to person in an unbroken chain. Some ancestral knowledge is instinctual – I crave bananas when I am low on potassium, for instance. I know this because in between the time I took my last blood test and saw the results, I ate a lot of bananas. They looked good on the fruit stand, so I bought a lot. When the results came, they showed me that I had been low on potassium. This instinctual knowledge has been passed down to us from organism to organism in an unbroken chain, reaching back through deep time. We are just the latest link.

A prayer to the ancestors while they are close: show us the Way, protect us as you would protect your Legacy, let us channel you in work and in play, remind us that life has just one source, and that we are all children of the common beginning. May all restless souls find a listening ear, and be able to rest in peace.

伝承

火曜日の夜、大学の卒業生に招待されて体育館へ合気道の稽古をしに行った。その学生が先月卒業したばかりで、公務員試験を受け、結果を待っている。その結果で抽選の優先が決まり、台北に残れるかに繋がる。台北に残って、いろいろと武道を体験して稽古したいとのこと。その相手とも、この二年間で稽古をして、同じクラスに出るときにそっちから、「稽古をお願いします」と積極的にきて後稽古を積んできたので、自分の教え子とも思える。

夏は大学が休みに入り、学生クラブがこの間解散で、稽古不足の私。社会人のクラブに行ってもいいけど、良くあるのは話が多い相手と組んでしまい、運動量が足りない。一度、ある道場で「あなたはそうやった運動的な合気道が好きですね」と批判気味に言われた。そうだよ。

大学生だと体力がよくて、まじめで、いい稽古になるから、好き。

こうして、一ヶ月ほど稽古をしていなくて、体育館で生徒と久々にすることができて、嬉しかった。一時間ほどほとんど無言で動いていたら、残りの三十分で道場の端で座った中学生らしい男の子に「ほい、稽古しよう」と誘った。三人で掛かり稽古そして取り受けAB, BA, AC, CA, CB, BC と組んでやった。これも、ほとんど無言。話さないのは相手への敬意。相手を動かせて、自分で気づかせる為に。こうすると技は私から教えるものではなく、私が相手に技に気づかせる為の物となる。師弟関係を敢えて設けない。こうしてお互いの稽古のためになる。

それで稽古の中で印象に残ったのは、中学生に入身投げの後ろ受けのやり方を指導して、相手が少し上手くなって、動きを速くて大きくしたら、相手が受けて、立ち上がって笑った。それまでにはその中学生が皆に無視されて座ってみていた。増して先週にその学生もある先輩と組んで技のやり方はああでもないこうでもないとむやみに指摘された。やっぱり、流れる方が楽しいだろう。

既に仕事で頭と言葉で考える事が多い。合気道は体で考える。その技がでる瞬間で悉くそれまでに組んだ相手の動きが具現する。そして、その動きが相手に伝わり、その人の目録に入る。過去、現在、未来を結びつく瞬間。

その大学生が他所へ行っても、技を持って行く。その中学生が楽しさを覚えて稽古し続けるかも。こうして、少しけれども合気道が広がり、未来へ伝わっていく。

Communion

This is a picture this morning of a tree growing from the fourth floor of an apartment near where I live. Note the person on the ground, for scale. I have a line of sight to this tree every time I enter or leave my apartment.

20160628-004116a

Not a bush. A tree. Apparently, despite my walking by that apartment every day for the past half year, I had not looked up.

Yesterday I had martial arts and dance practice. I was so happy going home that I must have been looking up. Walking differently, carrying myself differently

How simple is the communion of two people engaged in Aikido or dance. It is pure individualized giving – irreducible, clear, truthful, creative, playful, and utterly fleeting. For a time, we can raise each other up to where timing and place are perfect, where mind and body are one, and help each other to be better, fitter, happier people.

Correcting Duck Feet

Since I was a kid, I’ve had outward-turned feet – duck feet. Years of Aikido and dance have helped me to improve my posture, but it’s never gone away. I’ve been experimenting this week with a method that I developed.

When going to bed, get a web-belt, place feet shoulder-width apart, and secure the belt just above the knees. Sleep on your back with feet pointed up. Normally, the feet would be relaxed and splayed out, but with the feet unable to splay out this way,  other parts of the body have to accommodate. Outward rotation of the legs is controlled by contraction of the Sartorius muscle, and the inability to relax it completely can cause duck feet.

Satorius Muscle

from kenhub.com

 

Improper alignment of the legs will cause tension in other parts of the body, because you are no longer balanced on your skeletal structure, but having to use muscle to stand and move. I noticed tension in my shoulders, upper and lower back. The idea is to relax these during sleep and allow them to stretch.

I have also noticed when I sleep  with the web belt affixed this way that I have a tendency to flex my getanden (下丹田) when I shift during the night.

 

getanden

from hkgalden.com

The getanden is the muscle between the navel and the pubic bone. Flexing this muscle is important when doing certain martial arts movements, as it promotes a relaxed upper body, good breathing, and good posture.

So, I conclude that if the Sartorius cannot be fully relaxed, the legs will turn outward. Simply turning them in will pull on the Sartorius and cause anterior pelvic tilt, meaning that your butt will stick out, resulting in more curvature of the lower back (lumbar lordosis ) as you try to compensate. Everything is above continues to build on top of that, so there will be tension in the shoulders and neck.

Gently constraining the legs with the web belt puts the lower body in the right alignment. The Sartorius will be gently stretched as everything else tries to find alignment. Flexing the getanden will then use the extra stretch in the Sartorius to bring the pelvis into vertical alignment, correcting excessive lower-back curvature. This brings the spine into alignment, and the shoulder muscles can relax. I can feel my Trapezius relaxed – I must have been pulling my shoulders up and forward.