Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sometimes Things Are Not What They Seem.

Here's a little story that shows that things are not always as they outwardly appear. 

This situation arose recently while I was teaching an aikido class. I was generally keeping an eye on the room while I conferred with my co-instructor. I noticed Andy and Raul were looking towards me, not practicing. I walked over. "What's up?"

Andy: "We're having some trouble with the shomenuchi attack." (Shomenuchi is a strike to the top of the head, based on a traditional sword strike.)

Me: "What do you mean? You don't know how to attack shomenuchi?" 

Andy:  "Apparently not..."

Suddenly I realized:  Andy wears a white belt; he has practiced regularly for several years, but in another style of aikido. Raul is a blue belt who was wearing street clothes because he had just returned after a year away and didn't have his uniform. Each one thought the other was the beginner. Each one was asserting his point of view as correct.

After a little explanation to both parties, (apparently the shomenuchi attack is different in Andy's school,) the situation was resolved. 

I should say that both of these men are wonderful human beings and dedicated to their practice. Here they offered quite a beautiful vignette of how conflict can arise: each one was momentarily invested in asserting his identity (I know I look like a white belt, but.../I know I am only wearing street clothes but...). Neither was able to soften and widen his perspective to see the real situation. Thank you both!