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Showing posts from April, 2012

It Matters

The way you think really affects your ability to do things.

Apple Pie Aikido

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I made the apple pie in this picture. When it was finished I had to laugh. It looks so good with that perfect, flaky, whole wheat pastry crust. Unfortunately, I used apple slices that had been too long in the freezer. The pie was inedible!

Sensei uses this metaphor to describe technique. He'll throw someone with big, flamboyant movements, with his arms and fingers extended and a mean look on his face. Then he does the same thing, only this time he tells uke to resist. Impossible! The technique looks great until uke resists, and then we see that it's ineffective. Just like the apple pie, beautiful, but not what it seems.

Then Sensei will do the technique again, only without the showmanship: more relaxed, with correct internal feeling. Amazingly powerful. No one can resist. And he can throw hard or soft, throwing large, flexible and fast people, or small, inexperienced beginners, all with the same effect. I've watched this in person, I've watched on videotape, I've e…

Positive Mind

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When he teaches aikido, Sensei talks about positive mind. Positive mind is one of the four basic principles of Kokikai Aikido. We usually think about positive mind in two ways.

The first is feeling confident, believing in yourself, and letting go of any thoughts about "I can't" or "I'm weak" or "I'm not good enough" or "This isn't going to work out well for me." That's the idea Sensei is most likely to talk about when he teaches. When he says "remove impurities," he's talking about something like this, rather than something your Sunday School teacher might have said!

The second way of thinking of positive mind isn't really different, but we tend to think of it as different, because we don't usually pay attention to how the mind and the body are connected. This has to do with the way your state of mind affects your body. You can see directly how this is true. Stand up in your best, natural stance (if you…