It’s Too Easy!

On a wall or door in the Iwama Aikido Dojo, when Morihiro Saito Shihan was alive and teaching, there was a handwritten note to the students not to block techniques, nor to use force.

If you are in perfect harmony with another person then you should be able to avoid, get around any strength and power and this was the purpose of the teaching.

Bearing this in mind, I was teaching an Aikido class not too long ago and we were attempting to do katate dori ikkyo omote and ura. This is where your wrist is grabbed and held strongly and the peresumption is a strike is coming so you move 90 degrees to the persons side, deliver a strike on the way and take the person off balance a bit.

All that is done as one move. It all happens together. With this particular student I started showing him how to get around the first point of conflict which was the grip. Having moved to the side you need to turn at an angle so as to avoid pushing into his strength and power and be able to drive across his front.

There were several more points like this on the way to pinning the person. I showed him enough until he was able to do that smoothly without clashing with his partner and when he was kneeling and pinning the person, he looked up at me and said:

“Its Too Easy”

We are so used to the idea of working hard as being the best way to accomplish something, pushing against something, a difficulty, that we can find ourselves in no mans land, unfamiliar territory when we can do something with ease and wonder if its too easy.

The learning is in the “How ” we do that. How to move precisely to accomplish that and then turn back bringing their arm over, make a step across their front and then pin them.

Quite an experienced student was having trouble and resorting to using strength to get around the other person’s own strength. Matching strength against strength. Conflict and their way to deal with this is to respond with strength. He wasn’t getting anywhere except when he could use enough of his own strength to overcome the other person. Basically they were in a fight. Strength against strength. This not Aikido. If you feel you have bumped into that strength then it’s time to look for the path of no resistance which, as Saito Sensei always said, is in the use of the hips and the angles.

This is how we have been brought up, learning to be physically strong and using that strength to overcome opponents. It is celebrated in our society, working hard which often means low pay, long hours a lot of which are unpaid. Politicians talk about “hard working families” and how they should be rewarded but are not.

This physical conflict appears in our lives in the form of disagreements and conflict and not knowing how to deal with theses situations. Some of our role models like Politicians are continually in conflict and an extraordinary example of this is in the House of Commons where they are literally shouting at each other and a lot of their “arguments” are at the level of identity, in other words criticisms about who they are as a person rather than their behaviours, i.e what they are doing.

Learn good communication skills and how to negotiate. You need the former to do the latter. I haven’t seen any negotiation skills from this Government. Threatening and telling the other party what they are going to do, or they will walk away, is certainly not in the field of excellence in regards to negotiation.

So for anyone interested in knowing about the underlying structure of excellent communication so you can get your message across without conflict and can then also exclaim: “It’s Too Easy” check out my book “Mutual Mindfulness”.

But you are free to accept or refuse.