Not Always So

The definition for Aikido for me is always changing. for the sake of the uninitiated, it si commonly explained as ‘art of harmony’. The ‘Gentle martial arts’. Opponents ‘blend in’ with each other. ‘using your opponent’s’ force against him’. etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…


I coined this phrase from my psychology lecturer many years ago. In Aikido, nothing really is what it is supposed to be. the nature and design of the art means that no two technique is the same. this sounds so much like a no brainer, but really, it never is the same, because out feelings and sensation change. muscles fatigue with repetition,  dehydration through excessive sweatng. different postiion in the dojo produces different lighting. heck, even the mat feels different at differnet parts of the dojo.

So with all these variables, are you so sure that you can depend on yourself when the time comes? so it really depends on everything that makes the situation, understanding our dependency on the external helps us appreciate what it can do for us and what we can do about it. it is never about me, it depends.


Suzuki Roshi uses this three words to define Buddhism.  It’s universality allows us to appreciate Aikido’s principle as it is. Is Aikido really a ‘harmonious’ art? not always so. Any serious Aikidoka will tell you it is a constant struggle with our uke and being a uke, it is always a constant struggle to blend in with the nage. Even with our partners deliberately cooperating with us, we still struggle to blend and harmonize.


Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. that’s life. Life and nature has no consistency. A tree looks like a tree, but no two tree is identical. Everything is a ‘maybe’, that is why it is scary for me to tell people what Aikido is. People want forms and function to distinguish this from that. they want to see pros and cons. good and bad. duality helps people decide quickly, nevermind that it might be a shallow deicision.

Call me wish washy, sitting on the fence. My answer for Aikido does frustrates the hell out of a lot of people and sometimes I’m just as frustrated, but I’ve practice long enough to know that sometimes its not that bad sitting on the fence, because the view is actually quite nice from that high up, and sometimes the fence is all we’ve got to sit on. It depends, really.


About Who is Randy Lim

This blog is about the journey and experiences in my life as an Aikidoka. With close to 20 years in the arts, I'll make comments and judgements based on 2 principles, E&E. Experimentation and Experiential reflection. please enjoy, and comment freely.
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