Being an Uke

‘Give and take’

It is such a cliché. It implies that a person has to forgo something, usually out of generosity and then something else in kind will be returned. So we are expected to give first, because to take first would suggests greed and snobbishness? Besides, generosity is so closely linked to ‘giving’ not taking.

We need to take first, then we can give. without taking, having what we have, we have nothing to give. so how do we take what do we receive? By asking?

No always so. Being a human, part of the larger living scheme of things, we are born to receive without having to ask or expect it. We have received.

Received what? from birth, we are nothing more than the our father’s sperm being received by our mother’s eggs, from there life begins. when we are born, our lungs expand to fill the air sacs with? air, we receive air. We receive food, we receive water. sustenance. did we think about giving then? As a parent myself, the only thing my sons ‘gave’ me most of the time are headaches with their mischief.

Its rather hard at times to draw the line, like my son’s ‘gave’ me a headache. or did i ‘receive’ that headache, which has really nothing to do with my sons then. Sure, they can cause mischief, i do not have to receive it as a mischief, which hence will not ‘give’ me a headache. Such grey area needs careful discernment.

We are always taking things, so much so that we take things for granted, literally. Delve on this deep, it takes (there we go again!) a lot of humility to receive, to ask, to demand, will be the works of the ego. and anything that the ego takes, pales in comparison to the richness we receive when we unconditionally receive. When we are open, reception from nature is spontaneous, and never ‘too much’, neither ‘too little’. there will always be enough resources for us to handle whatever that comes our way. If we intervene, we risk upsetting the flow and disrupting the nature of things.

This is supremely important in Aikido, because all of us begins our Aikido life as uke. The word ‘uke’, 受け, literally means ‘received’. We receive instructions on how to fall, how to be safe in our practice. We receive so much guidance before we can give anything effective as a ‘nage’. without such an elaborate reception from our seniors and teachers, what have we got to give?

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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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