What is the centre? We all theoretically knows that “its 2 inches below the naval and all those things”.
What I come to understand about centre is rather unique and personal to me. Yes, geographically, and physically it is located somewhere at our stomach area, by design, that is where our human body’s centre of gravity is, and everything, every being has a centre of gravity. A point where we can find a balance. Even a rock can be balanced if you can find the centre of gravity.
So how does a centre ‘look’ and ‘feel’ like?
I guess it’s kind of like a ball, or spherical item. I cannot imagine any other shape this is as flexible and fluid as a circle. Not only that the centre is circular, it is always in a flux. A kind of vibration that generates and vibrates throughout the body. Because of this vibrating nature, the centre is inherently free, unobstructed. Where there is obstruction, the centre will vibrate free from whatever it is adhered to.
We can hold our centre down. Channel the vibrating centre towards a specific direction. We do that all the time. When we tensed up and get focused in a ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ situation. But the fixation is only good for short-term. When the centre get’s fixtated for a sustained un healthy period of time, and when the centre cannot vibrates freely. And since the centre will vibrates and the vibration cannot be stopped, the energy from the vibration will ‘escape’ and cause unwitting consequences, sometimes good ones, sometimes bad ones.
What I’m trying to say is, even in an Aikido movement, where we got so bent on getting a technique ‘right’ we do it over and over again, determined to get it ‘right’. The more we try the harder we endeavored the worse it turned out. Not only that because we get so fixated, our physical bodily movements cannot operates efficiently and tires quickly compounding the situation.
When we free the centre, the centre will be free to manifest and when a freely manifesting centre is in motion, this motion will engulf centres which are less freely manifested, that which includes our opponents. However the vice versa happens when our opponent’s centre manifests in superior motion to ours.
No matter what happened, if we trust our centre to manifest the form correctly, it will somehow always turns up with a favourable outcome. It is out ego, fear, doubt that holds our centre down, impedes the free movement and the centre cannot do what it is supposed to do.
The centre will knows the positional relativity between us and our opponents, how our hands comes to play to function in facilitating the centre’s movement. If we become overly eager and move the hands in place before the centre is ready, that is where we are weakened with a vulnerable opening.
It is easy to think about it. The magic works when there is ‘no-think’. Like in Aikido, we have a specific waza to do, we think about the waza, we were taught and we use our cognitive faculty to think, remember and rationalize the waza. Once the thinking is done, we must trust that the center will internalize that learning and do what is needful as and when required.
Relaxation is only one part to access our centre. Total relaxation, like what Harry sensei says,’ is to be dead, to practice dead Aikido’. It’s not about relaxation, going limp. It’s about awareness, that is what the centre is all about, being aware. Not about knowing. What we know can never supersede what we are aware of. Knowing is historical, awareness is present. The centre, resides in the presents, and can never be arrested by the past, neither projected into the future.