There are no rules!

Really, seriously, think about it, really really, imagine a world with no rules. none whatsoever. Anarchy? or Eutopia? Have it either way, there are still structure has to how anarchy or eutopia is to happen. There are still ‘rules’ in which aids in our making sense of both phenomenons.

But there are ‘principles’, what I call ‘schemes of life’. These schemes are interconnected, inter-related, and interactional. Rules are what we design to make sense of these inter-ness of things. And what we design to aid us, instead confines us. Rules are what we perceive as  a minimum consistency in these schemes of life. And yet, these consistencies, or rules, fail us, in both big and small ways. A stock market is a good indication of our failure. Our training in an Aikido dojo is also a signal of this failure.

So why rule? Rules helps us make sense of things and keeps us safe, and make things ‘fair’. Safe from what, and fair for who? No matter how safe we make things, we can never be safe from ourselves, and we can never find fairness in anything out there, someone will always have it better, many, worse. So what good is rule then?

So why rules? Let’s explore this from another angle. Rules maketh the expert. Experts are experts because they know the rules well, to make them, break them and work around them. But more often than not, the experts are only as good as the rules that defines their discipline. They become masters in life, and not master of life.

The defense is that, well, at least we are good at ‘One’ thing in life. After all, all paths lead to the mountain top, as the common saying goes. But in life, the mountain top is as good as the valley. A well trodden path, to the top is nothing more than a feature of a mountain. Life wants from us, is not the mountain top, we are where we are and our existence counts. It is not the journey, we are the journey, it is not the destination, we are the destination, there is no fight, unless we are fighting, there is no peace, other than the peace we manifest from within us. Life wants from us, is to be the mountain, and let the mountain be us.

Life is a matter of related-ness. How good we are are relating, will determine how good our experiences will be. There is simply no rule as to the ‘how-ness’ in our ability to relate. we simply relate, openly, unconditionally, and unequivocally. Rules are conditions, and conditions will never allow a full experience of life. It keeps us safe, safe from life.

So with no rules, then what governs us? if we think governing, we are still thinking rule. Life has only consequences, the ‘effect’ part of cause and effect. Everything has a net sum, and then the net sum of the net sum, then the net sum of the net sum of the net sum. Ift simply piles on, one consequences after another. So what rule can we draw when every consequences is unique on its own, with little or no bearing of resemblance on the past? With rules, we try to make sense of the senseless.

Paradoxically, it is in a mental state that we can experience the ‘No-rule’ state. Our physical body will always be governed, in one way or another, the law of physics, we are much more limited physically than mentally, psychologically and spiritually.

And yet, without this physical body, we cannot experience the state of no rule. without the limitations of our physical body, we cannot embrace, the state of freedom-ness. In this duality, lies our suffering, and in the same duality of being and non-being, we are given the experience of freedom. Both goes hand in hand, there is no separation, there is only suffering when one tries to exist without the other. when both are in sync, humans experience the unity of the cosmos.

When we train and think about the fables, telling us about ‘O’ sensei’s experiences in enlightenment, “three instances of spiritual awakening that Ueshiba experienced. The first happened in 1925, after Ueshiba had defeated a naval officer’s bokken (wooden katana) attacks unarmed and without hurting the officer. Ueshiba then walked to his garden and had a spiritual awakening.

… I felt the universe suddenly quake, and that a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one. At the same time my body became light. I was able to understand the whispering of the birds, and was clearly aware of the mind of God, the creator of the universe.
At that moment I was enlightened: the source of budo is God’s love – the spirit of loving protection for all beings …
Budo is not the felling of an opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world to destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature.” (Source:

He describes it as an earth shaking event. Out there I’m sure, are many who also experiences these supreme mental states, in their lives. O sensei’s experiences is beyond words and yet limited by words. What he experience is a state of no rule, where all form and functions merge as one. He sees one, he sees all, which explains why he can take on multiple attackers in such a fluid movement. Physical movement can never be faster than a single clear, unwavering mental movement. He is able to move mentally faster than any one else, as he doesn’t think, he does need to adhere to the rules, he move free, free from rules. He moves faster than us, because we are more impeded by our thoughts than he is. He relates to us, by him, relating to himself faster than we, relating to ourselves. This is because he has no rules, or less rules than we have in us. He is one, he is us, and when he is us, we can never beat him, because he is us. That is the magic of O sensei. He is one with everything and anything he comes into relation with.

That is why Aikido is so easy to learn and so difficult to master, precisely because we constantly create rules for ourselves, and test these stupid self made rules, and once they are robustly tested, we make them irrefutable. we often make rules not knowing the principles behind these rules. The rules are the surface, the principle and consequences are below, deep schemes of life. Once we can understand the scheme of life, rules are no more, we no longer need to enforce. Energy is more spend going with the ebb and flow of life, and let the scheme of things take care of us, just as we take care f the scheme of things.

Remember, There are no rules!


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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