Why practice Ki-Aikido?
By Jan Baars, instructor Ki-Aikido Haarlem, Netherlands
If you want to reflect on what would be a good way of life (a ‘do’) for you, it is helpful to have some clarity about what is most important in life. This is a question that everybody has to answer for her- or him self. Most important in life are usually the persons you love and the ‘things’ you want to do in your life. In living with these persons and working on what you want to do you may experience a form of happiness or fulfillment. However, in your personal life and in your activities or projects, you will inevitably encounter tensions and conflicts. Especially in such situations it is important to remain calm and to oversee the situation so that you know what to do or not to do. In this respect there is a lot that can be learned from practicing Aikido as such calmness is indispensable to maintain your creative attention.
While being aware of the immediate problem in front of you, it is important not to get stuck in focusing on what is in the way but to project your creative attention beyond the immediate problem. This is also about keeping your own space in all situations, so that you can breathe and act freely without the feeling of being pushed down or frustrated.
Aikido is a kind of moving meditation but it different from meditation practices such as yoga or Zen meditation. Peaceful quietness is practiced in situations in which you are attacked and have to act quickly. This is the meaning of Fudoshin or ‘immovable mind': remaining quiet and stable in the middle of turmoil and confusion.
Becoming stressed in situations of tension and conflict usually means that you lose the clear overview of what is going on. This can have important harmful consequences. You may be able to avoid somebody who tries to push you away but you hit your head against a wall or run away to collide with a car. Or you may do or say something which is out of proportion because you got tense and lost your personal space in overviewing the situation. This means that you will benefit from practicing Aikido in daily life, dealing with the tensions and conflicts that are inevitable in living with the persons you love and doing the ‘things’ you want to do in your life