breaking down boundaries

There’s a certain ‘zone’ or ‘bubble’ when confronted physically which sets off bells and alarms in your awareness that says the other person is invading your space. Not just in all-out attacks, either. This can happen when someone walks to close to you, especially behind you. In aikido, it seems we’re not exactly fighting someone, keeping them out of our space. We’re engulfing everything in our awareness, including the ‘attacker’, and harmonizing with the situation. Keep in mind, ‘harmonizing’ doesn’t mean ‘submitting’. Easy, right?

Knocking down that wall between us and the ‘attacker’ may be essential in being able to do this. Realizing the oneness of yourself and your attacker should help you relax when closing distance with no fear and relaxfully (yep, made that word up) rendering the attack useless. If, when the distance is broken, you freak out, its a lot tougher. Picture in your mind holding two separate magnets, one in each hand. If we try to put them together with the north poles together, they resist, and the closer you put them, the more they fight to stay apart. When we flip one over and put the north and south poles together, they meld easily. What we’re doing is flipping that magnet over in our mind where we attract, not repel. Unite the opposites (attacker and defender). Setting up boundaries naturally repel. This leads to conflict. When we see the attacker as separate, we build a boundary in our minds which creates a mentally-constructed battle. You and the ‘attacker’ are one thing (the negative and positive poles of the magnet). You’re one experience playing out. Recognize the unity of the situation.

Think of the feeling you’d feel if a stranger breaks into your house. The adrenaline rushes as you reach for your gun, baseball bat, spatula, or fly swatter. Your heart’s racing. There’s a stranger in the house. All control is lost and your lizard brain is in full activation mode.

Or, if you’re aiki-psycho enough, you can hear the guy break in. You go to welcome him in with a smile not fearing him, and as he attacks, you maintain that welcoming calm but acute awareness. That wall of resistance the attacker feeds off of is not there and he realizes he’s dealing with a different animal here. Nothing to attack. No feedback for the lizard brain. As most things aikido, easier said than done, but yet another lofty goal of aiki-training. Break down the boundaries in your mind.

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