where you at?

First of all, this is the first post on AikiLiving’s own site.  No longer under the guise of wordpress, I hope to have a little more freedom to improve the site in time.  Feel free to subscribe via RSS and get updates as soon as they go out.  I want to thank everybody for their support and kind words about AikiLiving.  It’s a joy for me to write about the great experiences I’ve had in the beautiful art of Aikido and how they’ve assisted me off the mat as well.  As always, if you have anything you’d like to share on AikiLiving, email it to me at aikiliving@gmail.com and I’d love to take a look at it.  Always looking to improve, if you have any ideas or constructive criticism, please email me those ideas as well.

I’ve written about this a bit before, but it’s amazing how much time we spend “outside” of ourselves. By “outside” I mean being caught up in trying to be somewhere, somebody, or something else.  Feeling like we’re just not in our power, and maybe we can finagle whatever situation we’re in if we were more like so-and-so, or working at “x” company, or if we just had “x” amount of money.

These are just a few specifics, but what I’m talking about is that lingering feeling of uneasyness and not-quite-enoughness that so often comes up.

This feeling of resistance bubbles up in full force during moments of conflict and struggle.  It comes up in more minute portions when we’re daydreaming or in that floundering state during times of boredom and uncreative idleness.  Not sure about you, but it easily creeps up on me the moment my head hits the pillow at night and I start feeling uber-nervous about the most minute b.s. going on in my world.

How often do we see someone who impresses us, whether it be another family member, friend, public figure, or even a complete stranger, and try to kind of model ourselves after them, if even in a small way?

Role models can be a good thing at a certain level, but they can also be kind of dangerous past a certain point, and I think it’s important to keep this in perspective.

The whole role model thing may work in times of ease and comfort, and while practicing our craft, but when confronted with an uneasy situation, or at worst a traumatic situation, this false veneer of character fades away as fast as it came.

It is during these times where we can find the absolute strength we have available to us by digging down deep within ourselves to find the energy necessary to deal with said situation in our own authentic way.  Digging down deep may be a wrong way to put it, as I’ve found that it’s more like a relaxing and sinking down deep within our own character.

Each of us is an authentic individual that, if allowed, has our own authentic, crazy potential.

Going to this place is scary because we are reaching for something unpredictable, something we haven’t seen or experienced before.  This is where true authenticity comes from.

It’s an act of creativity, not re-creativity or duplicity.

I, personally, have had several crazy, stressful moments at work lately.  One of these times was probably the most stressful day I’ve ever had in my industry.  It was a day where several people walked up to our staff and went off.  Not to get into details, but the situation at hand was one we saw coming and there wasn’t much we could do except for prepare as well as we could and hope for the best.

Most of the customers were fine, but there are always a few of the more outspoken ones that like to keep their title of head jackass of the bunch.  During their venting, I recognized what was happening, and followed a basic principle of Aikido or two, which were, keeping conscious focus on my center (located an inch below the navel), and keeping weight underside.

This physical centering trigger assisted my mindset to become centered as well, and after absorbing the energy from the monster in bermuda shorts and a goofy hat (I work at a golf course), I was able to reply in a relaxed but assertive, authentic, and very real way.

It was kind of scary because I hadn’t replied like I had replied in similar situations in the past.  Not that anything was necessarily wrong with the way I’d been reacting before, but those were different times.  This was a new situation.

People have crazy B.S. detectors and when we come from a place of authenticity and strength, people can feel that instantly.  Keep in mind that this is a golf course, not an emergency room, and I knew my new friend would be okay.

After calming down and getting on the golf course, albeit quite a bit later than they had intended, I saw them halfway through their round and they all were having a fantastic time.  After looking back, I can think of a couple things I could have done differently, but felt how powerful this Aikido principle is at first(ish) try.

Think of all the times we see someone perform an Aikido technique that looks perfect.  We see this, and we go over and try to move just like that.  All we’re thinking about when doing the technique is looking like that.  This may work fine with a nice training partner, but when we go to, say, a randori where multiple attackers are coming in at us fast, this beautiful persona is usually thrown to the wayside and we don’t have the luxury of making it nearly as beautiful.  We just don’t have time.  What we do (usually) have time to do is get into our center and create whatever we can according to what may be happening.  If we’ve worked on our Aikido enough, things will come naturally and faster.  We can’t worry about if our technique looks like **insert whatever Aikido role-model’s name may be at the time here**.  When we try to mimic the way someone else deals with conflict, walks, talks, does Aikido, dunks a basketball, or does anything really, it’s very comfortable because it’s familiar and all we have to do is, well, plagiarize it..

What I’ve observed is that these people we sometimes try to mimic are usually the ones who are authentic and original.  This is what makes whatever they do appealing.  The catch is, if we see it and do it like they do, it’s not authentic anymore and you’re, not to sugarcoat it, basically copying them.  Of course, when just starting anything, all we can do is mimic.  Getting out of the mimic phase as soon as possible and into the creation phase, getting into our unique body and mind, and becoming who we are in our own way is an exciting but scary thing.  Sink down deep and finding our true potential is something we can always work on and grow with which will pay off greatly for us, as always, both on and off the mat.  It’s powerful to realize there’s nothing we need to change, force, or manipulate.  It’s all there waiting to be tapped into if we consciously relax into it and allow it to express itself through us in our own unique way.


  1. Exactly. When I spoke recently of “making Aikido my own,” I had exactly this in mind. I wasn’t doing it for anyone else, or wasn’t trying to emulate someone’s Aikio. This is different than learning from the method of another, in this case, you’re using your own template and inserting another method—-especially useful for new things.

    Love the new site layout, Jonas! Ganbatte ne. 😀

    • Jonas Ellison on

      Yeah, that’s hard to do (with anything really) to come from a completely original place. Glad ya like the layout. Still messing with it..

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