Aikido and the Body
One of the most misunderstood aspects of aikido is its relationship with the body. When I first started aikido it was considered a form of mind/body harmony. I have found over the years that most things in the world have become very mind-based, including some aikido. So what exactly is the body and how does it relate to aikido?
The body is a gateway to the more of things. Training in aikido is body based, or experiential, but it does not necessarily have anything to do with making the body superhumanly strong. A serviceable body is a good thing, although limitations can be overcome. Mainly, the body space contains and does not negate the mind, whereas a very mind-based approach does not necessarily include nor is supposedly supported by the body. It is common in class for a student of any level to freeze, waiting for his/her mind to understand before moving. Another common scenario is for the student to watch what is being taught, totally understand it from the position of observer and yet not be able to do the movement once he/she is back out on the mat.
It is possible to view the body and the mind as forces or energies that, when harmonized, synergistically produce something called flow or power. One may also argue that this state of body/mind unity is actually a more original state of being that existed prior to the separation of body and mind into duality. In aikido we strive to polish this connection to this more original self.
So my vision of aikido is a place one can come to get back in touch with this more original state. This involves recognizing the body as a force or intelligence that is equal to the mind. The journey of aikido is not simply the learning of forms but is a return to the core of our being. Where do we find that core? In the body and through the process of training.
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