While working on the very beginning footwork for my second technique, I was, for lack of a better word, dodging the punch of my uke. (translation: person trying to hit me.) Trading off between Sensei and the other white belt as uke, I kept trying to adjust my movements to make up for their size. (Sensei is a couple inches taller than me, and Giesa-San is a couple inches shorter.)

It wasn’t working. My entry into the technique was never quite “on”, which caused me to try and adjust even more… Which, predictably, made my timing even worse. I remembered something I’d heard Sensei say on a couple of other nights:

six plus four is ten; eight plus two is ten

Suddenly it hit me: if I was standing “here”, uke had to be “here” in order to strike me. It doesn’t matter if uke’s arms are 27 inches long, or 27 feet long, uke’s punch had to be in the same place. To get to “10″ (my solar plexus in the case at hand) uke could move nine feet while I moved one, or could move seven feet while I moved three. Why not let uke do the work? We’ll still arrive at “10.”

I think the common American barroom version of this is, “come git some, asshole!”

Likewise, back outside the dōjō, I can use the same philosophy to arrive at “ten.” If there’s going to be a conflict in life, I have a choice on how to deal with it:

  • I can stay centered, watching and waiting for the attack, while expending very little of my own energy,or;
  • I can charge in headlong, meeting the conflict head-on and expending some amount of my own energy reaching the inevitable conclusion.

In aikijutsu, as in life, there are times to move into the attack. Times to put “2″ or “3″ into their “8″ or “7″ in order to reach “10.” Most of the time, however, it makes more sense to let your opponent do all the work, to let them expend their energy (physical or emotional) while you wait for the time that is best for you to respond and resolve the situation.

In real life, the end-result is a more peaceful, harmonious existence for you; in real-life aiki, the end result is a broken pile of dislocated opponent laying at your feet.

Both are good resolutions.

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