Saturday, April 01, 2006

Surrender and Win

My kids take Aikido, the purely defensive martial art based on the life of the Samurai. It is fascinating to watch. My friend recommended this art for a host of reasons which I may cover another time.

One thing you learn in Aikido is to expend very little effort while defending yourself. When attacked, you use the aggressors energy against him with leverage.

A key part of the training is to not fight. Flow. Stay balanced. Centered. Go with the Flow.

When attacked our key instinct is to ball up our fists and dig in and fight back--if we have healthy self-esteem anyway. If we don't, we take the punches like a sucker and get beat to heck.

A third way is to flow. In a state of awareness surrender ground, move slightly, turn gently with intention, let go--let the opponent fall, grapple, punch while you evade and use all their force against them. By gum, it works, too.

This is truly one place where size does not matter. More force expended means the receiver has more force to use--against the unwitting attacker himself.

In Aikido they will have what is called Randori. The "victim" stands in the middle of two, three, four, five, then six attackers. Dodging, weaving, turning, evading, disarming, neutralizing.

How often do you feel that you have only two choices in conflict? Either you're the punching bag or the boxer? It doesn't have to be this way. When you let go of the goal of domination, having to be right, and simply wish to protect your self, idea, or project from brutality long enough to communicate sense and/or your point of view, you open yourself to other possibilities.

When in conflict, surrender some ground, refuse to expend worthless energy, be very conscious of the message you wish to transmit, let the barbs flow over you, move and surprise the person by not giving them a fight, but stick to your position.

Can you do this? It takes training, just like Aikido. Our instincts for survival often have us flopping like fish in a net and our instincts often get us killed in the process. We struggle, pull away, push back and get tangled in a demise in which we ourselves participate.

Surrender and Win.

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