016) Week of December 14, 2008: Communication and Conflict

People in conflict with one another are actually communicating with each other.  Granted, it is not a form of communication that most people would choose to engage in, but it is communication none-the-less.  If we view conflict within this paradigm, then we can explore how and what we communicate in this type of interaction.

I have frequently said in class that just because somebody is coming to hurt you, does not mean that you can not greet them with love!  This is not some idealistic fantasy, but a way to try and get across the possibility of connecting, communicating and utilizing positive energy in the face of negative energy and communication.

When people engage in negative interactions, they know how to respond and react to this negativity.  If a person acts in a manner that does not fit within this negative communication cycle, the other person is frequently thrown off of the “game plan.”  This could be simply smiling at the person, or agreeing with what they are saying.  This process works with physical responses as well.  When a person is physically attacking another person, fighing or retreating result in predictable responses from the attacker.  If the attacker receives something other that these predictable responses, the attacker’s repertoire of attacks frequently falters.  If the attack does not result in a tension-based, impact, the law of inertia will apply and the attackers force will frequently end up unbalancing the attacker.  If you have entered into the attacker’s personal space by putting out positive energy, you can counter, strike, unbalance, or throw the attacker without the attacker being able to respond and react in a timely manner.  These are just two of examples of a host of possibilities.

When we are executing techniques and they begin to falter, we can look within ourselves and see where we have suddenly started communicating unnecessary tension to the attacker, which signals the attacker to effectively react and respond to the technique.

Aikido is not an art that is filled with complex, unique sets of physical movements that make it an effective art.  Aikido is difficult because it is necessary to remain positively connected to an attacker in order to execute effective techniques.  This process of maintaining positive communications within a hostile environment is very difficult.  We need to remain centered, focused, connected and positive.  We can then “listen” to what is being communicated to us so that the technique emerges and is executed effectively.

This week, lets focus in on how and what we are communicating when we are practicing in the roles of nage and uke this week.

Marc Abrams Sensei

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