miércoles, 29 de agosto de 2018
Budo and Aikido, as a part of it, embody some philosophical movements very influential in the
development of Japanese culture. I am talking about Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism,
Buddhism, and Zen.
That is the reason why there is a concept that constantly appears in Aikido practice, a concept
that my Sensei, Endo Seishiro, uses a lot and that it was mentioned by O´Sensei, the idea of not-
doing. This concept can be related to other important ideas such as Mushin (no mind) and
Fudoshin (immovable mind). O´Sensei said that Aikido does not have kata and he also said that
not doing does not mean not doing anything at all.
I think that these concepts deserve a very careful attention because they are very important for
our daily practice in the Dojo but also in our practice in life, because we should not forget that we
practice a Do, and that, in a very few words, means that the tatami of our practice is our life and
the roof of it is the sky.
But how not-doing by doing? And how doing by not-doing?
My perception of this Aikido´s Koan (Yamaguchi Sensei said that Aikido is like a koan zen using
the body) makes me consider, in line with my Sensei explanations, that not doing is highly related
with not losing myself in the process of doing.
We can only exercise control over ourselves. When we try to exercise control over other persons,
things and situations we fall prey in a trap of suffering that makes us to fail and to lose quickly our
center in every situation. That also makes us lose our center for years and keep us in an
unbalanced state, full of suffering, that our mind, as a defense mechanism, normalize and justify.
In the tatami relationship between Tori and Uke, the later should bring the energy towards the
former. Uke´s attack and constant presence towards Tori create the necessity of change in Tori
(Ma-Ai, Sabaki, Ki Musubi, Kuzushi...Waza) in order to keep, or bring it back, his integrity. In this
process, Uke and Tori, eventually, melt together since Uke and Tori are bonded to each other
through Uke´s attack and Tori´s attitude of not clashing.
But how is it possible to achieve that while we respect the idea of not-doing? As I said before I
can only exercise control over myself, over my mind and body. It is through a conscious and
active action over myself the only way to change my surroundings, being at the same time
passive and active, and co-create the reality.
In the aiki-meeting, Uke´s energy is looking for me, although my connection with Uke begin before
the contact (at the moment I face him), and I do neither lose myself or try to do something on him,
I only have to keep a not doing attitude and a total disposition to face Uke´s movement.
If we are able to keep a not doing attitude, a quiet mind and a ready body, when Uke´s ki comes
towards me I only have to keep control over my mind and body, and with my movements, I will
recover a balance situation with Uke (e.g. go back to the starting point).
Those choices that we take over ourselves will make changes in a Uke bonded to Tori. That bond
(Musubi) only appears when Uke intention is simply to keep going towards Tori and this one has a
soft contact with Uke, avoiding any kind of resistance, and moves naturally.
In this way Tori´s not doing became a kind of doing based on being. In other words, it is in the
process of keeping a natural, quiet, fluid and alive being, combine with Uke´s attacking intent,
where Waza appears, as a result of that meeting. Eventually, Waza will mean to go back to the
We currently live in a culture where we do not stop doing anytime, where it is regarded as a high
value to keep busy all the time. For that reason, I consider that these ideas that I have been
explaining here, ideas proposed by O´ Sensei, are very difficult to accept.When I observe the main lines of Aikido practicing nowadays what I see it is a very busy, complex
and forced Aikido. I also observe Ukes that instead of going towards Tori they simply wait to
receive a technique which supposedly Tori should do. Sincerely, I do not think that we can find
any idea, thought or action in the practice of Aikido pioneers that would justify this kind of
practice and behavior. If we can pay attention to the attitude of the Ukes of O´ Sensei, Kishomaru
Ueshiba Sensei and Yamaguchi Sensei, just to mention three examples among many others that
can be found both in past and present times, we realize that these Ukes were always going
towards Tori with a powerful and relentless energy.
When Uke does not want to go towards Tori, the idea of not doing will make us to retrieve or to
use some of our Kimochi in order to regain Uke´s intention. It is very important that if we use some
of our Kimochi that must be done in a sustainable way, energetically speaking. Otherwise, in using
too much energy for regaining Uke´s intention we will lose ourselves and instantaneously we
become a Uke that goes towards Tori, changing completely our roles in the system.
Sometimes people ask me: what happen if Uke resists?
If we think about what I said before we can conclude that Uke´s resistance is a failure in the idea
of not doing, because only resist those who are forced to do something, and I truly believe that
Aiki should not force anything.
If Uke does not come, that means that his/her intention towards me died as well as his/her
chances of control my center and breaking my balance. So we are back at the starting point, my
mental and physical integrity is preserved and there is nothing more to do than to stop and get a
I know that this way of understanding Aikido, the way that my sensei, Endo Seishiro, proposes,
can create a big deal of inner resistance in a mind educated in getting more, in doing all the time,
a mind always busy and in control. When someone takes away our duty of doing, when someone
proposes us not to be busy, our mind immediately shows a lot of resistance and their justification,
because let ourselves to develop our being instead of doing can create inner conflicts and
uncomfortable situations, but, at the same time, it is a door towards naturalness, our way to be in
harmony with everything.
I think that as a society we need that value that Aikido represents. Many other disciplines that
agreed with that idea are in a process of expansion in Western culture because the feeling that
something does not work in our societies is widespread.
We must use Aikido with the purpose that O´Sensei gave to it. We must use Aikido to change the
world, improving our spirit through our body and a martial relationship, to build a heaven on earth.