23 Feb

I move in a circle. My arms create an arc in the air as they drive my partner’s elbow into their face, my whole body turning towards the floor. I leave them no choice but to go down to the ground, and I sink next to them, pinning my partner’s elbow and sliding my knees into the angle created by their shoulder.

I’m thrown across the room. The pain is excruciating as my partner’s hand drives into my wrist, and then in a moment of sweet release I’m tossed away, rolling diagonally across my back and kicking my legs into the air.

I roll. There’s a moment of sheer panic as I come to grips with the fact that my head is getting close to the floor, and then my arms curl under me, I kick my legs out and I’m suddenly on my feet again.

“Aikido makes you look at your impatience, your arrogance, your meanness, cruelty, clumsiness, cowardice – all those qualities in yourself that you may need to look at. It’ll show your bravery and compassion, love, joy, and sweetness, and it will show you those qualities in other people. Men and women, men and men, women and women will be able to touch each other in a nonviolent way. Not only touch each other physically, but see each other in a real way. You can’t hide out on the mat. You can’t pay somebody to do a roll. You can’t use sophistry. When you’re heading towards the mat at sixteen feet per second, you better do something if you want to come out of it alright, and that something is inevitably to relax.”

-Terry Dobson in It’s a Lot Like Dancing

I’m not very good at Aikido. In fact it scares me a lot, sometimes physically and sometimes mentally. There are things that come up; fear of hurting other people, fear of being hurt, thinking that I am less than, thinking that I am better than, the simple fear of touching someone I don’t know, and the fear of looking stupid.

There are amazing things that happen too; the realization that a lot of my limits exist only in my own mind, seeing the heart of other people, the sheer joy of realizing I’ve done something better than I could last week, and the love that comes out of connecting with another person.

There are days that I come home from Aikido battered, bruised, and sore from being thrown off my feet. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world. I’m constantly amazed not only by what I’ve learned but how much I don’t know, and I never want that feeling to end.


2 Responses to “Thrown”

  1. Cynwise May 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    The first time I took an Aikido lesson, I was supposed to throw a punch an a spry woman in her late sixties.

    “I don’t want to hurt you,” I said.

    “You have to make it a real punch. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt me,” she replied with confidence.

    I know I threw a punch, but I don’t recall how I wound up on the mat, flat on my back, wondering how I’d gotten several feet away from her.

    It’s a wonderful art, for all the reasons you talked about. Thank you for reminding me of my own love for Aikido. I stopped years ago, and I shouldn’t have.


  1. Don’t mess with a wizard when he’s wizarding. « Seven Deadly Divas - May 16, 2011

    […] Murphy, a five foot tall, 100 and nothing, bad ass cop that practices Aikido. I liked her for obvious reasons. Harry helps Murphy investigate all the paranormal goings-on of Chicago; vampires, werewolves, […]

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