חוויות התפתחות אישית באמצעות אייקידו. Transforming the fear of falling into flying
Last night I returned from an Evolutionary Aikido retreat, The Dead Sea Seminar. On my three year journey with Aikido I have transformed internally. My inner landscape has been ploughed, reconstructed and cleared. Externally I gained no belt levels and a very loose grasp of Aikido technique. I feel a strong affinity to the spirit of the practice . I have become part of a community of people I deeply connect with. Through Aikido my inner world has shifted and transformed.
Cultural conditioning - Intimacy
My contact improvisation
teacher mentioned Aikido would do me good. I happened to join a workshop about the feminine and masculine energy led by Aikido Sensei Miles Kessler and I knew` a belly knowing, that this is for me. In 2010 I arrived to train in the integral Dojo in Tel Aviv, feeling out of my comfort zone, curios about the art of Aikido.
I remember a strong judgement arising within me and I thought: "it`s inappropriate for men and women to train together". I feared confusion and lack of boundaries. I believed, based on my religious affiliation and cultural conditioning that men and women shouldn`t be physically close and intimate with each other without being lovers. Nevertheless, I trusted the process and showed up to train.
I was embarrassed by the physical intimacy. It made my heart sink, my face red. As we attach pelvis to thigh, and hand to hand…and fall into the floor…I felt asked to let go. It was as close as I ever got to another stranger and it felt...strange. Yet, watching the demonstration of bodies spilling like water onto the mat in complete harmony, fuelled my desire to learn. I was called upon to trust myself within the context of strangeness, in the unknown to know what to do without knowing what to do.
In an embodied way, Aikido practice trained me to relax. Feel safe. Not be limited by my personal boundaries. Extend trust. Feel safe without the disconnect, without the distance, in a relaxed intimate way. This practice informed and evolves my relationships with my friends and students, establishing stronger connections, and multitude levels of intimacy.
As a Nia practitioner, I feel coordinated, graceful and powerful when I dance. As I began to embody Aikido katas my body felt clumsy, disjointed and my mind overwhelmed. I can speak Nia`s somatic language but my body is not versed in Aikido. Different practices - different language. It simulated for me scenerio`s in my life where I felt out of sorts.
The new learning experience offered me an opportunity: to shift emotionally, withstand the discomfort and work through it. To remain calm, offer myself space to explore, become patient and tolerant with my learning process. Aikido taught me tolerance with gentle guidance, patient eyes, humour and kindness.
It simulated for me deep cellular memories of humiliation for being "wrong" and "not getting it"...
I used to be afraid of falling, being hit, being harmed. I learned to go beyond the fear into connection. With my body and with the path of harmony. And also accept injury as part of my process.
I was afraid and intimidated by a strong tall, fierce looking male "opponent". I took great joy in bringing them down to the floor into "submission". A sense of control. From empowerment I developed and lost the fear or the need to control. Relaxing the fear altogether and connecting. And seeing "us", my "opponent" and "i" as one system. I learnt to relax, trust and connect. And see the humanity in us both.
I learned to physically feel centre and the burning sensation of an alive, awake centre connection with other centres...And not connecting too 0- that was great to realise - the disconnect. Connecting with eyes. with intention, with touch.
Nia has brought me into my body, into sensation and Joy. Aikido has woken up the joy of relationships, of relating. It has taken me beyond the glass ceiling I felt with the Nia practice.
Touching the timeless quality that both Nia and Aikido embody transformed my perspective that Nia and Aikido are inter-related… I now realise that both arts explore the same timeless quality, the same territory with different maps. Different languages, same language of the world.
Thank you to the grace and presence of Miles Kessler Sensei and Patrick Cassidy Sensei for holding the space for this evolution.