合気道; aikido

some thoughts on ukemi

My job is to construct an environment, a dojo, that frustrates you*.

-n2I am compelled to respond to a post on ukemi frustration. I must thank Saotome Sensei himself, “[R]oy you must sharing your opinion more, ” while knowing that it is superpositionally plagued by a mutual issue, “they won’t understand you.” This is yesterday’s hamburger, so please take this with a grain of salt, batteries not included, warranty is neither expressed or implied.

I think…1

Ukemi is and always will be about re-setting up a momentary field of <differentiated|integrated>[1] inertia:momenta, angular-momenta:precession[[2]], and a variety of other energies2. Your job is to set the stage, start it up, operate it, and reset it; not once, not twice, over and over again. Ichi-go, ichi-eh. You allow the person you are training with to experiment with that portable laboratory you setup over and over again. This is my dojo and yours too, “hello, what’s your name?” Ukemi’s kanji in Buddhism refers to “being born into a new body”, what a great indicator of being born again over and over!

We are setting up a simulation. When I hit for real, in the dojo I slow “it” down; I pull3 the waves that propagate4 at higher speeds in the natural dojo to slower speeds in the [ redacted[5] ] dojo. When you really hit someone, many waves propagate through the entire sequence of movements; a whole world in a fraction of a second.

We never said to simplify the waves, we said slow them down [ to study[1] ]. If you create a reversal[1] in the field of study, it is executed within the prevailing constraints of a governing universal clock regulating the speed of the stage in operation. Nerve impulses, reverberations, steps, thoughts (cough) etc. Slow down does not mean simplify, it means slow down the whole simulation. Facial expressions, steps, the movement of the chest when generating torque to turn that jo around your back. Nage’s job is to find the nexus of simplification, they are throwing the shuttle through a loom’s warp shed.

This is all very basic and I don’t intend to dishearten someone by saying this is basic. As Sensei used to admonish, “some students climbing wrong mountain.”

Right, wrong, doesn’t matter. Different people train for different reasons. At this past Winter Camp, Robert tried to verbally describe some of what I share with him when training together during Robert and camp’s first session. There is a spirit to ukemi, and there is a way to go about it that shoots up both practitioners in the challenge and skill area of flow.

I don’t want to mislead, I train in superpositioning, multiple valences at once, that is, I weave multiple stages in superpositional space and integrate energy across them with what I can only describe as, yes, some may have already guessed, ai ki[[6]] . Sometimes I forget and Sensei beseeches, “[R]oy, you forgot ai ki.” At which point I turn it to 11 and Robert laughs and says, “Roy… be nice.”

My job is to construct an environment, a dojo, that frustrates you. Read that three times, once for thought, word, and deed. Before you try and copy this concept, be warned. Part of this job is figuring-out6 how to raise-the-challenge2 to no more than 3%5 over what you are able to handle. In parallel, distributing the 3% across the environment in such a way to allow you to climb the most valuable path[s], further on this mountain with joy. All while maintaining that 3% while you are growing in narrower and narrower distributions of time. Sound familiar? It should, it’s a lot like game theory applied in good games like Mario Brothers; this is apprenticeship. Yet, I regret to inform you, this is all still basic. It’s glorious, isn’t it?

When I practice with Robert, even in front of the keiko session, reversals and henka waza are generated rapidly in match-grade-waves[[7]] through what appear as one ikkyo to the audience. Inside an ikkyo, there could be ten to twenty (thousands) micro-aiki creative moments, and it keeps growing as I practice misogi. I create these and Robert gets to practice a kind of “steering/counter-steering”; aka finding a solution6. Think of it like that moment when the car loses traction on lower friction surfaces like mud, rock, sand, snow, and sleet. It’s a lot like rally racing and is quite a blast. My job isn’t to flatten Robert with 60 inches of snow on a cold winter’s day (though that’s a lot of fun too, he is a Shobukan brother; Sensei has helped me realize who my family is, it’s you all). What kind of rally race would that be? Flow is joy.

I’ll share that these concepts were generated, experimented with, practiced, applied, and have become part of me. If it was not for misogi, study, and the many members and guests across sessions of keiko collapsing waves into rigid simplicity while living in Shobukan, I would never have discovered many of the realizations and practices, and their value that I have landed within, today. I could relay many stories, but what would the value be? Really? I’m not a martial art historian7, and prefer not to be. I am here for illumination for the benefit of all beings. True victory really is self victory.

I thank the universe, in great humility, for the present now. Always appreciative of uke, no matter what they do, and I choose to participate in this present with presence. I have no idea what the mood and dispensation of the CEO of the next firm we talk with will be, or the bar tender, or staff at the restaurant, or Gaelan downstairs when I depart to find tasties for dinner. Real aikido, is not on the mat.8

One day I’ll share more, though I think this is enough for now to share a magnitude and direction9 in search of clarity instead of certainty10 in the <practice|research> of being reborn[[9]] into a new body11 from one-moment[[9]] to the next.

So please, practice with great sincerity, and continually constrain it to the level needed to tend and care for each other’s path on this mountain. With strong hands12, good luck.


[[1] quantum-electro-dynamics; a fellow mathematician shared with me, “I hope I don’t see what I can’t un-see, before I learn math.”]
[[1]] four way mousetrap; the ignorance of tinkerers with [ redacted ] instead of [ redacted ] used bra-ket.
[[2]] see .
[[3]] see 三元.
[[4]] see heavenly spear.
[[5]] see warp shed.
[[6]] at the time of this article, a strong study in multi-valent[[3]] [ redacted ] asymptotic-integration[[4]] [will]happen[ed]. Speaking of being nice… back to this topic however.
[[7]] the amplitude, frequency, and modulation are matched to their “operational-presence” as gauged by aspatial, and atemporal fit and [conjecture: T-level[s]]. with advanced nages, you then move to higher valences, of word, and thought.[[8]]
[[8]] see bhumi which means ground; “connect with the ground”, hence the reason that this is all basic.
[[9]] it is beyond stereotype; non-gimbal locked superpositioned wavefuntion [ manifoldless manifold ].
[[10]] leave breadcrumbs roy, thank you dustin
1 See .
2 See .
3 See .
4 See .
5 See Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research on flow, where peak flow/joy is where perceived challenge is in the territory of ~3% over perceived skill. Less than this, boredom sets in, more than this overwhelming worry and anxiety, the band is really narrow, as the skill grows in-situ, the challenge must grow in-situ. Speed of challenge is also a challenge, so take care in the procedural generation of challenge.
6 See .
7 Saotome Shihan once questioned a visitor deep in explicating the history of a traditional japanese martial art, “are you a martial art historian, or a martial artist?” This had become a maxim between Mike R. and I for many years, and still is to this day.
8 Sensei once jolted me, “Roy, your aikido is verrrry sharp, but… real aikido, not on the mat.” A bolt of lightning, and started cracking that inch wide invisible wall between the edge of the mat and the world. The inner bell superpositioned with the outer bell. Three years ago, the tengu beak cracked the shell. I can only describe this moment as satori. There are iterated valences of wisdom in this one line, ten thousand bows are not enough.
9 Magnitude and direction is a very important concept in analysis.
10 Patrick Lencioni professes that the biggest mistake of a CEO is seeking certainty instead of clarity.
11 It’s all ukemi; no surprise eh?
12 See .

* up to 3%.

2/7 – Reviewed and edited; clarified and increased resolution on some concepts. uprooted misoriented attribution resulting in an invalid shadow of perspective.