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Never-ending maze, drift on numbered days
Now your life is out of season

James Hetfield – Master Of Puppets

I recently lost my job, I had my first serious injury from aikido and the world seem to have tilted my life in general a bit down hill lately. During this period of time a new type of laughter appeared during my keiko. I am wondering what it represents, why it is connected to those things and why that laugh ended up exactly like that? I refer to this laugh as “nothing-laugh”.

Keiko with Marius at Vanadis Aikido Club September 2011. Photo by Regina Lindau.

Keiko with Marius at Vanadis Aikido Club February 2012. Photo by Regina Lindau.

The laugh first appeared when experimenting on how to practise the day after the injury. The hamstrings of my right leg were hyper-extended when my heel was caught in my partner’s hakama during a high fall, so all kinds of forward falling from that leg is impossible. Even with a quite serious injury I have been able to enjoy the keiko every day. These discoveries, one by one, of what I could still do resulted in a satisfied, happy, content laugh. Almost caricature like! However, I think there is something in that laugh. I believe that if I understand where it comes from I can understand a bit more of what I am searching for. By the way I discovered that I can do almost everything that we normally do in the keiko!

Keiko with Sara Wang while waiting for the bus during the seminar with Endo sensei in Stockholm February 2013.

Keiko with Sara while waiting for the bus during the seminar with Endo sensei in Stockholm February 2013. Photo by Andrea Raviglione.

I also fear that my adventure here in Stockholm might come to an unfortunate end soon. Life outside the dojo consists mainly of trying to get a new job and inevitably worrying about the future. The keiko gives comfort and the deep knowledge that THIS is what I am supposed to continue doing for the rest of my life, although the practical things does not seem to make that an easy path to walk. So the release of my fears from life outside the dojo probably contributes to the laugh.

Fun at Moelv June 2011. Photo by Ion Florea.

Fun with Katarina at Moelv June 2011. Photo by Ion Florea.

I believe that aiki is the most direct reason for the laugh. The feeling comes inside and occupies so much that there is no room for doubt, fear, reason, sorrow, or anything else. The feeling of “nothing” (a good feeling) fills everything and the laugh appears.

During Andrea's surprise visit to Trondheim in October 2011.

During Andrea’s surprise visit to Jorma’s seminar in Trondheim October 2011. Photo by Andrea Raviglione.

I would also add a practical safety note here: If you frequently experience that your partner’s legs are getting trapped in your hakama – Find out why and change it (the placement of your legs during throws might be a clue)!

Enjoy your keiko! Aiki make people happy!