I experienced an uncomfortable situation happening today at work. It was not physical. It was not really a martial situation. However, somebody used their position to make somebody else suffer, and there was nothing I could do to stop it, or help. I actually had to play a part in it , and there was nothing I could do to help. Nothing at all. So I had my feelings, and they were not pretty.

Now I am not talking about the traditional street fighting, self defence, violence to stop a violent act by another violent act. I am talking of aiki. And maybe not even in a physical situation. It could be on the phone with a customer. It could be in traffic. It could be in your home trying to convince your child that it is time to go to bed.

Post keiko throwing with Kristýna in Prague in April 2015. Photo by Andrea Raviglione and Kristýna Biro.

You know, it is like an impossible circle. The circle of aiki. To get into it, we kind of have to already be in there.

If we are outside the circle: If we are helpless to stop evil people from spreading their pestilence into the world they will appear as evil to us. As long as we have this picture in our minds we will be unable to gain the power to stop evil, so we hate them. And we hate ourselves for not being able to stop evil.

If we are in the circle of aiki: If we are able to do aiki on the “evil” people. They are not a threat any more. They would seem like a caricature of evil. A scary puppy. A teddy bear with a funny expression in the face. Toy monsters. We pity them and genuinely care for their wellbeing. And through this we become one with them and together we decide to not do evil, but good stuff. However, without this, without love, we can’t make aiki.

So how do we get into this circle? I have in my experience never been able to control my feelings. If I feel, I feel. I can control my actions, but my feelings do whatever they do without me being able to change the emotional situation. Through increased awareness and lots of practice, situations can change from being scary to less scary for example, but when there is fear, there is fear. We can’t just ignore the feelings and pretend they do not exist. They will not go away. The same goes for love and hate. A feeling is a feeling and it will not go away by thinking that it should. Or maybe there is a way to choose? I have to believe there is. Otherwise I will never be able to enter this circle of aiki.

Standing in line for the shower, doing tai no tenkan with Andrea. Photo by Katarina Gullberg.

Standing in line for the shower doing tai no tenkan with Andrea in Berlin in May 2015. Photo by Katarina Gullberg.

So I love my training partners, and we practice in a very harmonious and friendly way. Still, in the practice, our bodies and our minds represents two sides of a conflict. If you already love the other part there is no conflict, and the situation is resolved from the beginning. So the part of being able to love the opposing part of the conflict is crucial for success.

How do we learn this? I have no clue? But I start to believe that maybe, there is a possibility to learn how to also guide ones feelings, as the famous under title of the Stanley Kubrick movie, Dr. Strangelove, says: “How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb”.

It just came to my mind after a situation at work, and thought I should write some of these thoughts down. The keiko continues forever. I proceed with my journey on the aiki road.

Enjoy your practice! Aiki make people happy!