View Full Version : TEXT: Flexibility and power

Gil Gillespie
10th August 2000, 02:39
Hi, everyone. As my Aikido training has progressed this seemingly irreconciable dichotomy has bedeviled me. Tonight in rereading Gleason Sensei's vital work I recrossed this passage and it smacked me in the chops. Somehow I missed this in prior readings, or at least it wasn't apparent to me.

From "The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido," by William Gleason, 1995, Destiny Books, p 161.

Training goes through definite stages. At the first or second dan level we understand the movement of basic technique but are still troubled with the problem of combining flexibility and power. Training fluctuates between the practical and the ideal. Attempting to be strong, we become tight or rigid and gracefulness and beauty are lost. Trying to be relaxed and perform more ideal aikido, we become weak and ineffective. Lacking the experience of hara, our approach to aikido is necessarily dualistic.

At the third or fourth dan level, we begin to experience hara and manifest the power of ki over physical muscle. However, we still cannot maintain an even level of calm mind and control regardless of the size or skill of our partner. We bounce back and forth between hara and technique. When we lose hara, we depend on correct technique to lead us back to it.

Finally, through continual effort, hara and technique are synthesized. Faith in yourself allows you to move forward without any planning or strategy. Mind and concentration remain unchanged, regardless of your partner. Such a master can move freely from hara; and technique is born according to necessity. In aikido this is a master of seven dans or more. And still there is further to go. Feeling and intuitive understanding must be integrated into every aspect of our lives. Aikido is a lifetime of practice and research.

Endquote. Gleason Sensei put it in perspective and helped me to stop hating my ineffectiveness. There's a place for even me on The Path. There's a place for all of us.

Russ Qureshi
10th August 2000, 20:14
Hey Gil,

Thanks! Beautiful and ineffective or ugly and effective is where I'm at. Gleason sensei gives a necessary and comforting perspective. Wow!