Aikido and the recovering engineer

I was doing my typical Saturday morning websurfing when I came across this recent article by Cyril Landise of Chicago (from the US Aikido Federation website). I think you might find it interesting – for me, it really resonated (as you can guess), notably the statement:

“Nonetheless, as a recovering engineer myself, I recognize that there are among us,
some left-brain, linear thinking, yang types of people who have a need to talk about their
training and put the bits learned into neat conceptual boxes.”

…sounds familiar…? Some other interesting statement includes:

“The strength of an attacker who can’t find a target is also irrelevant.”

Very interesting is his discussion on the difference between “hard” and “soft” styles of Aikido – I found his story of evolving from hard to soft style very revealing in regards to how we study Shinkido as a basis for Ryurei Aikido – in effect, creating a foundation for an effective, “soft” style. Some comments include:

“Sometimes I feel as if I spent the first 10 years of my training learning to develop power, and the next 20 years learning how to not use it.”

“The late Kisaburu Osawa Sensei was renowned for his “ki no nagare” or “flowing ki
style” of Aikido. Jo Birdsong Sensei from Austin, Texas tells the story that Osawa Sensei
explained to him that he wished he had started developing the soft style earlier in his career.
He said that it was much more difficult to master than the hard style he studied in his youth
and he would have liked more time to develop it.”

“Now that I find the passing decades limiting my available resources, I think I more
clearly understand the power of ki no nagare. As a younger man however, I wasn’t ready to
exercise the discipline it requires.”

…the discipline it requires…I don’t think you could say it any better…

Might be a good reference piece for present or future “recovering engineers” coming to the dojo, or maybe just normal “non-engineering” types as well 😉 Enjoy!

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