Getting Krissie out of bed to come join me for a 7 AM Aikido class is akin to pulling the steel hull of a sunken ship from the bottom of the ocean. On the way to a recent Thursday morning class, I think I heard her murmur "putting on a gi right now is a mortal sin." I prefer morning classes. I like to “get it out of the way” before I have a chance to think too much about it. I am more prone to resist the evening classes. In the summer they are a lot hotter, Sensei is more amped up, and they conflict with that happy hour beer. We all resist training at times. The thing we can control, and what I have been working on, is my relationship to that resistance.
The training itself is challenging and difficult at times, but sometimes breaking through the resistance to "showing up" is harder. This is strange because I’ve never attended an Aikido class that I haven’t enjoyed or have regretted being a part of. I’m always happy to have trained and appreciate the benefits the practice brings. These benefits include, but are not limited to: a sense of calm, increased balance, and a fount of positive energy. Aikido brings all these things, but only when you train consistently. We learn to drop our resistance to training or just stop paying attention to it. This gets us on the mat.
Once on the mat, resistance resurfaces. As uke,we resist moving fast, stretching deeply, and attacking sincerely. As nage we resist by using strength instead of proper technique in an attempt to overpower our partner. Sensei speaks about “cutting away” or “dropping” what is non-essential rather than looking to add something. By cutting away our resistance we find it easier to stay connected and absorb the technique nage applies. By dropping resistance, we develop the ability to absorb and use uke’s force instead of coming into conflict with it. Naturally, resistance is dropped through dedicated practice. Cultivating the proper mindset and spirit accelerate this evolution. When there is no longer resistance, acceptance remains.