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Don't do things with Force

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

For thousand of years, China and Japan have shared philosophies across the seas. I would like to say that philosophy doesn't have any borders and it is universal. As individuals, we are free to choose our path and to stay on our path but experience and life tell us that it is better to always stay on the path. Aikido is a path, and it is my path. The "Do"( 道) in Japanese means the path and Aikido (合気道)means the path of Harmony.

To be on a path, your path doesn't mean it is always going to be perfect and smooth. There are always bumps on the road but the important lesson is to learn from them or to

learn how to avoid them. Sometimes, you are going to take the wrong turn or try to take a short cut but soon you realize that you tried to force things and it didn't work out.

We always say that if a door doesn't want to open, keep it closed! 

Sometimes, it is difficult for us to do things because we are not in the right mind and then it creates problems.

Mr. Deng Ming-Dao, author of the Chronicles of Tao shares his opinion in one of his posts:

"The concept of wuwei is often shallowly interpreted or wrongly understood. One of the right ideas about it, though, is this: don’t try to do things by force.

Each day, I find that I drive myself harder to complete my work, to practice, to think, to write, to just keep from giving up and lying down in front of the television. But I have to stop myself.

I am not effective when I try to force things. Instead, if I calmly do things as they should be done, they get done better. Doing things frantically is not doing things well at all.

This applies to martial arts too. We should do the movements as they need to be done, no more, no less. If we can’t quite do them, it doesn’t help to drive ourselves obsessively. If we can’t do them completely right today, we must practice sincerely as part of a program to build up to doing them right in the future. Trying to force techniques doesn’t make them better. It distorts them. Then, we’ll only be practicing our mistakes.

This is where it hasn’t helped to have brilliant masters. They had natural talent, great athleticism, good coordination, beauty, and deep childhood backgrounds. As a result, success for them was a matter of determination. They developed championship personalities that forged ambition into will and will into steely superiority. But if a person hasn’t fully developed technique, no amount of shouting at them to try harder or to visualize victory is going to help.

We have to accept where we are, and then work from there—not with distracting exhortations to “be better,” but by a steady concentration on improvement.

This is what meditation does for me. It stops that process of frantically trying to build up momentum to roll through the day. It reminds me that I am on the path, and that methodical steps, rather than mere frenetic energy, is the right way."

It is important to do things with the right mind and always with a good intention. Nothing gets resolved out of anger. It is only with a peaceful mind that we can find solutions to our problems. New students to Aikido often use force to perform the techniques that are being taught but soon they realize that they are running out of energy and they are hurting their partners. The proper mindset and the appropriate physical strength need to be cultivated to practice Aikido. This is part of the training.

Aikido teaches us how to apply the principles of non-resistance, to blend with the energy received and to release it the right way and in the right direction.

The same principles apply to our daily lives and they are teaching us how to handle stress and possible confrontation. We have to find the balance and then maintain it.

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