Are you leading?

The statement, “We teach best what we most need to learn,” taken from Richard Bach’s novel, “Illusions,” is a principle I teach frequently. Leading is not much different. Leading calls for stepping out of your comfort zone, out into no-man’s land. Leading puts you on display. Why would anyone sane want to be put through that jazz? History is full of leaders being practically eaten alive. Most of the time it is a set of circumstances which throws you into a particular role, not your determination. Yet determination has a lot to do with it. If you were not determined to do or to get something or to be something in particular you would not necessarily be thrust into the position. Of course you could accidentally fall into a situation, but even then you were going somewhere or doing something weren’t you? Was it an accident? I know it seems like I am arguing opposing sides. The question I’m asking is this; is it paradox or can be explained away?

When I was appointed co-chairman of the safety committee while working at a Reynold’s Metals plant in 1973, I made a very important discovery. There is no such thing as an accident. And no you did not mis-read my last statement. All events are caused. All actions and events! You see there is a universal law in operation called the “Law of Cause and Effect.” If you backtrack through every action you may find a root cause. Looking back from one event leads back to something else, which leads back to another event which developed from another action, to something else again. And again, and so on.

What caused you to take up Aikido? Did something happen in your immediate past to prompt you to seek personal safety? Or did you need better balance and timing in your life for stabilization? If so what caused that imbalance. Was it poor health, caused perhaps by poor eating habits? Or maybe the habits were not poor but the quality of the fruit, vegetables or meat was poor.

Even many of those thoughts you have, especially the really weird ones do not necessarily develop inside your head. They may be coming from somewhere else, from some other person whose thought process overlapped your thoughts. But that thread is for another blog.

Let’s say that you are attacked verbally. What do you do? You cannot necessarily control what happens around you. But how you respond to those circumstances is entirely within your control. All events are caused, but your response is caused by you. The type of response is based on your past experiences and actions which are a direct result of your training, whether that training was proper or not. (This line goes from you and your background to your instructor and his or her background to his instructor) Mental or verbal Aikido is sometimes the only response necessary or appropriate. I call it taking Aikido off the mat and into everyday life. Does Aikido always have to be physical? Or maybe I should be asking if there is a difference between the physiological and the psychological aspects of Aikido? Are we not working in both areas?

These are some of the things we must think about frequently. The comments I receive from some lead me to believe that many do not think along these lines. What questions or comments have you received?

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3 thoughts on “Are you leading?”

  1. Sometimes I wonder if we should have classes in verbal aikido– somehow making the connection between doing a tenkan on the mat, and being flexible in a conversation.

  2. Lisa you 100% correct. Many times the difference between a physical encounter and walking away unscathed is a few well-chosen words.

  3. There’s a reason why I’ve never had enemies in school. By enemies I mean people who disrespect me or try to get on my nerves. To understand another person, even when they attack you verbally, physically, or otherwise is both unnerving to that person and the best form of non-threatening self-defense. When some younger kids I’ve met have been bullied, I try to help them understand why the person bullying them is doing so and that gives them the self-confidence to be compassionate in return, because someone who attacks another verbally on a regular basis is in need of much care and attention, and on another level – pity. Many people who have chosen to bully me in the past have become good friends of mine once I opened up my heart to them and helped them understand what they were doing was not accomplishing their goals.

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