Love, Seduction, and Aikido

Have I got your attention? Good. ;-) It’s not a trick. This really is about love and seduction. And Aikido.

I walk at lunchtime. One day while I was walking, I was writing a haiku in my head. I went through a dozen or so versions, from various perspectives. It was shortly after an experience in class where Sensei demonstrated being connected with one’s partner. It was very disconcerting, but in a very pleasant way. It got me thinking “this must be what it means to look into someone’s eyes and steal their spirit.” It was disarming enough that poetry was rattling around in my head long after the class ended.

You look in my eyes.
Breath leaves me, balance is gone.
You steal my spirit.

It wasn’t (only) that my ability to resist the technique had been overcome. More like my will to resist it just crumbled. Or maybe even the desire to resist. I wanted to go with it. And then was left wondering what on earth that was that he had done.

Maybe everyone above 5th kyu and up is having a good snicker that I’m just figuring this out. ;-) Snicker away. I’m always happy to create a little merriment. Is this the whole point, of all the blending, and joining, and getting inside the technique?

Look into his eyes.
Take away his breath… balance…
And steal his spirit.

It started to gel a little for me tonight, when Sensei was coaching my partner, kind of jokingly taking him aside, saying that the blending we were working on could feel like seduction. And that people like that, and are more willing to go with your energy, and resist less. It was a brilliant point, of course, well illustrated. It was also kind of embarrassing. Essentially, “Here, try doing this technique as though you are trying to seduce her. Go.” Now seriously, I hang out with lots of older horsewomen – a raucous and earthy bunch. There’s not much you can say or do to embarrass me. But I think I might’ve blushed a little.

It’s funny, culturally, that we are comfortable bringing forth aggression, fury, conflict, and hatred. We think that’s normal. We wouldn’t think twice about producing a loud and fearsome kiai or well-placed atemi to evoke terror and throw our partner’s concentration off, if that were called for in a class. But somehow it’s terribly awkward, and a little unacceptable, to project gentleness, longing, warmth, and love, and to evoke the same in others – even when the end result is still to unbalance them, to our advantage. That’s a kind of weird dichotomy, and it’s kind of a shame.

When I finally arrived at a version of the haiku I was satisfied with, I realized it wasn’t about kokyu ho anymore. I ended up sending it to friend who was intellectually determined not to fall in love with a woman he’d met, but his heart was telling him otherwise. I was cheering the heart on, of course:

This time I won’t fall.
I take your hand, brace myself.
I fall anyway.