O Sensei is quoted, in The Art of Peace, as saying “No matter how heavily armed your opponent is, you can use the Art of Peace to disarm him (or her). When someone comes in anger, greet him with a smile. That is the highest kind of martial art.”

This video shows so clearly how our actions, little things each of us do individually, can affect the world. A well-timed smile or hug can change someone just a little. They can affect those around them, and so on. Juan Mann, in the video, maybe affected a few thousand people directly. Over 10,000 signed his petition. Over 100,000 commented on the video on YouTube. Over 56 million people have watched just this version of it. 56 million!

Much of what we do is like dropping a pebble in an ocean. We may never notice the affect of the waves we create, but we do create them. Practice peace.

In tonight’s class we played with being relaxed, staying unified, and flowing. It was a wonderfully focused and pleasant class, actually very relaxed, unified, and flowing in its own right. What was particularly nice was the effect it had on my energy.

I’ve been in a sort of mysterious “energetic funk” for the past few days. Not tired, not sick, but feeling sort of physically and energetically closed and guarded about something, the way one’s muscles can be tight to guard a painful joint. In class on Friday I was really stiff, nothing felt smooth, and simple movements eluded me. I felt ungrounded, off balance… I found myself holding my breath and scrunching my eyebrows. It was evident enough that I got feedback twice in class (as Uke) about relaxing into the technique instead of fighting it. Saturday was a little more fun, but still with something “stuck” that I could not identify. I sort of lived in the question over the weekend, of what “it” might be that was keeping my gut and my energy in knots, but I never happened upon an answer.

Whatever the cause, tonight’s class was the cure. I found myself breathing freely, standing solidly, moving smoothly, and smiling easily again. What a relief! And when I find myself feeling off balance next time, now I have some things I can play with to try to get back in sync with myself. :)

Aikido is obviously an art form that is expressed through the body, which gets information from our sensory awareness. That means feeling. … Feel what’s happening now, act on that information, and trust.

Dave Goldberg Sensei, from his blog post “The Case for More Body Awareness

There is so much of value just in this one post from October that it’s worth reading again from time to time. And if you haven’t been following Sensei’s blog, here’s your chance to start.