coffee and music
missy meows around my feet
the hunter’s moon sets

Linda Eskin
At the beginning of a month of stepped-up training & goals.

Astronomy note: The Hunter’s moon is the full moon after the Harvest Moon. Full moons set near dawn.

Aikido? Or Riding?

I’ve had this idea rattling around in my head for quite a while. I think students of either discipline will recognize these points – and will probably be able to cite many more.

Aikido? Or Riding?

Linda Eskin

Heels down, chest open, eyes forward. Breathe.
Relax your shoulders, soften your elbows. Breathe.

Look where you want to go
and you will go there.

Close your hands.
You’re not holding a teacup.

Don’t look at the ground.
The ground isn’t going anywhere.

Drop your center.
Get deeper, more stable, grounded.

Let your eyes be soft.
Take in the entire scene.

Be straight and light, 
Like a string is lifting the top of your head.

Heels down, chest open, eyes forward. Breathe.
Relax your shoulders, soften your elbows. Breathe.

Be firm and clear.
Direct your partner with certainty.

The stick is not for hitting.
It’s an extension of your body.

Flow with your partner.
Feel their energy and go with it.

Ask for no more
Than your partner can give.

Close your eyes.
Feel your way through the movement.

Align your body and intention. 
Your energy goes where your center is pointing.

Heels down, chest open, eyes forward. Breathe.
Relax your shoulders, soften your elbows. Breathe.

Don’t hurry things.
The more you rush, the slower you get there.

We’re all beginners.
It takes a lifetime. Just keep practicing.

Poem: Feeling

You know how being cooped up inside all day makes you want to run and play once you get outdoors? I think writing deadly dull things like software specs does the same for my writing. I have to run around and play. I’ve been reading some of our dojo newsletters online, and although they are written in prose, I hear what’s said as poetry. So because I tend to rewrite anything that crosses my path, I’ve been running around and playing with rewriting newsletters as poems. I can’t say if this a “good” poetry, but I hope it touches you.
– – –

Feeling
by Linda Eskin
Inspired by the teachings & writings of Dave Goldberg Sensei, Aikido of San Diego.

Connect with The Earth.
Ground yourself deeply, solidly,
And experience her silent power.
Let The Earth support you.

Connect with The Heavens.
Perceive the vastness of the sky.
The stars are always above us.
Let yourself breathe in The Heavens.

Connect with Your Body.
Fill where there is emptiness.
Relax where there is tension.
Let Your Body speak. And listen.

Connect with Nage.
Attack with your whole heart.
Bring your gifts of energy and direction.
Go fully where Nage takes you.

Connect with Uke.
Let yourself welcome their gifts.
Respond with ruthless compassion.
Take Uke where they are going.

Connect with Your Self.
Notice where your heart is grounded.
See where balance has been lost.
Let Your Self return to a solid base.

Connect with Everyone.
Notice where our hearts are grounded.
See where balance has been lost.
Be the space for Everyone to connect.

Copyright 2009, Linda Eskin. You may use or share this freely, provided you include the entire content of this post, including this copyright notice.

Four Aikido Limericks

Four limericks I posted in this AikiWeb thread: “Limerick Challenge”

There once was a sensei named Dave
Who would practice all day with a glaive.
He mastered the kata
Of the naginata
‘Til his motion was just like a wave.

I have no idea if Sensei practices naginata, it was just that glaive/Dave is a convenient rhyme. The rest are all taken from real life:

There was a yudansha named Karen
Whose waza was flashy and darin’.
Her hakama flew
As her uke she slew.
And all of the white belts were starin’.

No one does ukemi like Jay,
Who rolls in his own special way.
He melds with the mat,
With nary a splat,
And pops up on the preceding day.

In his three DVDs about Entries,
Ledyard shares what’s been passed on for centuries:
If you’re already in
The attacker can’t win
Just drop, and he’ll be on his knees.

Four Aikido Limericks

Four limericks I posted in this AikiWeb thread: “Limerick Challenge”

There once was a sensei named Dave
Who would practice all day with a glaive.
He mastered the kata
Of the naginata
‘Til his motion was just like a wave.

I have no idea if Sensei practices naginata, it was just that glaive/Dave is a convenient rhyme. The rest are all taken from real life:

There was a yudansha named Karen
Whose waza was flashy and darin’.
Her hakama flew
As her uke she slew.
And all of the white belts were starin’.

No one does ukemi like Jay,
Who rolls in his own special way.
He melds with the mat,
With nary a splat,
And pops up on the preceding day.

In his three DVDs about Entries,
Ledyard shares what’s been passed on for centuries:
If you’re already in
The attacker can’t win
Just drop, and he’ll be on his knees.

Poem: More Than Technique

A few days ago I was reading some of the past newsletter articles on the Aikido of San Diego website, and was in a writing kind of mood, so I rewrote Sensei’s “Subject of the Season” article from the Spring 2009 newsletter as a poem, just for fun. I thought you might enjoy it.

More Than Technique
by Linda Eskin
Derived from Dave Goldberg Sensei’s Spring 2009 Newsletter

Words are not the essence of poetry.
Techniques are not the expression of Aikido

Poetry evokes, conveys, inspires.
Aikido balances, grounds, frees.
Brushes and paint are not the artwork.

The toddler, barely walking, dances freely.
Express your Aikido fully, from the beginning.