Aikido Training and Women: What is the Value of Meditation? Part 2 - Real Life

Randori - "Seizing Chaos"

These women are demonstrating the Aikido technique of randori (multiple attackers).  Control of breathing helps maintain a calm mind.
These women are demonstrating the Aikido technique of randori (multiple attackers). Control of breathing helps maintain a calm mind.

Martial Arts and Meditation: Can the Two Exist Together?

Is Meditation an Aikido Technique?  In Part 1, I discussed the concept of stress and the fact that it is all around us.  For a career woman and mother, days are not long enough to get everything done.  Stress can affect us physically as well as emotionally.  So developing a strategy to release the stress before it builds to the point where it becomes a real problem is a serious problem.

The previous article discssed the martial art of Aikido and the fact that meditation techniques can actually be used to create a heightened level of relaxation.   Many Aikido schools teach Misogi Breathing promotes relaxation as it unifies both the mind and body.  As one works toward mastery of this breathing exercise, there comes a realization that the "cares of the day" can be released as the mind focuses inward.  This technique of breath control can even be used to help heighten awareness in randori, which involves multiple attackers.  One English translation of randori is "seizing chaos", an appropriate definition when one thinks about be overrun by three to seven attackers simultaneously.   It is through techniques such as the breathing exercise that the mind can remain calm so that it can control the body in response to attacks from multiple directions.  It is also the key to minimize the effect of "gassing out" or becoming breathless in the midst of this chaos.

Aikido Techniques Demonstration: Koshinage or Hip Thrown

Aikido Techniques: The Application of Mediation in Daily Life

Aikido techniques in daily life.   In real life, stress can not be avoided or ignored.  If one tries to do this, it will come back to bite you sooner or later.  So how does one deal with daily stressors in an effective manner?  The beginning of the answer lies in our being able to move toward a unified mind and body through mastery of the breathing exercise.  To do this requires consistent practice both at the dojo and in the home.  As we gain control of our bodies, we will more readily recognize the danger signals of stress and proactively deal with them.  We can then apply the principles of the breathing techniques to relax the mind and body even during highly stressful situations in a manner similar to its use in randori.  Imagine a situation where your child is crying, you hear a knock on the door, the phone rings and you see the pot or kettle boiling over on the stove.   In the midst of all the stimuli can you maintain control of your emotions and remain calm?  What one of your co-workers approaches you with an angry, unfounded accusation – can you keep from reacting in-kind with hostility?  In short, the answer is yes if you apply the principles of the breathing techniques in the midst of all of the turmoil that surrounds you.  Important problems can be more readily identified when the mind sees the overall situation clearly.  Randori is an important part of advanced Aikido training because awareness of threats from all directions through a calm and unified mind (and body) is what one learns from this exercise. 

Conclusion: The Mind and Body are One

If we maintain control of ourselves, remain centered, and keep a relaxed state of mind, it is much easier to reason through problems (even in highly stressful situations) rather than respond with negative emotions.  The calmness of a unified mind and body can be achieved, in large part, through the meditation associated with the breathing exercise.

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