Nawaikido ruminations

Synchronicity is one of the scariest phenomena I know of

Case in point: Last night I attended an evening aikido class, since my gi had not been ready for the early morning class I normally attend. The evening class is taught by the dojo’s primary sensei, and lasts 90 minutes, a half-hour longer than the morning class.

Sensei is a very philosophical teacher; he is absolutely deadly with technique, of course, but he is far more about teaching about the feelings of the techniques, the why more than the how. This evening we were working on irimi-nage, or “entering throw.” This is also affectionately known as the “20-year technique”, for how long it is supposed to take to master. It involves the relatively non-intuitive method of moving into the area of a strike (shomen) and basically displacing the opponent’s body with your own (occasionally with a cute little pirouette-like move, but not necessarily).

The thing about it is timing. You have to make it into the right spot at the right time, or, well, you basically get bonked. Also, you have to be very centered and confident in the technique–it requires a kind of confidence about your own body and it’s place in the combat that is not always easy.

As is my wont, I began trying to think of how my aikido practice could apply to my nawaikido practice. Aside from the obvious puerile meaning (”heh-heh, heh-heh, he said entering”) for the technique, I think it also applies to the idea of creating and maintaining an environment for the submissive. There’s the often-mentioned technique of maintaining some contact with the submissive as you tie the ropes on, but I would suggest that the idea of irimi takes it a step further. Are you drawing the ropes across their abdomen? Step closer, let your whole body press against theirs.

One of my favorite moments of energy comes when I am kneeling–yes, kneeling, and if you don’t think a Dom can be a Dom and kneel, you really need to get out more–in front of a sub, adjusting the ropes at their pelvis. Aside from the implied intimacy and control (I can caress their labia/clit/cock/balls without even touching anything more than a strand) there is the presence of my head–the implied center of control and reason and teeth, the largest erogenous organ of my body–near their vulnerable sex. I confess, there are times when I actually adjust and tighten and loosen a little more than necessary just because I know that by keeping my head there, close but never quite touching, I am increasing the erotic tension and their awareness of my presence in their kinesphere.

That’s irimi. I’ve not figured out yet where timing comes into it–maybe in the fine judgement of how long to hold that presence, the time when a palm laid on the back, held, then released in a gentle lifting stroke.

Anyway, one of the reasons I brought this up was synchronicity. At the end of the lesson, Sensei told us as we circled and bowed to each other that this was his favorite throw because it dealt with things as they are. So often, he says, we spend our time somewhere else, with the way things were, or the way things might be, or the way we’d like them to be, or the way we fear they will be. The requirement to do irimi-nage is to take the way you and your partner are, and work within that, until the way things are involve you standing over their thunked body on the floor.

And today, during break, on impulse I pick up “Nothing Special: Living Zen” and page it open at random. Charlotte Joko-Beck is talking about separation and connection, and she talks about how most of our difficulty with unhappiness is because (you guessed it) we see ourselves as separate from events, and therefore they happen “to” us. If, as she puts it, we sit regularly, we begin to get a glimpse of the way things are, interconnected, all together, not happening “to” but happening with.

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