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Those of you who have been in any form or shape curious about any kind of martial arts, probably know that Aikido is one of the most elite, most transformational and most effective of them all. Aikido, in fact, is not just a martial art. It’s a way of being. A practice for life.
Turning back time to some 8 years ago when I first started aikido as an assignment by my coach for my personal development, I had no idea what I am getting myself into. I stepped into the dojo like a dolled up Business Development guru, so assured of my talents. I was not shy to let others notice my “ I got this” attitude. The attitude of an over confident, self assured immigrant who had to work twice as hard to make it happen without any support. Humility was just waiting around the corner to be discovered.
For a sheltered young woman from Iran stepping on the martial arts mat was an immense interruption. I had never had my wrist grabbed. No one had charged at me with a shomenuchi attack. Even though I grew up during war.
It was aikido, that revealed to me the narrative I was living in and the way I talked based on that narrative. You see, while practicing a technique, you throw the attacker at least ten times in the row. Every time they charge at you, you throw them and sometimes manipulate their joints till they tap from pain. Well, for the real spirit of martial arts you cannot throw someone and keep apologizing. You can, but, really?!
I never knew the extend that “apologizing” was the center of my language. Every time I threw someone in a beautiful spiral movement, I would say: “ I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” Until one day sensei stepped behind me with a baton. He said,” You're gonna get hit next time you say I’m sorry.” He was not joking. And, no, he is NOT an angry person. He is NOT rough or aggressive. He is, in fact, the kindest, most gentle fierce person I have ever known. He discovered the weakness in my language that ruled my behavior. He discovered the limitation my words were creating for me better than any coach ever would. He taught me that living in apologies was not moving me forward in life. He taught me that the over regretful response to my rightful boundary is worse than setting no boundaries. He taught me the value of my words. He taught me ‘say what you mean and mean what you say’.
Here I am. Many years later. Observing myself in much different relationships, career path and environment. Finding myself much more mindful about the life I am creating with the words that I use and the style I communicate with. A little observation takes one a long way. So I ask you,
When was the last time you observed your words?
What is the effect of your communication style?
How is it helping you?
Thank you Sensei!