Dancing with Chaos
Randori can translate as dancing with chaos; it’s a martial art practice of three against one. It was one of my favorite Aikido practices, and although most schools reserve the practice for Black Belts, my teacher let us practice this early in our practice, and it became a requirement for earning our first belt.
It may sound intimidating, but when you learn how to do it, it’s actually more dangerous for the attackers. I never got injured when in the center of the randori, but I broke a finger once as attacker when the person in the center turned the “wrong” way.
Set-Up Practice for Life Off the Mat
I haven’t done Aikido for a very long time. But the lessons I learned apply to life off the mat as well as they do on the mat. Uh, no, I’m not recommending throwing people around or inviting attacks. But stuff happens, and life can sometimes be a dance of chaos.
Dancing with Chaos at the Mall
We used to do randori in short demos at the mall as a promotion for the dojo (school), and being a small woman, I often was the one in the middle with three big burly men. I remember one time in particular when my teacher said, “Get her!” and they really went after me. I tossed them around like dolls, and when I was done my legs were shaking and mush. But it proved to some ancient survival part of my brain that I could do hold my own. And by the way, oh yeah, this stuff really works!
Chaos Off the Mat
It’s more common to find chaos in our daily lives. And I haven’t been on the mat in at least a decade, but chaos in life? That’s a much more frequent occurrence.
The concepts are the same on the mat and off:
- Stay centered.
- Stay in your own rhythm.
- Don’t run away or deny what is happening.
- Remember who and what you are.
- Don’t over-reach.
- Use your energy efficiently.
- Brute force doesn’t work.
- Be present and feel what is.
- Learn from what works.
- Learn from what doesn’t work.
- Stay connected.
How About You?
Have you ever noticed a time when being centered help resolve a conflict? Please leave a comment to share.