Friday, December 30, 2011

Art of Ukemi

As a practitioner of many many martial arts I have come to know a thing or two about how to identify excellence. It is said that a master in Aikido or Judo is best exemplified by his or her Ukemi. The Term "Ukemi" is Japanese and means to take a fall.

Cats are great at Ukemi. No matter how they fall they always land on their feet. Ukemi simulates being a wheel.

This might strike some of you as peculiar but in many ways it truly is the highest art. A master of Aikido knows intrinsically how to harmonize with others and a judo master can do this the same but with a supple touch. This level of sensitivity is not reflected by how many people you can take out during a conflict or how big of an opponent you can put flat on their back. A master pays no mind to winning or losing. They just are at a place where they can enjoy the flow and thus enjoy the fall when it happens. This is a freedom that less refined practitioners are not privy to. They must mentally struggle and try to figure out how to attack you or how to bring you down. When their plans are foiled they often lament having to take their falls (Ukemi)an feel subjugated. Meanwhile the master only needs to adjust his general approach and maintains no plan and relishes in every moment of the engagement.

For me the technique of Ukemi has become the cornerstone of my training philosophy and teachings at Zhang Sah. I try to live my life in this free fall state. Only paying mind to the approach and living in the flow of things with great joy! You can tell by the way I greet people by wishing them a "Happy - Day" on any and every day. Because that day is a happy moment. By the virtue of the moment itself. It doesn't matter if it's a winning or losing day.

Learning to live like you are in a state of "Ukemi" frees you up to live passionately. To throw yourself wholly into anything that you desire. When you become the embodiment of what you seek the outcomes are inevitably positive. Just as long as you are seeking to be positive. This is the best way to live, love and lose with the greatest fulfillment life has to offer.

My advice - Learn to fall, take the fall, enjoy the fall. Throw yourself into what you love and it will always turn out great.

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