Conversation between uke and nage

It is impossible to acquire experience through theory. An experiential art cannot become an intellectual philosophy without the tempering created through physical intuitive interactions.

In aikido, these interactions comprise a conversation between an “attacker” and a “defender”.

Just as much time must be spent analysing both roles for anyone to get an in depth understanding of the art, and mastery is only assured through the sacrifice one must take in order to view the art through both lenses continuously.

In traditional Japanese Budo, there are many writings describing the transformational qualities of training in such a way, and traditional Japanese words to describe such moments.

These words have been usurped as catchphrases that can make one sound like they have done the work required to understand such phenomena in both body and mind.

Alas, one who reaches such a destination knows that these words fail to actually convey an ineffable quality that is intuitively felt, and refrain from using such words as descriptions of what they know can only be understood when one has done the work and crossed over to the other shore and “thrown it all away”.

“He is no fool who would give what they cannot keep, to gain what they cannot loose…..”

To train in uke is to loose daily, to “teach” what one cannot truly know is to chase shadows in a dark room.

Uke is the way, loss is the ultimate reward, and “not Knowing” the ultimate goal…..

Peter Kelly

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