Marc's Reflection on Aikido & True Play

freedom AND solidartiy

December 16th, 2013 · No Comments

By “AND” I mean intersection of these two foundational stances–situations where both freedom and solidarity support each other

Freedom + Solidarity = Participation

Freedom – Solidarity = Isolation alternating with Domination

When one’s state of being is in a sympathetic, adrenergic, stress-based mode–fight, flight, freeze–then we end up with isolation, power over AND subjugation or blind following.

When the state of being is in a parasympathetic, receptive, digestive, integrative, open mode–broaden and build–then we experience flow AND connection.

The difference in these two “ANDs” is the difference between war and peace.


Four years in summary

November 23rd, 2013 · No Comments

Body moves: micro-balance near the center of the center (simple flowing connection with the earth)

Connection (the illusion of separateness dissolves)


Heart moves: listen tenderly and move no faster than your tender heart (no self-violence)

Compassion and joy (the heart opens)


Mind moves: turn toward (open, accept, beginner’s mind)

Transformation (the mind changes)



November 23rd, 2013 · No Comments

Loosing balance

is impossible


Being in a fear-base relationship with balance

is awkward and halting


Withholding to maintain my balance

is to deny the flow that is being in balance


Balancing is not the death defying act of control

it is the core act of participating–living


Participating is not controlling nor doing

it is merely the manifestation of balance


The inclination to hold onto balance (and the source of that inclination)

is something to become familiar and friendly with


Participation in micro balance

–the sensation and sincere participation at the center of the center of balance, effortlessly flowing with that fine sensations of compression, balance and breath–

is the foundation upon which one’s  body, heart, and mind  integrate

And further it is the foundation upon which I integrate with you.




Idealism & Cynicism – Rediscovering our Idealism

September 28th, 2012 · No Comments

Notes and reflections on a conversation with Bert Bennett yesterday:

A work in progress….

IDEALISM, enthusiasm, exuberance, spontaneous, self-expression: Giving, Loving, “being” “in” love

CYNICISM, misunderstanding, rejection, judgement, self protection, pushing, withdrawing–Taking, Needing to get (take) love.

Youthful emotional pain -> Pained stories of past and future -> Adult pained bodies and awkward moves

Exuberance -> Misunderstanding

Giving -> Rejection

Connecting -> Pushing & Withdrawing

Aliveness -> Self-protection

Spontaneity -> Self regulating (controlling self-others through “fences”)

RECOVERING from cynicism–recovering our idealism through the act of loving self, world, other as it “is”, with no violence to self or other or the world.

Together we can develop adult practices of idealism, and get back to loving in this moment (the ultimate high):


The past and the future live in our narratives, in our stories, of necessity since there is no physical past or future at any moment. The past and the future are products of mind.

The every unfolding present moment has substance beyond the activities of mind; however, with enough cynicism we can find ourselves living predominantly inside the biological and emotional effects of our stories of  a remembered past and an imagined future rather than in the physically present moment.

The strongest innate human attractor may be joyful connection and self-expression with others. There are ways to participate with this possibility. That is what the Friday Dojo sessions are pointing toward.

We can come face to face with our  embodied and lived cynicism. We can turn openly and fully toward this, and get really familiar and even comfortable with it.

From this place of awareness and acceptance of what is, we can also

rest into:

  1. our sensation of compression,
  2. our sensation of center,
  3. our sensation of connection,
  4. our sensation of effortlessness,
  5. our sensation of transformation,
  6. our sensation of precision,
  7. our sensation of the present moment (place/body/mood/stories/  and the other six immutable facts)

Bert’s deconstruction of the concept of boundaries  into “Fences” and “Boundaries” is useful

When we are “vertical” and aware of our own boundaries, within which we are sovereign, and move within that sovereign “space” and way of being;

When we are aware of our “fences” which we have built and maintained to protect some injured spot (some story of pain and protection), we can develop a practice of relaxing “vertically”  (seven immutable facts) into our livable, safe, soverign boundary and move gracefully with others as they connect with us, however they show up.


Idealism–possbbilities, self expression (replaces self control and contraction), giving (replaces felt need to take)

Loving–Radiating (replaces collecting, accumulating)

Physically Present – Physical compression, shape of our breath (replaces being lost in our minds and moving awkwardly in the world)

Resting–Into living our lives with others (replaces protecting ourselves from others and from a punishing self)

Time stands still (expands)–The present moment is lived in (replaces living in our reactions to our narratives of past and future)



Respect and Community Action

August 1st, 2012 · No Comments

Without violence

Without pushing or pulling

One envisions an attractive common future (possibility)

And invites others to join together

to co-create that future.

I see no other way for non-violent action.

The skill for this way of being is conversational human connection

–Which is itself life giving.


“We have been missing you.”

April 30th, 2012 · No Comments

This sentence is liberating for me.

The fact that others want to connect is so different than the story I had been living in.


The Trap of Hubris

February 12th, 2012 · No Comments

Knowing is a dead end.

Telling is the violent death of relationship.

Respecting individual sovereignty and connecting from there

is the way around this trap.


AIKIDO Practices–Calm down, Get big, Move forward

April 27th, 2011 · No Comments

The practices for calming down and sensing the situations for maximum choice, freedom and connection

The practices for getting big, sensing and extending into, the situation and possibilities

The practices for moving forward with others, with the situation; turning toward, connecting, blending with what is happening, who is present, and toward a positive healthy shared future (always aware of my choices of turning away or against same people, possibilities, and future)

The antidote (replacement practices) for (the practices of) anxiety, narrowness, and awkwardness, aggression, or retreat.


Non-linear effect

April 24th, 2011 · No Comments




Practice the basics
Compression, Sinking, Balance, Breath, Supple Spine, Extension, Connection


Reaching in

April 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

is not connection;

is off balance.

Connect with maximum freedom on all sides



March 5th, 2011 · No Comments



Sense from center–self and others in the present moment

From the ground

as often as possible


Play with

March 5th, 2011 · No Comments

Perfection is not playful

It is wrought in private places

It is a magician’s act of deception (of self and a few uninitiated others)

Play is destroyed by knowing, planning, technique or effort.

Play is not perfect (except in spirit)

It is open (exposed)

It flows from physical gratitude into respect and connection

Gratitude for the attraction between us and the earth

Gratitude for the certainty of center (hara)

Gratitude for the possibility of suppleness and extension

Respect for ones past and future

Respect for the possibilities of now–this moment, the only moment

Connection with self and all of self’s contradictions

Connection with this space,

particularly this ground, through balance;

and this space through extension

And connection with the other(s)

Playfully, with no inclination toward perfection



February 26th, 2011 · No Comments







From simplicity and safety

Toward connection



February 26th, 2011 · No Comments

Develop a bias against violence
Lean away from self violence
Lean toward presence and connection
With self and others


From reaction to response

February 13th, 2011 · No Comments

History: Startle, withdraw, plan, … From anxiety with intellect.

Practice: Notice, accept, sense and respond center to center, I – I, with playfulness.

Even noticing the startle chain reaction, playfully.


Staying Connected

February 5th, 2011 · No Comments


Center–Breathing Sensing

Balance–Supple Spine

Extension–Connecting Touching

Reconnect through: ground, center, balance, extension

Without turning away or turning against.

Moving out of harms way


Staying connected.


From reaction to connection

January 18th, 2011 · No Comments

History : Startle, withdraw, plan, … From anxiety with intellect.

Practice : Notice, accept, sense and respond center to center, I – I, with playfulness.

Even noticing the startle chain reaction, playfully.


All connection is physical, embodied in this moment

January 9th, 2011 · No Comments

There is a real world.

One moves in this world.

One experiences this world.

Then one reacts. (one can react before experience).

The reactions are either acceptance/staying/flowing/connecting/and perhaps blending

…or fearful aggression or fearful withdrawal–pushing or pulling.

The acceptance staying from center/flowing/blending are present, "physical", coherent; generally "playful" and enjoyable.

The fearful choice is non-present, non-staying, non-flowing, non-blending, abstract, and incoherent; generally awkward and painful.

That is a heck of a choice.



January 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Not pushing, not pulling, not trying to dominate nor avoid. Knowing one another’s cares and moving with them, not against, not away from, but together. Connecting and reconnecting.


Moving from & to center

January 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Moment to moment, presently, without language, sense from center, stay with center, come back again and again to center. Connect to center from center. Over and over.


True play

December 31st, 2010 · No Comments

This is a big one. I will not say much here, yet.

It is Sensei Bert Bennett’s whole view.

It shows up as joyful, engaged, flowing, physically dynamic learning.

It is this felt sense of true playfulness which is so attractive and enticing about this dojo.

The moments of connection, the learning in these moments.


Staying with the unflowing practice

December 27th, 2010 · No Comments

Trying to change, well it just makes things…

Accepting lovingly the felt experience of an awkward and unfulfilling practice, emotion, habit, reaction…

This is the only way. Pushing or pulling on some "unwanted" aspect of oneself gives more life to that.

Accepting the whole of the unfolding, horizontal practice, its source, its physical manifestation, its felt sense, AND DOING NOTHING about it, just being with it, connecting with it is the way. Things integrate and loose power or gain power from this way of being.

In my case: relax my belly in place of tensely holding it in and therefore holding my chest out–my current practices of unneeded tenseness. Oh, and allow my knees to bend, therefore allowing my waist to stay flexible rather than flexed. An unintended and unflowing consequences of tenseness.


Staying connected, committed

December 27th, 2010 · No Comments

Be clear and committed to  what you care about.

Connect to that care.

Stay with that care.

It has an awareness from center, through the other, through the ground.

This connection, its attractiveness, is the source of everything that needs to happen. From this connection, when I stay with it, something real and wonderful unfolds without effort or technique.

By the way, standing to the side, watching, thinking, judging, planning–these practices are not the practice of connecting.



December 27th, 2010 · No Comments

Balance is the manifestation of grounded care.

Flow originates in care.

Connection is shared care.

Lack of care is, careless, awkward, chaotic.

An attractive  future unfolds from present shared care.

I alternate between hiding and participating.

The practice is to know what my care is and move from there, connect from there, stay with it, gently return to it, again and again.

Straining (pushing and pulling) is not caring. It is avoiding care.



December 27th, 2010 · No Comments

Trust arises in connection.

Grounded trust integrates embodied authenticity and its consequence, felt sincerity, with improvisational wisdom. When these occur together trust is worthy.


Timing and rhythm

December 26th, 2010 · No Comments

Start only when connected.
Move at a pace to stay connected.



December 24th, 2010 · No Comments

Connecting with another is… well it is the human thing.

Connecting with gravity, balancing, staying on a line, staying with gravity, to the end.

When connected, the movements unfold without technique, without thinking, without emotion.

Connection is the foundation of flow.

And flow feels good to everyone involved.


Sameness or alienation

December 17th, 2010 · No Comments

There is real connection in the world.

There is a self imposed attempt to limit this connection.

It is a kind of fighting against reality in an attempt to protect something or the other from something or the other.

This movable, self imposed boundary is a big deal. Fortunately this "false" boundary setting and its origins are susceptible to Aikido practices, starting with awareness and then a gentle acceptance and curiosity.

The larger the space of sameness, oneness, non-otherness, the more flow that can occur.

Self selected alienation is another word for this boundary. Sounds inviting?


Staying with

December 11th, 2010 · No Comments

Stay with whatever comes up.
From "vertical", an inclusive, connected, movable place of choice.
Stay with fear, from "vertical", while fear exposes itself and transforms, without effort.

Effort only serves to amplify or harden fear.