Marc's Reflection on Aikido & True Play

Love in the Face of Everything

September 30th, 2015 · No Comments

Aikido (human balance) is

not against,

is not even protection.

It is love

in the face of everything,

including attack.


Miles Horton was a master.

Pope Francis is a master.



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.




Present without Pre Tension

July 15th, 2013 · No Comments

I got nearer to the root

of my fear and

lack of tenderness.

The root of this thorny plant

is “pretense”,

a felt need to appear

(to be)

other than I am.

There is little safety

or ability to relax

when compelled to

show up

instead of




without preconditions,





May 15th, 2013 · No Comments

We are scared out of our bodies into our minds.


Open Mind

November 28th, 2012 · No Comments

Undefended mind

Undefended emotions

Fully sensating body


The Mother of the Thing I Fear

November 14th, 2012 · No Comments


It is not the thing you fear that you must deal with, it is the mother of the thing you fear. The very thing that has given birth to the nightmare.

We stand literally petrified before the surface beneath which we must descend…We do not want to know what is down there, and we certainly do not want to know that the obscuring darkness is of our own making.

Beowulf is given the helmet of the king, and a great and famous sword, Hrunting, but as the story makes clear, these do not help him except to bolster his courage in entering. At this point Beowulf’s power seems to have more to do with a process of disarming.

Beowulf finds that the great sword Hrunting…is useless against this she-monster…Beowulf sees, glowing on the wall, an unknown but marvelous sword…Whatever is needed for the moment of truth in those dire, deep places seems brought to view only on our arrival at the very bottom.

David Whyte, The Heart Aroused


Why organizations should encourage training

March 4th, 2012 · No Comments

Aikido training develops

Respect in action (non-violence, curiosity, playfulness)

Leaders who do not instill fear

Employees who don’t amplify the fear they find in others

Only under these conditions will curiosity and innovation flourish


Dealing with Fear in Conversations

February 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

There is a safe space available.

There is a open space between individual safe spaces in which to connect on any concern.

Clarity on the safe spaces and the open conversational space is essential for generative conversations.

Fear is a signal that one is not moving from a space of safety.

“All” that is required and essential at this moment is to reorganize one’s stance.


The Inkling of Fear

February 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

The perception of fear, the felt sensation, the intuition–is great

It is the beginning of useful insight, knowledge, and action

The fight or flight stories and fantasies that often follow the perception of fear–

are not at all useful.

They lead to a narrow, automatic, awkward response where we push against or run from our essential partners.


grounding fear

September 18th, 2011 · No Comments

ground each fear

turn toward the place of origin

breath from the center of the fear

stay with the sensations

eyes wide open, in this moment, in this place

breath from care

turn toward care and the source of fear

breath from center

sense ground

extend connect touch




September 18th, 2011 · No Comments

hierarchy has fear structurally built-in

therefore suppresses or kills creativity and innovation

any leader in any hierarchy must take active steps to decrease fear

if creativity is required or desired.

fear is embodied

peace is also embodied

what are your practices of embodied fear?

embodied peace?


Over reaction

February 25th, 2011 · No Comments

Over reaction.
Fearing X I exhibit -X.

There is another way:
Present with what is happening
Including fearing X
And simply being present with what is unfolding
Not defending
Not correcting nor over correcting in order
To be in the RIGHT place.
All of this unnecessary effort puts one off balance
Out of touch

The practice is:
Accepting connection
as a practice of neutral observation.


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.


No negatives :)

February 13th, 2011 · No Comments

Turning toward,

Is the only creative way,


Expand self

To include,

Let, allow.

Say “yes”.

To Awareness

To Flow


Fueling with fear

January 16th, 2011 · No Comments

To some extent I have used anxiety and tension to get myself to prioritize and act. I create a dam of resistance and avoidance which backs up enough anxiety and self loathing to break through into a flood of “productive” action.

I perfected this in college, cramming for finals in some courses. The tension made it “easy” to finally engage. In the courses that were interesting, I did connect and flow and generally had no work to do for the final exam.

This pattern is pretty much the opposite of acceptance and flow. I have used self generated fear to drive myself. This method must have effects on everything and everyone around me. It is very much a form of disconnection, withdrawing, and then pushing.



January 15th, 2011 · No Comments

Holding breath is off center and fearful. Prevents extension and flow.

Breath into belly, supports center.

Exhale from belly, supports extension and flow.


Move through the origin of fear

January 9th, 2011 · No Comments

Find the small fearful "self" and come out the back side into the whole, including, not excluding, the small fearful nodule which is then experienced NOT TO BE SELF but an impostor of sorts–a dark magician.

Acceptance of the small nodule of fear, with gratitude that it is so small. Extend around it, back into the playful space with others.

Get as big as the moment, the situation, the environment, my reactions, your reactions, your care, my care, our care.

Accept all with gratitude, through center, through breath, through supple spine, through extension, in fact this is extension, this whole thing is extension, extending.

Play in this whole space in this moment.


Bad behavior?

January 8th, 2011 · No Comments

In a world of pushing, holding and withdrawing, what is the middle way? What is the practice of acceptance and blending?

If not pushing, if not holding, if not withdrawing, then what?

There must be a non-collision course, a subtle move out of harm’s way, and a continuing connection that is not pushing, holding, or withdrawing–that is flowing with the other’s energy and momentum. Experiencing the other as same, as connected oneness

To do this one must remain grounded, without fear and attachment. This comes from a larger space than heart and mind. It can only come from oneness, sameness, "compassion" which is not empathy, rather universality, wholeness, total lack of narrowness.


Kernel of fear

January 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

Fear has a way of puffing itself up.

This slight of hand is given it’s power when we loose track of the small, simple starting point. Some small past pain gains the upper hand when we wish to avoid a reoccurance in the future AND we loose track of the total felt sense of that initial psychic "injury"–often just a discomfort.

The untethered event becomes a fear which then commands life and death emotions and reactions, really disturbing our lives. Disconnecting us from life. Fear is disconnection. It lives in the horizontal, dispersed way of being.

A useful practice: Find the small original kernel, stay with it, reacquaint. Let it return to the size of an event. That is much better, almost laughable. Nearly enjoyable. Certainly a relief!


Two ways of being

January 1st, 2011 · No Comments

Fear or Joy

Fear: Autonomic nervous system for fight (push back) or flight (pull away). Fear–narrow focus, tense muscles; unable to "fall" where needed with no delay.

Joy: Parasympathetic nervous system for staying where you are, connecting, relaxation, rejuvenation, adaptation, growth, change. Joy–broad open focus, relaxed body, able to stay with whatever arises

Each is a practice. In the beginning a set of practices.



December 30th, 2010 · No Comments

That which does not flow from vertical integration. Reactive, threatened, anxious, analytical, disconnected.



December 26th, 2010 · No Comments

There is always some limit, some boundary, some separation that I choose–to protect me from… what?

"Sameness" is an innovation beyond Buber. It is the experience of being Sensi’s "you-you".

It is true connection.


Breath and anxiety

December 24th, 2010 · No Comments

Anxiety results in poor timing. Moving too soon or too late. Moving in the wrong direction.

Breathing before I need to is connected to moving before needed.

Holding my breath is connected to moving too late.

Breathing before necessary comes from my chest.

Breathing when necessary comes from my abdomen.


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?


A choice, not a reactive continuum

December 12th, 2010 · No Comments

Playfulness vs. apprehension; joy vs. fear–I now see that these are binary choices. The choice is to practice one or the other. The intensity of our reaction or experience can be placed on a continuum. The practice we embody in this moment is either/or.

How wonderful.

Joy or fear is a personal choice of practice, not a passive reaction to the vageries of the world.

The practices are as different as vertical and horizontal.


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.