Marc's Reflection on Aikido & True Play

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)


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)



When time stood almost still

July 27th, 2012 · No Comments

When I was very young

And very present

Time stood almost still

Because it was being noticed.

Now I flip the pages to the chapter titles

And time flys away from me.

A summarized life moves too fast for joy.


Gratitude, Awe and Joy

March 19th, 2012 · No Comments

In that order


Participation, Sensation & True Play

February 18th, 2012 · No Comments

Re-Connect sensing with doing
Sense-Feel as you act
Sense into action (this is where we act-sense into-from knowing)
This is true participation.
Do it from a place of gratitude and joy and it is
True Play.

Acting without simultaneous embodied sensing has the effect of a bull in a china shop.


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.


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.



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.


Practice and positive psychology

December 14th, 2010 · No Comments

People do flourish when their experienced ratio of positive affect to negative affect is 4 to 1 or more.

One does not have to change others or the world to change one’s own affective experience. One can develop personal practices of acceptance which shift from fear into joy and true play.


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.