Posted by: aikithoughts | August 21, 2006

Let it go

Let it go.

Just let it go.

Already you are thinking: “How can I let it go?” Or, you are thinking: “Ah, I think I understand what he means when he says to let it go.” These thoughts are illusory; they mean nothing. You cannot ask yourself how, because the question implies there is something you must do. You cannot say you think you understand, because that implies that the solution can be brought about by thought. Come to think of it, you might ignore the statement altogether in the hope that through constant action you will find the meaning. This will not work either.

I am convinced that whatever answers we seek as aikidoka lie not in thought or action. It is not that easy. That would be like saying you understand a sunset simply because you recognize the sun is setting on the horizon and the sky is growing dark. Both are true, but do nothing to explain the full experience of watching the sun go down.

Think of yourself as standing on a cliff. Below you–way, way below you–deep blue water awaits. But it is a long way down. You can try to think yourself into jumping, but you will hesitate, for you have a fear of falling. You might jump without thinking, but as a result miss the beauty of the experience because you are not of “no-mind;” you are merely mindless. You might ask someone else how to jump, but this is ridiculous; no one can jump for you–they can only show you that they themselves can jump, that jumping is actually possible. The only true solution is that moment when you sum up your entire being: your fear, your hope, your joy, your anger, your courage. You sum it up, and that propels you to jump. You give in to the universe. You say to yourself, to the universe around you: “To hell with figuring this stuff out. I’m just going to jump. With every fiber of my mind and being, I’m going to jump.” And at that moment, there is a glorious feeling of totality.

That moment is the closest thing I can describe that ressembles ki power. You cannot think “How can I have ki?” You can not pretend that mere thought alone will help you understand ki, you cannot mindlessly repeat technique in the hopes that ki will find you. You have to chuck it all away, tell it to take a hike, and just move. Life? Death? Whatever. Those are abstract concepts you can discuss over a beer later. Move now, exist now, live now…

…and let it go.

(These were the thoughts I had after a weekend seminar with Sensei Bannister. Perhaps they do not make sense to anyone else but me. Perhaps tomorrow I won’t understand them either. But I wanted to share them nonetheless.)



  1. “Let it go” reminds me of the Eastern concept of surrender. Especially in the teacher-student relationship, the student must “surrender” – become open to the lessons imparted, or discipleship becomes impossible. It’s a combination of removing past conditioning, and trust. Ki, or any kind of energy, tends to flow downward (like in your cliff analogy), from yang to yin (inaction, mushin etc.)

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