Down and low

2017.03.15.009.webNotre-Dame from the towpath as I look back through the arch of the Pont Saint-Michel by the River Seine, Paris, France. Photography by Nguyen Thanh Thiên © 2017

Light is most important when one is down. The standing position is most important when one is lying down. I like to practise the art of standing up as I am pushed down. This too is the art of Ukemi, the fall, the break-fall, the roll, the leaf flop, what ever you may name it. From darkness, one looks onto light with hope, determination, eagerness to enter the fight.

Within or without, one has to fight all the way up. This is an important part of Ringenkai Aikido. Martial arts starts with a bow and ends with a bow. This is a martial proverb. Yet one has to find an application to these words, to all words that come out of our mouth. We should never talk in vain. As I understand them, I enter the confrontation with a bow and I have to fight to find the conditions to end with a bow. I enter the darkness of opposition and have to fight the way back to a position when both of us are standing, facing one another with respect, setting behind our grudge, our misunderstanding. This is how I understand “Welcome the oncoming light.” I have to build the conditions for light through arduous efforts, overcoming my blindness as well as that of my opponent.

This is ukemi as I look up at Notre-Dame from the towpath.


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