What do you do if someone:
◆ speaks to you in a hostile tone?
◆ cuts in front of you in line?
◆ glares at you for no reason?
◆ spreads lies about you?
◆ says mean things to you?
These things often happen in life. Most people react negatively, defensively and confront the other person. In their head they are right and the other person is wrong. They are good and the other person is bad! A heated argument usually is the result. This can lead to a physical assault. The police may by called and things just spiral down hill from there. Both parties end up in a lose-lose situation.
Now, what if instead, you try another approach, the gentle, kind and loving approach. This is a more effective way to resolve conflicts. It is also much harder to do and requires strength of character, humility and courage. Traits many people lack today.
Instead of reacting, resisting and pushing back accept the situation, the person and just observe! Do nothing just watch the scene play out. Let the person have his or her way. It may look as if he or she has got the upper hand and that you lost something but what did you lose? You are still the same person. You are no smaller, poorer or worse off than a few minutes before the situation occurred, are you? The other person still has a problem that he or she is not even aware of.
Use kindness and calmness to defuse the confrontation. To do this requires you to be, and stay calm, relaxed, and focused on extending positive energy at all times. If you extend positive energy, negative energy cannot affect you. When water is flowing through a fire hose at full power nothing can enter the hose. If you pull your ki (or energy) in by becoming tense, nervous or angry, bad things will happen. You lose your keys, you have an accident, something bad happens to a loved one, you get sick, or in the worse case you may even lose your life!
In aikido we practice redirecting minus or negative energy away both physically and mentally. Physically a person comes charging at you. If you move slightly to the side at the correct time, put out your foot, he will trip and fall. He may come at you again, this time even more upset at you. Stay clam and redirect the attack by helping him to go the way he wants, maybe into a brick wall and sooner or later he will stop.
The aikido student doesn’t always back down or accept everything another person says. We are flexible and try to see things from the other person’s point of view. From there we lead him or her to a better place, or to a place where he or she can’t hurt others or themselves.
On a physical level again we have a technique in aikido called tenkan. For example,a person grabs my arm. I let him hold my arm without resisting. In my mind I relax and reduce the size of my arm by half, then half again, and again, until in my mind my arm is like a needle pin. Now I can move easily regardless how hard he is holding me. I move my body to the outside. Now I am standing next to him with both our arms extended in front of us. From here I lead him into a position where he is on the floor, unable to move because I have him locked up in a wrist and arm lock. We can stay here until he taps to show he gives up, until he calms down, or until the police arrive.
On a mental level we deal with negative energy in several ways depending on the situation. Sometimes we ask a question, smile, nod in agreement, remain quiet, or simply say I understand. If I respond appropriately, my peace of mind and lack of over reaction are my weapons to solve the problem. When people see that they cannot bother you, they will either leave you alone and go and pick on some other poor soul, or they will respect, admire and want to learn from you.
Aikido is a powerful instrument to help you lead a peaceful life. Why not try to find a place where you can study this beautiful art for yourself? If you live in County Down, Northern Ireland my dojo is in Dromore. We are open 6 days a week. You are welcome to come a try a free sample lesson.
Until next time I wish you peace, love, and happiness. Martin Acton sensei