For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing an in depth study of Irimi, which translates into English as, “go straight into an attacker.” It takes a lot of courage to go straight into an attack, especially when your attacker is bigger and stronger than you.
Courage is something we can develop, According to the oxford dictionary courage means The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery. So notice that it doesn’t mean not being afraid, but doing something in spite of being afraid.
As a child, growing up, I did this all the time, especially when pressured into it. I remember my first roller coaster ride. I was terrified. My brother, Yuri, pressured me into riding, finally giving in, I got on, and had the time of my life. I rode that coaster 10 more times that day! It was so much fun.
As I’ve aged and learned about the consequences of making bad choices or something going wrong, I’ve developed a deeper, rooted fear. A fear that really gets in the way of accomplishing things because it just doesn’t go away.
Now more than ever, developing courage has become extremely important, especially if I want to leave my comfort zone and grow.
In Aikido, my fear of getting hit or my fear of not being able to perform the technique in front of the class, hasn’t gone away.
Of course, when I get angry and the adrenaline starts pumping, I’m definitely not afraid but at that point I don’t need courage, I need restraint!
Every time I perform the movement of Irimi, I feel the fear of getting hit. It’s such an important part of Aikido, because that’s when courage takes place.
If you feel like you’re about to get hit, guess what, your attacker feels like he’s about to hit you, and bingo! you get the full strength of an attack. Remember, Aikido only works if your attacker is attacking you!
Now, how does that translate into everyday living. Gosh, how many times have you skipped out on a meeting, a date, facing someone up front, or just telling a loved one the truth! because you were afraid.
How can you develop the courage to do what is right, to tell the truth, or walk into a meeting, face an adversary with your head held high?
Courage is a muscle that we develop with training, and little by little we become more and more courageous. Does the fear ever go away, For me, maybe with simple things like riding a roller coaster and realizing that there was nothing to be afraid of, but for some things, that fear never goes away, and is there for a reason.
Fear is defined, as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Understanding that and how it affects our mind will definitely help develop courage.
I’ve heard fear stands for many things: Future Events Appearing Real, Forget Everything and Run, Face Everything and Rejoice.
In her book The Art of Fear: Why conquering fear won’t work and what to do instead, Ulmer Kristen talks extensively on why we shouldn’t neglect fear and the long term effects it will have on us if we do.
It’s a great read, I checked it out from the Houston Library on February 22, 2018! I love our public libraries!
In Aikido we get the chance, on a physical level, to understand and develop courage through the practice of Irimi, going straight into an attack.
Well, that is a bit misleading, because we don’t actually go straight in, but it sure does feel that way! The main idea in Aikido is to blend in and not crash. It’s how we do it that makes all the difference in the world. Ever heard that saying, It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.
Do you want to develop courage and enjoy the benefits of Aikido, if so, come and try a class. Visit my website for more information. And, remember to like, subscribe and share! If you want to know how you can apply lessons learned in Aikido to daily life, please comment. Let me know what you’d like to hear.