Nights of saying “ichi” and “ni”

I acquired a new belt in my aikido yesterday. It’s yellow, not black, but I’ve not been doing it for long, so give me time.

This has yellow on it, but sadly it is not the one I am talking about.

Aikido is a funny old martial art. It is quite “meta” and attracts (a) people who have previous martial arts experience and (b) people who are a quite well-educated. Or at least it seems to.

Here is an excerpt of a recent warm-up that might give you an inkling of what I mean.

Sensei: “Okay – get into a circle… actually, there are only three of us, get into a triangle. Wrists!”

Me: “Who’d have thought there would be so much geometry in aikido?”

Sensei: “What’s the sum of the internal angles of a triangle? Hips!”

Me: “Er… 180 degrees?”

Sensei: “And do all triangles have 180 degrees in them? Knees!”

Me: “Um, no, sensei. Only in Euclidean geometry.”

Sensei: “That’s right! So does this triangle have 180? Toes!”

Me: “I suppose it has slightly more than 180?”

Sensei: “Good! Line up!”

This is presumably what they mean when they talk about keeping both mind and body active.