In Sunday morning Aikido practice, Sensei Bobby had us practice taking falls, so that we can take harder throws when necessary. The uke, the one taking the falls, comes in to grab both wrists of the nage, the thrower. So the nage leads the uke with his or her hands in front until the uke has to fall on his or her own. In a sense, the attacker defeats his or herself in the attack itself. That’s Aikido.
On the uke’s part, they have to commit to coming all the way through, not stopping before taking the fall. You tilt your head and torso back, opening up your body and take the fall. I didn’t come all the way through initially practicing the fall.
Sensei told me, “Move in as far as you can, then take one step more.” Yeah, I followed his instruction. I got it. After class Bobby said, “We all have to practice opening up, to be free.” I smiled, “Yeah, that goes for everything.” He smiled too.
Sometimes, when we do what we love or even what we have to do, giving our all: We move in as far as we can and then stop. Perhaps, take one step more. It’s okay to stop in whatever you pursue if you’re either hurt or disabled—or even if you no longer want it. I believe there’s honor in stopping. Be true to thine own self.
Being responsible for me, I’ve discovered that I can take “one step more”. It’s what Teddy Roosevelt says in “The Man in the Arena”: Strive valiantly and fail bravely. Very often, you and I are a lot stronger than we create ourselves to be. Take one step more when things are tough and you don’t know what’s going to happen and have faith within you. So you fail? At least you fail knowing that you risked yourself. You gave your best shot. Learn from failure, and most importantly be kind to you. Keep taking your steps forward.
I fail a whole lot in rigorous Aikido weapons training. I’m 56 years old and dedicating myself to something new. I don’t think I’ll be as good at weapons as I am with empty hand technique. Yet, Sensei inspires me to keep taking one step more. I discover joy in that I’m better than I thought.
After working with Ken, who has been a close friend since high school, I self-published my book on Amazon. I even copyrighted my book with the Library of Congress with Ken’s assistance. I expressed myself to the world with my book. That was terrifying. That was so worth doing.
Perhaps over a dozen people, including Ken and my Mom, read the book. I could have stopped there. Yet, I heard from others that what I wrote made some difference: making them look at their lives and their relationships. That was my hope all along.
So in taking one step more, I’m writing my next book. Like Bobby says, I’m opening myself up. I’m free to be me.
I think there may be some syrupy or philosophical approaches for dealing with adversity. Each individual challenge is personal and matters, because it’s what you have at risk.
Look within you. You’re often more powerful than what you already created yourself to be. Have faith in the possibility of what you will become. Take that one step more, before you stop. If you fail, you fail with honor and bravery. Learn from failure, learn from your mistakes. I’ll take failing valiantly over “I should have…” Take one step more.
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.