Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Gentle Touch

Most things respond to the ‘gentle touch’ and the ‘gentle touch’ works well in all areas of life.

This includes Martial Arts and more importantly, relationships. Which in essence are what Martial Arts and life are about – establishing, developing, nurturing and sometimes safeguarding relationships.

Whether the relationships are, personal – one to one, within a group, nationally or internationally, employing the ‘gentle touch’ is the most constructive and positive way to deal with people and will always win through in the end.

Imagine, having a handful of sand, if you grip it tightly it squeezes through your fingers and you lose most of it.  What is left is crushed and misshapen. But, if you hold it carefully and gently, it moulds itself into your hand and none is lost.  It still maintains its own identity and independence.  It rests easily, conforming to the shape you form for it, blending and it comfortably becomes part of you.

Other well-known analogies are the bird and the butterfly.  If you try to hold either of them other than gently, they will struggle to escape or you will crush them.

In Martial Arts and life, a hard, strong, aggressive technique or approach may work.  But, you may be left with disharmony, damage, death and a negativity, which usually promotes or incites a very similar reaction.  This may develop and increase in scope and intensity, involving more and more people either by choice or not.  You can see where this may lead!

For example: In an aggressive act it is obvious that violence begets violence.  It is also true for a defensive act; if you are attacked and you respond ‘violently’ causing damage or worse to your attacker, their family, friends, allies will respond similarly causing a chain reaction of violence and chaos (Feuds, vendetta’s, conflict and wars).  This is regardless of where any blame lies; in life, blame or responsibility are easily or conveniently shifted, disregarded or ignored to meet current needs or agendas.

If however, you were to blend with your attacker’s energy (preferably before they form an ‘intent’ to attack), and lead them to a position where their energy is dissipated, then their capacity to harm you is gone and they are controlled but unharmed.

This is also very confusing for them!  They are usually used to the ‘feel’ of violence and the pain and discomfort of physical combat and they use this to reinforce their aggression, i.e.

 They attack, the other person retaliates, they get hit, - pain – adrenaline/endorphins/pain limiting chemicals released – a new monster emerges – a renewed more violent attack.

Some individuals actually get a ‘buzz’/‘high’, out of this cocktail of chemicals in their system and the feeling of control and power it gives them.  They can actually become ‘addicted’ to violence.

But, if upon attacking they find themselves for example sitting on their backsides relatively unhurt, they do not know how they got there, but they know you had something to do with it. Their thoughts may be ‘Oh bother, what on earth happened there?’ Or words to that effect!

Their friends/family/allies get to know, they then view you with more caution and respect, there is less likelihood of a repeat performance, sometimes, new alliances and friendships can be formed or at least a stalemate is achieved.

As mentioned, an even better strategy is to ‘react in advance’ (sen-no-sen); blend with them before their intent is formed. Recognise and blend with the ‘instigators’ of intent, dissipate whatever factors may be involved in the forming of the intent to attack.  The intent and desire will then be stillborn, dying in the womb as it were.          

This is very hard to do! It is called DIPLOMACY.

This does not mean be soft and passive, rather be assertive but use the ‘gentle touch’.

The ‘gentle touch’ applies to all things in life, it is the ‘strategy of harmony’ - A positive force in this world.

To find out more about Sensei Seth's club visit www.zanshinaikido.co.uk You can e-mail Peter at psethp@yahoo.co.uk