Lose-Lose

A word of caution about a situation you can create for yourself as you study Aikido. It is called “lose – lose”. As you begin to develop some proficiency in the basic techniques of Aikido, it is only natural to want to show all of your friends and relatives what you have learned. DON’T, I REPEAT, DON’T! What you will do is enter the realm of “lose – lose”.

As you are first learning the pins and techniques in Aikido, it requires a certain degree of cooperation on the part of your uke. Your partners in class have made the decision to work with you on your techniques and have agreed to accept, with understanding, whatever pain you may inflict upon them. Most of the pins in Aikido involve some level of pain as a controlling device. Your ukes are aware of this and will do whatever is necessary to protect themselves from injury as you perform the technique.

Your friends and relatives are NOT aware of the normal process of studying Aikido and have NOT agreed to the pain. When you attempt to apply the pin one of two events will occurs.

It doesn’t work, because you still haven’t developed your own abilities to the point where the technique will work on anyone. Your own ego takes a blow and so you “lose”.

In the second case, it DOES work. As your friend experiences the pain, their own ego will prevent them from being forced down gently. They resist the motion and this forces you to apply more pressure. The cycle then accelerates until eventually, they experience severe pain with some degree of injury to one of the nerves or joints. Remember, your friends have not been to class and have not been taught how to move with the pain in order to protect themselves. The end result is that they become angry with you because they had an inherent trust in you and did not expect you to injure them. Again you lose.

It is quite natural to be enthusiastic about developing new skills, but Aikido; applied in an uncontrolled manner can cause severe and permanent injury to the joints, nerves, and bones of your partner.

Oftentimes others will encourage you to show them what you have learned. Usually, this is because they want to prove to you that they can take care of themselves and don’t need a martial art.

If someone wants you to show them what you have learned. Invite them to come to class with you. Those that are really interested in learning about Aikido will visit the class. Those that are trying to “prove” something won’t. By bringing them to class, you turn the “lose – lose” situation into a “win – win” situation.

Copyright: 1987 Oscar G. Medina – San Dan Hombu Aikido