Essence
By Jeff Potter

In the scheme of life, our existence weighs upon much more than making money and having a house and fitting into a career. It is important not to leave out the critical foundation of our lives which provides everything we could possibly need to sustain us, without money and corruption and modern technology. This foundation is, of course, nature. in nature we can find our true selves in the purest form of the creation of the Great Spirit by blending with the rhythms of life which are not dependent upon amenities and currency; where the only form of trade is one life for another in a dance that eliminates the sick and lame but keeps the strong healthy and flourishing. In the martial arts, we also should not let the true essence of the movements' origins escape our enlightenment. One should be able to relate the dance or rhythm of the martial arts to that of nature and blend them together to form a secure interpretation of being "One" with the universe. It has been said that for one to truly be One with nature, one should feel the same for the death of a blade of grass as for the death of a brother. There are many arguments and perspectives to consider and respect on these things, but in truth, if something does not stand in the test of nature, it is an anomaly. A simple example is a non-biodegradable product. These things are made by man's ingenuity and not by nature, therefore, they are not truly a part of the natural rhythm or flow.

So too with the martial arts. As Sensei Thomas Crumb has said, "Through conflict comes resolution." As the ocean crashes onto the rock, it forms itself onto the rock, and the rock resists. Then, there is conflict. Yet as the rock begins to accept the ocean's attack, it gives way and becomes sand, which is the foundation that supports the ocean. As a tree decays, it becomes food for other forms of life and eventually becomes the very food and foundation of its children. This is resolution--giving in to the forces of nature and blending with the rhythms of life.

As we perform the techniques of Aikido or Kung-Fu, etc., we can see the direct influences of such natural movements as those of the Crane, the Leopard, the Spider, the Tornado and the Atom; to name but a few. Look at the Nikkyo wrist twist and you should easily be ale to identify, if you truly extend your ki up and around the arm, the wrapping characteristic of the Boa or a grapevine. Feel the effortless power of the tornado or the web-spinning speed of the spider in Aikinage. Become a Dragon in the whipping flow and gravity of Sumiotoshi. As the techniques of the martial arts should be part of our natural flow, we also become part of the whole essence of the martial arts; this is very much the way of becoming one with nature and the universe.