Keep one point

One of the tenants of Aikido is keep one point. Move, think and be from a central point in one’s person; this is a physical consideration and something that extends beyond. One quickly understands in practice that it’s difficult to throw someone by separately using hands, arms, torso and legs; but if the movement and intent comes combined from one point, the result is fluid. It’s the same with accepting a throw from a partner; if one tumbles through as an assembly of limbs and body, it’s like hitting the mat in pieces.
Of course, one can’t think too much about it or the body does not hear what the mind is saying. It’s difficult to think all the kinetic necessities together. It’s difficult to do something that is beyond doing; it’s a matter of being. There is a risk here of falling into a wash of abstract language that covers over any sensible meaning; I’ve read many descriptions of one point and it’s often difficult to tell if the writer is far beyond us in understanding—or completely full or fooey. But I don’t think it’s a paradox to say this idea is so removed from the physical that it’s the most concrete notion we can experience.

I think this may have saved my life.

In the accident there was one position I could be in to remain uninjured; everything else was a mangle of metal. That point is where I came to rest in the end; inches removed in any direction were steel bars, pipes and the underside of tractor-trailer that had, a split second before, shuttled past my body at high speed. There was no way for me to think myself to a place of safety—no time to consider where to be or what was happening. There was just one point.

It’s synchronicity; I believe there is something in or connected to me that found that place without my conscious participation. There were a series of moments, a succession of otherwise awful consequences that came to one point—life. We talk about how frail life is; yet, despite all the apparent dangers, we are obviously alive more than we experience death. Life and consciousness seem to be our normal state; we are connected moment by moment to that place of safety.