As I approach my one year anniversary of practicing Aikido, I find myself reflecting on how far I've come. While I'm still nowhere near close to the ability of the senior students or my senseis; I'm starting to become comfortable enough with the basics that some techniques start to show up in normal life. Oftentimes without conscious thought.
For instance, I happen to be a smoker. I have no excuse except that I'm an idiot, and I will eventually quit. That having been said, as a smoker I have a very close physical relationship with my lighter. Not that way
. Oftentimes, I will pull my lighter from my pocket upside down. I've noticed that when this happens, my body tends to do a neat little flip move that turns it the proper orientation - a flip move that I cannot replicate consciously. At least, that's what I used to do...
Now, when I don't think about it - and both of my hands are free - I find myself doing something different. One of the Aikido hand change positions often used for kote geishi. Again, if I think about it, I cannot do it - but if I let my body simply do what it thinks needs to be done it's magically right-side up again. Weird.
There are other little things of course.
I was raking my yard the other day and quickly my arms got tired. I have a big yard and I'm pretty poorly conditioned (I should work more on that). About the time that my arms started feeling noodly and I contemplated quitting for the day, my body remembered basic Aikido principles. I found myself doing the first part (up to the turn itself) of the ikkyo tenkan taiso. For the record, this is a great way to rake my yard.
A few months previous I was visiting my parents house, and was out back chasing some little cousins of mine. As I was just about to catch on of them, he dove to the ground in a huddle, trying to get me to overrun him. Unfortunately, he dove right in front of my path - luckily I unconsciously did a forward diving roll - saving him from being squished, and become extra cool to him in the process.
There are a hundred little stories about pushing my lawnmower with ki, or finding myself doing a little tenkan movement as I enter a room to turn on a light switch, or how I now catch objects with a more blending style, or find myself in seiza when playing with nieces - but these are pretty boring; so I'll refrain from going into them further.
My question to the rest of you is this - what ways have you found Aikido sneaking up on you in your normal life?