A few months ago, I?ll begin to explain,
I went to a class at Aikido of Maine.
A seminar, really, though I couldn?t tell
What was to go on there, but said, ?What the hell.?
But the seminar, sadly, was just what I feared
For aikido, it seems, is a little bit weird.
Sensei Ikeda would stand and expound
About moving one?s internal organs around.
He did all kinds of moves that we couldn?t define,
And he told us to walk on invisible lines.
And I thought, ?My goodness, it?s quite plain to see
That aikido?s for others, it isn?t for me.?
But then, some months later, perhaps by design
I stumbled across a quite similar sign.
?Mary Heiny is coming,? it said, ?so come all,
Aikido?s an art for the large and the small.?
So I said ok, and felt oddly enticed,
For I?ll try any fool thing twice.
Mary Heiny, mature, of diminutive size,
With a smile on her face and a gleam in her eyes
Looked just like my mother, with thin, graying hair
And she taught the whole class as she rocked in her chair.
The first thing she taught us, which left us all shrugging
Was an ancient technique, that I think she called ?hugging.?
?Hey, whoa, whoa, hold on there,? I said, ?Now wait, Mary
This hugging technique is a little bit scary!?
But Mary just smiled with a beckoning wave,
So I walked on the mat and I stood there?with Dave.
I tried to get through it while looking unfazed,
So ever so slowly, averting my gaze,
I walked toward Dave?s center, as if to a trap,
Put my arms on his shoulders, then added ?tap, tap.
The tapping?s important, ?cause just like a broom
It sweeps all the willies right out of the room.
So instead of escaping, as we were both wishing,
It says to the other, ?Hey bud, let?s go fishing!?
When we finished hugging, instead of hurrah?s,
We stood in a circle and sang Kumbaya.
It was like we had all taken wonderful drugs,
As then all the techniques started looking like hugs!
These guys were attacking me, hitting my face,
But I was to greet them with this warm embrace?
I thought, ?Where is the fighting, the punches, the kicks,
And all of those gnarly-type martial arts tricks?
And what of machismo? The ruling of masses?
The taking of names and the kicking of asses??
And then all at once, getting up from the floor,
I came to a thought that I hadn?t before.
That maybe it?s not about pushing and shoving,
That maybe, just maybe Aikido is loving.
Nah, that can?t be it. There?s no mushy stuff in it.
But I had you guys going there, just for a minute!

Inspired from a Mary Heiny seminar at Aikido of Main
March 2011 by Mark Shaughnessy