Aikido for Dummies
I saw a sign while in my car
for an Aikido seminar
That humbly promised to impart
A path of peace through martial arts.
The teacher was to be a man
Of strength and wisdom from Japan
(Which sounds much wiser and much older
Than just some guy who came from Boulder).
And I was nervous, I?ll admit,
For clearly this guy was legit,
But in I went and then, at last,
Ikeda Sensei started class.
?I say this first, you must refrain
From flailing limbs about in vain!
We use not strength, but other talents
To blend and so take Uke?s balance.
The secret, and this may sound strange,
Is find the line and make a change.?
Okay, I thought, no longer queasy
For all that sounded pretty easy.
So with a partner just like that
I bounded out onto the mat,
And said, ? Now, Uke, I?m just fine,
But I was told there?d be a line.
So, wait a minute,? then I walked
Right off the mat to get some chalk,
And said, ?Be patient, pardon me
While I just draw one on your Gi.
And goodness, you look big and strong,
But we?ll get through this, play along.?
So blithely I put forth my fist,
Then Uke firmly grabbed my wrist,
And though I had a lot to prove,
That stubborn Uke wouldn?t move!
?Um, Uke Sir,? I meekly quipped,
?Perhaps you haven?t read the script.
It clearly says that when I go
Like this, then Uke, well, you know.?
And as I stood there, getting riled,
Uke shook his head and smiled.
And I smiled back, then through my grin,
I swiftly kicked him in the shin,
And pushed and pulled, and thrashed around
Just trying to get Uke down.
This might have gone on the whole day
But Sensei came to wryly say,
?If you cannot make Uke fall,
Relax by drinking alcohol!
And when prepared rejoin the group
And move your hips like hula hoop!?
Not realizing he spoke in jest,
I went for broke and did my best
To limber up my stiff Aikido
By pounding four or five mojitos.
Feeling good, I staggered back
Onto the mat to get on track,
And hooped my hula in the groove,
But still that Uke wouldn?t move!
Again, our Sensei came along
To point out just where I?d gone wrong.
He said, as I knelt on the mat,
?Now, don?t do this, instead do that.?
So I said, ?Sensei, to my shame,
To me those two things look the same.
And I?m starting to think this whole shtick
Is just some ancient Jedi trick
Where Sensei stares and with a frown,
Says, Uke you will now go down!”
?No, no,? said Sensei, ?That?s not it.
No mind control do I emit.
I have no mystery to hide,
As you must learn to move inside.?
?Inside?? I said, still quite the dunce.
?Well, I?ll try any fool thing once.?
So I again put forth my fist,
While Uke firmly grabbed my wrist,
Then inward I forced my attention
And blurted out to ease the tension,
?My inside?s moving! Stop the Class!
Oh, never mind, it?s only gas.?
Then Sensei said with some dismay,
?No more will I teach you today.
What more there is you may derive
For only $19.95,
As much more teaching you can get
Right over there in my box set,
Where all this wisdom is preserved?
(Ikeda Sensei, rights reserved).

by Mark Shaughnessy