I began practicing Aikido in 1992 when I was in graduate school in Chicago. I love aikido dearly. I have practiced at many schools over the years, and now I am fortunate to have Wendy Palmer at Aikido of Tamalpais as my teacher. I found Wendy through her first book, The Intuitive Body: Aikido as Clairsentient Practice which I read in 1993 when I was living in Chicago. Her book completely spoke to me, and I was living very far from her dojo at that time. In 2009, I read her second book, The Practice of Freedom: Aikido Principles as Spiritual Guide.
At that time I was practicing at another Bay Area dojo. When I read the chapter in this book, “Understanding the Vertical,” which talks about the strength and lightness available to us when we “ground up” instead of grounding down and placing the load of our partner’s force on our joints, I was hooked. In all my years of aikido training I had never heard a teacher speak of “grounding up.” I went to her dojo to watch a class, and shortly I was driving an hour each way to train in her classes.
Through my diagnosis and healing the community at Aikido of Tamalpais has been incredibly helpful to me. Training less and more gently, per my Tibetan doctor’s instruction, is teaching me to feel the energy in my system on an even subtler level instead of being taken up by the energy I am perceiving from my partner. I believe that in the end, this will further my aikido; Wendy often speaks about creating within our own system a line that is so compelling that it incorporates the energy of the attacker, so that she has no choice but to follow it. Tuning in even more deeply to my own energy enhances my ability to find within the field of energy I am moving in the line along which to move with my partner.
Aikido of Tamalpais
The website of Consciousness Embodiment, the form that Wendy Palmer has created to examine the somatic imprint in the body: