The Agile Mindset - Beginner's Mind, Egocentric Bias - Extended
A deeper dive into The Agile Mindset - Beginner's Mind, Egocentric Bias.
(This post is part of an on-going series dedicated to developing Agile mastery. It's for paid subscribers and includes additional material - sometimes brief, sometimes lengthy - to help deepen the reader's understanding of the ideas presented in the lead article, "The Agile Mindset - Beginner's Mind, Egocentric Bias.")
"When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it." - Bernard Bailey
Irimi nage. Among Aikido students, it's unofficially called "the twenty year technique" because it can take that long to fully master the technique.
I practiced Aikido for 25 years and I can't say that I fully mastered irimi nage. Each day's practice seemed to reveal more nuances and insights for when to apply the technique and how. There are perhaps two reasons why this is the case.
The "how" and "when" is very much dependent on the "who." In Aikido, the "who" is the uke, or "attacker," if you will. What works for a 6'5", 275 pound male uke won't work for a 5'0", 100 pound female and vice versa. (And by "works" I mean a conflict resolution that harms neither the attacker nor the defender.)
More than anything else, success with irimi nage depends on the ability to identify the attacker’s center of gravity and blending with it before redirecting the attack energy in a harmless direction. This is frequently describes as moving into the eye of the hurricane.
It's this second point that applies to developing an Agile mindset. The ability to let go of your point of view, fully adopt another person's perspective, and blend with it. In our physical lives, we have kinetic examples, such as Aikido's irimi nage, to illustrate and teach this principle. To actually experience the forces of gravity - whether serving as uke or nage - drives any illusions of magic or untested assumptions of skill from the student's mind. In our cognitive lives, the examples are much more ethereal and ephemeral. In this environment, our egos wield great power toward enforcing and re-enforcing treasured assumptions and luxury beliefs.
I can't help commenting on the video linked in this article. It brings back many wonderful memories. Mr. Jones does a good job of demonstrating a few of the important highlights of the technique while hinting that there is much more involved in mastering the technique. As a way to connect better with the essence of irimi nage, watch the video several times and replace the uke in the video one of the following: