open to influence

Freeforming is about opening to influence. To be in-formed by the situation. I am informed by you.

The earliest use of the word “influence” was to to imply a “flowing in”. Only later did it accrue the sense of exerting personal power.

I like the earlier sense. It describes the exquisite opening and sensitising to what is already stirring in the situation. To allow it to flow into me and allow me to be formed afresh.

Of course in someways this stands at the opposite pole from that of a martial art where the attitude is one of ultimately taking control, of exerting the influence.

What I love about the idea of influence is the possibility that I might be changed by something I hadn’t thought of.

(The growth seeding novelty of contact in the Gestalt understanding.)



While recently working a lot from the ground I have revisited the aikido notion of “extension”.

Extension for me is the sense of “bringing myself fully to the meeting”. It is both approaching and opening to my partner. It has something of Gestalt Therapy’s coming to the “contact boundary”.

Extension is what procduces the possibility of cohesiveness in the ki-musubi or the blending.

The active and receptive quality of extension transforms the contact from arbitary grabs and pressures into a unified yet morphing stream of evolving contact.

It is this that contributes my experience of the expansion time in practice. Our encounter moves from a sequence of stuttering moments into into one elongated pervasive sweep!

Strangley the sense and necessity of extension becomes for me more acute when contacting my partner from the ground.Working on the ground highlights the necessity for me to bring my whole body torso and head as well as limbs into a vital quality of extension so that that no contact is arbitary or subsiduary.