In praise of the Aiki-dummy

The Aiki-dummy is a cute puppet, which our Sensei often draws on the whiteboard during classes.

Getting accustomed of seeing it training after training, it has almost become a member of the family; a somewhat particular practice partner.

It is so lovable. If we pay attention to its name, we can recognize that “dummy” derives from “dumb”. So defining an individual as a dummy means something more deep than the drawing itself.

Therefore our Aiki-dummy silently enters our keiko carrying the weight of its name with it. But that’s not enough.

In addition to the fatigue of its personal history, Aiki-dummy also has to face a two-dimensional body-shaming. It must be said, in its defense, that our Sensei comes from a school and academic background where if you have to draw, you were supposed to use Autocad.

So, poor Aiki-dummy: with its macrocephalic head, its wide and asymmetrical limbs, its face without eyes, nose nor mouth… It looks like an alien sent to conquer the planet Earth by its comrades, with not so much trust…

“Hey, Gvornxorb34, go ahead, we’ll follow…”

Something like this, really.

Yet Aiki-dummy is a precious ally of the practice. Since it is not possible to be worse than it, we all manage to identify with it to some extent.

It then becomes possible to understand a little more, through its modeling, how the left and right hemispheres work. What faculties they have. Our asymmetries and our dimension in space.

It even succeeds in making us understand how the most subtle components are integrated in our being. So in the head of the Aiki-dummy three little clouds intersect: red, green and blue, which symbolize spirit, mind and soul.

Aiki-dummy remains impassive. Mute witness to Sensei’s despondency when someone raises his hand and says:

“Ah, so the soul reflects the spirit and the mind”

If the Aiki-dummy was drawn at least with the lips, it could at least smile, listening for another time to the patient clarification: “The purpose of the mind is to reflect, therefore it acts as a ganglion between spirit and soul”… However, it neither has lips nor ears, so it can’t enjoy all this.

On the contrary. If the digressions on the subject lead the argument to lines of force, meridians, axes of rotation, the Aiki-dummy is pierced by lines and signs of all kinds. In short, a sort of voodoo doll in a martial sauce. Poor fellow.

In short, Aiki-dummy is the whiteboard samurai at the service of us who sometimes have more or less the same characteristics on the tatami. Sometimes we pass through the hours of practice or sharing time with the group as if we didn’t have eyes, ears, hands (the mouth, on the other hand, always works very well). Totally impervious to change, convinced that we actually have changed everything. Completely devoid of listening skills and empathy, convinced that we are somehow certified messiahs, the link between Gandhi and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

And what about our bodies… As strong as our conviction of being living statues of Michelangelo is, clumsiness is always around the corner.

Finally, if we had to give a tangible, visible and credible representation of the integration in us of body, mind, spirit and soul; should our being show the geometry of movement in an understandable way, there would probably be a surge in local GDP driven by the entire sector of psychoanalysis…

In short, we are all a bit dummies who do Aikido, in the many nuances of the term. Long live you, Aiki-dummy and thank you for your elusive presence in the Dojo.

Disclaimer: photo courtesy of Marco Rubatto

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