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The Principle of Non-Resistance


Beads of sweat glistened on the shaved head, the thin mouth stretched into a subtle smile that struck me as mocking. His musky odor wafted over to me in bursts to the languid rhythm of the wheezing fans. His long ligneous toes clutched the tatami, his athletic and powerful body dominating me with his size and the impudence of a man aware of his physical strength. How could a woman even think of competing with such a mass?

I moved too late and too poorly and his two outstretched arms found me, all my strength combined to hold back his and keep it from coming down on my head. Hair stuck to my forehead, heat, humidity, sweat coursing in irritating streams into my eyes, under my armpits, and down my back, the salty burn in my cornea, eyelids rising and falling, rapid breathing, heart pumping blood, hot sticky blood flowing through my veins toward the alveoli in my lungs for the much-needed oxygen to be harvested...

Instead of putting my foot in front of him, as he was expecting, I stepped in from behind and, with a twisting motion, made him lose his balance. Forward, backward, his great body slumped ungracefully to the ground.

A quote from Morihei Ueshiba came to mind: “The Art of Peace is based on the principle of non-resistance. Because it is non-resistant, it is victorious from the start.”

My partner got to his feet and grumbled, “But that wasn’t the technique we were supposed to practice...”

Yes, but it was the one that worked.

Translated by Luke Owen Bolt

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