Being Connected and Related – Aikido Principles to Create Love, Connection and Peace

My daughter says that my blog posts have been too essay-like, too didactic. So, I’m gonna try a different tact in this post–a little more of stream of consciousness writing. Here we go…

We as human beings are all connected! It is an illusion that we are separate and disconnected individuals. Even before I ever stepped in an Aikido dojo, before the transformation and coaching work I have been involved with in the last 25 years; I experienced that profound connection with other human beings. We all have!

Generally, we experience that profound connection at a very young age, usually with the first relationships in our life–our parents. At that early age, we have an automatic connection to other human beings. As we grow older, we become more and more separate and disconnected with others. We lose the ability to automatically connect as our identity solidifies.

For me, the profound connection with other human beings dwindled to only a handful of people in my life. They include: my mom and dad, my siblings, a few close friends, my wife, and my children. Even in these relationships, I experienced the ebbs and flows of connection and disconnection with them through time. In working with lots of other people, I find this scenario seems to resonate with them too. It is a human condition that we lose our ability to connect with others as we grow up due to decisions we made in different incidents in our life. These decisions become something in the background that we don’t even realize are there, and they determine how we interact and relate with others.

One of these decisions for me was created when I was 9 years old. At that age, my best friend was Brian, and he lived down the street from me. We would walk to and from school together every day. After school, we would be over each other’s houses just hanging out and playing games. We even looked out for each other against bullies in the neighborhood. One day, I went over to Brian’s house after school. He was playing with one of the bullies. He told me to go home and that the bully was now his best friend and he won’t play with me anymore. I was devastated! I decided that friends can’t be trusted and they will betray you. From that point on, every friend I made, I’m either looking for them to betray me, or I am testing their loyalty to me. Sooner or later, all my friends would either betray me or distance themselves from me as they grew tired of my loyalty tests. Each time they did so, it would reinforce my decision of “friends can’t be trusted and they will betray me.” As I unravel these decisions in my life, there returns a natural sense of love, connection, and relatedness to others.

We practice to connect (center-to-center) with our partners in our Aikido practice. The connection can be a physical one, such as a wrist grab or an incoming strike. The practice is not to concentrate on the point of contact but to connect and flow with our partner’s center as a whole. If you’re aware in this practice, you’ll start to notice the obstacles to connecting with your partner in yourself. You may start to see that your approach may be to try and force things to work without experiencing a connection. Or, you may see that you are shy or guarded in your practice, fearful of being hurt (or vulnerable). Or, you may see that you are someone who wants to “figure things out” logically rather than experiencing the connection and flow. These are clues to the decisions you’ve made in your life and the practices are opportunities to notice these ways of being and acting that are undistinguished decisions you made. When you distinguish these decisions, they disappear and you are left free to “just be” and connect profoundly with others.

What decisions have you made about yourself or others that keep you from connecting and relating with others?

Practice connecting with others and notice what conversations you have about yourself or others that keep you separate and disconnected.

Have a Great Day and May I See You On The Mat!

Thanh Huynh
Leadership, Executive and Life Coach – San Jose, CA – San Francisco Bay Area

If you would like to chat with me about how I can help you move forward in your leadership and life, please email me at

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