Resolving Problems While Being at Ease and in the Flow!

In this article, I cover the following benefits:

  • How to identify a problem and move it from the background to the forefront of your mind
  • Identify the commitment that is behind the problem
  • How to shift your view of problems such that you have peace of mind in the midst of dealing with the problems
  • Effectively accomplishing what you’re committed to in the face of problems


In Aikido practice, we often say, “they’re not the problem, you are!” So, as I practice techniques on the mat, I’m inquiring into what that statement means to me.

In most martial arts, the aim is to develop techniques to deal with the attacks coming at you–be it a punch, kick, grab, or throw. That means the practitioner deals with the attacks and defend against it using techniques developed. In other words, the punch, kick, or grab becomes a “problem” for me to deal with as an aikidoka. Therefore, how I perceive the punch, kick, or grab (or how they occur for me) will dictate my response.

When I first started Aikido practice and someone grabbed my wrist, the problem was the wrist grab and I was developing the techniques to defend against such an attack. My techniques was effective but very forceful and strength oriented.

As I continue to train and develop, I learn to relate to my partner and develop “center-to-center” techniques, where the grab is no longer the problem for me to solve but how my center is interacting with my partner’s center in response to the grab. This requires a fraction of the strength and force needed to execute the technique and the problem becomes the handling of my partner overall.

As I continue practice to begin to master these techniques, I am no longer dealing with the grab nor my partner as a problem, I am standing in the flow of the energy system (being connected and related to my partner) and the techniques become a natural expression of that flow. In that flow, there is no attacks and no attackers (no problems), only the natural expression of the interactions between my partner and I. This way of practice is never ending and I continue to grow and develop inside of this practice.


How Does This Relate to my Personal and Professional Life?

A “problem” in training on the mat may be a little easier identified and dealt with than a problem in life. So, I started consciously to identify problems in my life. Some examples: I go out to my car to drive to an appointment and I noticed I have a flat tire; or I receive my son’s school report card in the mail and I see his grades are not as good as I’d like them to be; or my boss comes to me two weeks before a project is completed and tells me to add scope to the project that will require an additional two weeks to complete but I must complete the project within the original deadline.


Let’s Look at the Flat Tire Example:

Is having a flat tire an inherent problem? If the flat tire was on a car that  is not running and sitting in the driveway for the last six months, would it be a problem right now? Probably not.

As I look even closer, I see that a flat tire is not a problem for the tire itself nor is it a problem for the car neither. So, why does it occur for me as a problem? Because it IS a problem for me! Stated another way: “I need to get to my appointment by 10am but my car has a flat tire and it’s 8:30am.” Clearly, this is a problem for me.

My first inclination is to be angry and stressed out about how I can fix this situation so that I can make it to my appointment. But as my Aikido training kicks in, I’m suddenly “in the flow” of the moment and I’m grounded in the reality of the situation. The reality is: I’m committed to be at my appointment at 10am and I have a flat tire. The operative part being: my commitment to get to my appointment on time!

Having a flat tire is just how the “flow” is presented to me in the moment against my commitment to be at my appointment on time. So, I have many different options in the flow. I can put the spare tire on. I can ask my wife to take her car. I can call a taxi or uber. I can call my appointment and give them a new promise to when I will arrive. In the flow, I’m doing what I need to do to fulfill on my commitment and not be bothered or upset that I have a flat tire.


So, The Practice in Life is:

When presented with a problem, look for what I’m committed to have happen and flow with what’s so to fulfill my commitment and not be stopped or angry or stressed by the problem itself!


Have a Great Day!

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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