I am having a look at motion right now.
How people move, in relation to all other things.
In a lot of martial arts there is a notion called “ukemi”
A common take is that ukemi, (which Aikido calls “the art of falling”), is thought of as the passive, difficult, or the less desirable aspect of practice. The “fun” part is throwing people. The boring part is getting thrown.
The action of uke is called “taking ukemi (受け身).” Literally translated as “receiving body”, it is the art of knowing how to respond correctly to an attack and often incorporates skills to allow one to do so safely. These skills can include moves similar to tumbling and are often used as a valid exercise in itself. In aikido and judo training for instance, many classes begin with ukemi training as conditioning.
But there is a different way to approach ukemi that is not only more interesting, but much more effective. It means shifting your mindset from passive to active around the practice:
(At its simplest) Instead of being pulled around and thrown to the ground, you realize a tremendous advantage if you actively following an aggressor’s (nage) lead, moving under your own power and direction. At some point, nage may do something to take your balance beyond recovery. Once you notice that your balance is going, you actively disengage your interaction with nage and lower yourself to the ground! Notice who’s doing what in this description. Uke should always feel in control, even when being thrown.
The meaning I learned describes a practice that brings awareness and facilitates control in relationship to physical things in your environment. Most people who know me would say that my relationship with stairs would belie any knowledge of ukemi- but that’s where the practice bit comes in- you need to be mindful in order to get the benefits.
I’m thinking a way to describe it is perhaps ‘the art of response’. One of key benefits is that it prevents fear in the moment- most people are terrified of being hurt in a physical confrontation and that overwhelms them. Quite a bit of the practice for a female is evasion- not only how to get out of a physical situation but how to get some degree of control over it: how to manage it, to prevent it happening or defuse escalation. It’s an invisible art.
I like the tension between visible art (flashy, shouty, look at me stuff that happens in the moment)- and invisible art (tone, consistency, awareness/thoughtfulness that happens over time). I like that the everyday practice of ukemi changes experience and enjoyment of a moment- it also should positively impact the moment of all those around the practitioner.
I think we all focus quite a bit on form and attack- on the aggressive ‘nage’ expressions of advertising. And of course we need to have these skills, but when we combine these with the invisible arts of ‘uke’ we can create something a bit different. What can be achieved when these two skills are applied in concert is a duet where people can feel the harmony and wander off thinking that they are singing their own tune.
In the West Wing episode “Constituency of One” the VP says to Will:
“I admire speech writers. They have to have the tendency to doubt and the capacity to believe in equal measure….”
and I can’t help but think that these are one of the base pairs in the DNA strands of planners.
I often have people ask if I need to 100% believe in the product I’m working on- or if cynicism feeds good work.
Yes and no.
You need to doubt that the problem put in front of you is the one that need solving, you need to doubt that you have enough insight into a group of people of which you are not part and whose behaviour and reactions you’ll need to understand. You need to doubt the ‘known knowns’.
You also need to believe- that what you’re doing can help keep businesses sustainable, can create great culture and good working environments inside of organizations and that the siren call of the manifestations of our entrepreneurial spirits will write the kind of future we’ll want our kids to live in. You need to believe in answers.
As for the balance between the two? All things in moderation- including moderation. Passion will out. Know what feeds yours.
I was out with some friends the other night and we were having a chat about licensing – and I was being pretty vigorous about supporting copyright holders in their efforts to make sure they got paid.
My thought is basically this:
When it’s your IP that someone else is making money off, you’ll understand
artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.
artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.
artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.
please welcome them. please help them. please do not make them feel badly about asking you directly for money.
dead serious: this is the way shit is going to work from now on and it will work best if we all embrace it and don’t fight it.
Filed under: passion
I love a rant- especially one that starts a global movement.
Check out the global phenomenon of cheesed of bike (ex)owners :
Join us in our campaign against these criminal fools and send us your stories in any form – video, pictures, or just your own words – at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll post your story. And if you get really inspired, create your very own poster against these two-wheelin’ villains and send it our way.
A trip down memory lane. Recycled posts from the last three years:
- Would you like a small dash of Get Stuffed with your Shut the Hell Up?
Institutionalised Rudeness by Sociopaths (IRS from now on) is far from OK. In fact IRS is so far from OK it is huddling in a yurt in Outer Siberia. With no booze. And no friends.And it’s not invited to any tzushy end of year drinks parties either. It’s banned. Passe.
In addition the “Punch In The Face” motivation technique is also banned. Previously thought to inspire the creative class to consistently meet the 20 hours overtime barrier, it has been recognised as an illegal tool of IRS and is now a Taser-able offence.
If you have been subject to IRS, or any suspect ‘motivation’ techniques, you can apply for your branded taser (which can also do double duty as an attractive cocktail shaker).
Bring it on.
- The Power of Noticing
- Sometimes doing research for my job I come across a piece of truth and beauty. One example is this article “Kindness Counts”.
- Mostly I think that we just need to be kind to each other.
And notice each other.
And value the power we have inside of ourselves to make a difference- especially those who are blessed with the gift of being able to notice what’s going on in the world around us.
- ROI= Risk of Ignoring
- So what are you missing out on? What’s the ROI?
- As with anything that’s going on in social media, it’s all about the Risk of Ignoring:
- As a reader of blogs: Can you afford not to be informed about the latest thinking in your discipline? Can you afford not to learn from some of the brightest minds and most passionate advocates in the industry?
- And as a writer: Can you afford not to keep a notebook of your online reading? Can you afford not to contextualise and have an opinion on what’s going on in advertising?
- And ultimately, as an ad-exec: Can you afford not to have experiences that would help you understand people’s behaviour in the social media space
- Value and tulip bulbs
- In the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay wrote about tulip mania.
- We can get terribly focused on the bulb- on the device that will deliver the results that we are after. As strategic guardians of brands we need to remember the heart of what it is that we are trying to deliver- to plant a seed so that a flower will grow
- In the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay wrote about tulip mania.
- What’s your Return On Ego?
- The context here was making sure that you compartmentalize business decisions in the online space between those that are founded on KPI’s and those that make the Brand team feel good.
What are you going to re-share?
Sputnik Observatory is a New York not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to the study of contemporary culture. They fulfill this mission by documenting, archiving, and disseminating ideas that are shaping modern thought by interviewing leading thinkers in the arts, sciences and technology from around the world.
- ideas are not selfish.
- ideas are not viruses.
- ideas survive because they fit in with the rest of life
The site contains jaw dropping videos of the most amazing thinkers, or ‘extraordinary minds shaping modern thought’ like the transcript below from Wade Davis who is the National Geographic Society’s Explorer-in-Residence,and honorary member of the hundred-year old Explorers Club. He’s an ethnographer, writer, photographer and filmmaker, observing worldwide indigenous cultures and the traditional uses and beliefs associated with psychoactive plants, celebrated in his best-selling book “The Serpent and the Rainbow” about the zombies of Haiti.
In the Amazon, I’ve been with hunters who could smell animal urine at forty paces and tell you what species left it behind. You look at the Polynesian seafarers who could, just by reading the ocean like a series of rivers which is how they saw the currents, by looking at the rhythm of the waves, they could sense the presence of a distant atoll far beyond the horizon. You talk about how, even the taxonomy of the Amazonian shaman, when they begin to characterize and systematize creation, particularly with some of their sacred plants. For example, one of the most important Amazonian plants is something called Ayahuasca, which is a Liana and, to the botanical eye, there’s one main species that’s used. But that species is actually, by at least one tribe that I know, the Sienna Sequoia(?), they recognize 17 different types of it. Now, to our scientific taxonomic eye, they’re all referable based on morphological traits to the same species. Indistinguishable. They consistently distinguish them and from great distances in the forest. And you ask them what is the foundation of their taxonomy? And they’ll say to you, “Well, you take each one on the night of the full moon and it sings to you in a different key.” Well, obviously, that’s not an idea that is going to get you through Harvard with a PhD, but it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than counting stamens. But, more importantly, you start thinking of what does that intuition really says to you? How do they find these plants in the forest, for example? And they say to you, “Well, the plants talk to us.” And we, of course, with our Descartian rational mind say, “Well, that’s nonsense.” And it’s only nonsense because it doesn’t fit into our paradigm. But when you begin to consider the possibility that different societies belief systems can make almost for different individuals, but also make for different levels of perception.
I’m chewing on this short film was directed by Azazel Jacobs at Taxi for MOMA’s Multimedia channel and by a post over at Eyecube called Public Relations: Not just Trust & Measurement, but Art as well
The film shows that art might not be immediately accessable, that you might need a guide, but once you’ve been shown the path your world view might change. Forever.
Rick Liebling‘s piece expands on this beautifully:
It would be fair to define..(our goals)… as building an emotional connection between consumers and a brand. Certainly not the only definition, maybe not even the most accurate, but not off base either.
Art, in all its forms and by the broadest of definitions, stirs the passions and elicits emotions like nothing else – with the possible exception of love, and that’s the subject of much of the best art.