One Point

There is a lot of attention paid to the "one-point" in aikido. Located slightly below your navel, at your center, it is the point from which energy and balance extend. It is a point of focus in meditation. It is where your hands cut to when performing techniques. Keeping it in mind is one of the Four Basic Principles of our style.

I was recently reminded of the value and importance of keeping one point from a very different source. I am reading an old book by Roger Kahn on sports. Roger Kahn was a newspaperman in the 1950s and a sportswriter. He knew Willie Mays, one of the finest baseball players ever to play, and interviewed him on several occasions.

In one of the interviews, Roger asked Willie about how he caught the ball. It was different from many ballplayers at the time. Willie, whenever he could, caught the ball with his glove up , with his hands right in front of his belt buckle. Willie's reply was that no one had taught him to do that, he had figured it out on his own, and that the reason he did it was that it gave him the ability to get the ball out of the glove and throw the ball back to the infield faster.

I found this video. At two minutes in there is about thirty seconds of Willie Mays catching and throwing. Each time, he catches the ball as he described in the interview. An individual discovery of a basic principle.

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