Kelly Allen was still new to Aikido when I profiled her last November. And she had begun growing her green business, “Lush Green Design.” During the past months, a number of important events have occurred in Kelly’s life.
One was her passing her fifth kyu test at West End Aikido. As a time to set an actual test date was quickly approaching, Kelly was asked to run through her test during a Saturday morning class. She began demonstrating one technique after another with precision and power. Kelly was asked to continue. After demonstrating all the techniques, she was told she had passed her fifth kyu test with flying colors!
And then Kelly, who has loved horses all her life, met Alyssa Aubrey of Medicine Horse Ranch fame. This rekindled something deep with Kelly. As a result, she agreed to become part of workshops where she will both assist with the Aikido practices and lead two nature walks. She is also about to begin as a student in Alyssa’s “Equine Guided Experimental Learning” program. And recently Kelly was added to the the staff of Medicine Horse Ranch, a position where she will be able to bring her considerable skills and background training into the programs and workshops.
I asked Kelly three questions. The answers were so beautiful I am reprinting them here, in full.
Q. How do you see your Aikido practice and your work at Medicine Horse Ranch informing each other?
A. “I see them as not being separate but being a blend of the best of both teachings. There are a lot of similarities; being grounded, working from my center, sensing into the others energy, and being more direct. Aikido has really changed my life, helped me to release old patterns. The little work I’ve done with horses has been a great mirror for areas I need to work on [and it is the] same with Aikido. Sometimes when working on an Aikido technique I can’t seem to do, I can take that in the form of a question to a horse and get their perspective. Horses are amazing teachers and I find them very healing. They are very complimentary practices. Ironically I have a few gardening clients who practice Aikido and work with horses.”
Q. What have you observed with your interaction with the horses that has helped you with your Aikido practice?
A. “Well, the fact that I can move a 1,000-pound horse with my energy makes moving my opponent in Aikido easy. To really become grounded, weighted, and present in my body before I approach a horse or the dojo. To work with (blend) rather than being reactive. To widen all of my senses and beware of my surroundings at all times. Really that it comes down to my energy. If something is not working, if the horse is not moving, it’s because I’ve gone into my head. It’s the same with Aikido, you have to stay in your heart.”
Q. What are your long-term goals regarding these two disciplines?
A. “My long term goal in Aikido is simple, to become as much of a master as I can before I go back into the earth. Since I live in the present it is to show up and be present in every class. [My} short term goal to work up to fourth kyu [and] long term [toward my] black belt. I definitely will utilize what I learn in Aikido into my practice with horses. I already do. It just makes sense. I hope to continue working in our Horses & Aikido workshops Medicine Horse Ranch.
“In terms of working with horses I hope to bring a sense of every day stillness, calmness and grounding to everything I do. I am enrolled in Alyssa’s program through Medicine Horse Ranch. I am greatly looking forward to working with Alyssa. In Aikido you need to formally ask your Sensei to be your teacher. It’s the same in a sense with the Equine Guided Experimenal Learning program, since it is such deep work you need to find someone you can feel safe with. When I met Alyssa I just new I wanted her to be my teacher. She was so open and present to me, very welcoming. I will then look to apply that knowledge and enroll in her programs. My goal as it stands at this moment is to do some sort of coaching with people who feel they need healing. I have a lot to give from my mediation and gardening background as well. I hope to incorporate all I’ve learned into one beautiful blend into something unique that benefits all beings.”
Thank you, Kelly. You are truly a martial artist making a difference!