What Aikido and Setting Boundaries Have in Common

Ki_AikidoIn life, as in Aikido, there are many ways to solve a conflict…or potential conflict.  At our  most recent “Coaching Conversations & Chocolate” gathering we played with the idea of how Aikido and boundary setting are similar –  there is the “sidestep” for a softer response and then there is the “block” if you need a little more force.

While these answers are fun they are still very useful;  however, underneath the playfulness what is truly important is being able to be authentic and  compassionately confront by saying, “Hey,  it would really mean a lot to me if you wouldn’t say that to me anymore, thanks”.

Here are some of the answers that the women in our community shared:

How to set a firm boundary for a family friend or relative who…

…is nosy and constantly asks inappropriate questions.

The Side Step:

“Hmm, why do you ask” or

Thanks for asking, I’m choosing not to share that information (right now.)

Sort of like when you are at a store and they ask you for your email…

“I don’t give it out”


The Block:

Full honest disclosure:  give them all the information to the point where they have nothing they can say…

“I heard you sold your house, how much did you get for it? “

“1.5 million, less than we wanted but I’m glad the deal is done”


…is a constant complainer 

The Side Step:

Empathize, sometimes they just want to be acknowledged.

“That must be hard” “Wow, it must feel like it’s never going to end.”


The Block:

Instead of standing there and listening you might say, ”So are you open to hearing strategy to actually do something about that?  If not that’s ok, but I prefer to try to find solutions.

Often people like this will not want to take responsibility and would prefer to look for an audience that will listen to them without asking them to change.  They prefer to blame others.


… think they know what is best for you and tell you how you need to live your life (arrogant / narcissistic).

The Side Step:

“Thanks for sharing those options with me.”


The Block:

Excuse yourself – if you engage it will likely get worse. Sometimes the safest strategy is realize it is not solvable and leave.


…likes to gossip

The Side Step:

Change the subject

“I don’t know about Ploney, but it sure is nice to have the family together…”


The Block:

“I’ve made a personal commitment to not talk about others”

or “I always like to ask is it true, necessary or kind?”


…makes you wrong or is critical

The Side Step:

Stay neutral.

Tell me more about what you mean…


The Block:

That’s one way to look at it, here’s how I see it…


What are some ways you might respond?

Join the conversation and the community, we’d love to hear your thoughts!



Community Chocolate…connection is sweet.


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