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I have a lot of different thoughts rattling around my head about my training, and most of them are half-formed. I think my posts here have tended to reflect this. Driving home last night from keiko I kept coming back to a handful of thoughts. The most prominent of these wasn't so much a cogent idea as much as a new way of looking at the proportion of thought-to-action I have been manifesting. I have been very "mind-heavy" in my "gyo" and it has led to a very "body-heavy" way of moving. "Intellectually," I've recognized how stiff I am; how tight my shoulders are; how my chronic body aches and injuries are a sign of improper integration of...something. I understood it on a more visceral level last night.
Part of the reason I've been so mentally caught up in this idea of Aikido is that it represents a means which appears profoundly useful to affecting great effects in how one can live one's life. It provides physical stimulation for a healthy body, mental stimulation for a healthy mind, and when approached with a serious attitude, it refines these things to a razor-like edge. It is a way of organizing different functions of the mind and body (i.e. mind-body) and developing them into higher orders of function. The pressures we put ourselves through are a kind of gravity drawing things together, cooking them into new transformations, drawing them together, transforming them again and again until we have something diamond-like...or ore-like dependiing on how much intensity we apply to the process. Plus, and you'd never guess, but I really enjoy the abstract way ideas are often expressed in Aikido. It's a veritable playground for the mind and body.
So, coming back around to the earlier point, there has been a huge disparity between my thoughts on gyo and my actions. There is an idea in Shinto which speaks of creating space for things so they can grow. The movements and vocalizations of ritual aren't the point; the space they create for integrating attention and action that echos outward into our daily lives is the point. This is why my last blog entry mentioned a "virtual vow of silence." Pardon the crass manner, but I can see how what my friends and I call "butt-necking" has filled up large amounts of what could be more useful space. The outflow has blocked the inflow a bit and the "wa" of the "aiki" has been undone in certain regards. I've long maintained my purpose here isn't keiko; it's to practice communication and to learn "about" Aikido, but it still seems to give a false sense of "doing." As the word "about" implies, the things I've been learning, which do pertain to the thing itself, are not the thing itself. I've been learning something about the thing itself from the outside going inward for about a decade. It's about time to more seriously resume from the inside going outward.
Keiko last night was a constant reminder to quit receiving and attacking from the shoulders. Techniques which I can remember having an ability to more or less make work, didn't work. I had one moment where a sequence of movements more or less (more less than not) "worked," but the rest were pretty bad. The kata for kenjutsu is very new to me. It all felt new. It was great. It was an interesting mix because there were people there who had been training for years when I first began...in 1998. It was a true pleasure to train with them again; in a way that felt more authentic than anything I have put into this thing in this past decade of "once in a while" training. I don't know what the future will bring, but I'm not worried about it. I'm enjoying "now" too much. My motivation is clearer than it has been in a long time.