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we had a guest sensei from Japan teaching a seminar on the past weekend, and i wasted the first 3 hours of my training wrestling with my ego. i noticed myself nitpicking the sensei's demonstrations--how the techniques had various vulnerabilities for counter-attacks, the flamboyance of the movements, and the unnecessary focus on minute details.
not only that, i was annoyed with some of the other participants; some higher-ranking aikidoka who were doing their own techniques, and lower-ranking students trying to teach others--including me, how to do techniques [wrongly]. one student in particular, pissed me right off by being stiff as a plank, and trying to be 'resistant' and not reacting to my atemis at all.. i eventually shamed myself by yanking him into submission whilst doing an irimi nage... gahh~!
whilst all this was happening, i could see with my mind's eye how i was just bloody wasting my precious day away. i could hear part of myself pleading to just get on with it, to 'empty my cup', and take the opportunity to train and learn, and train and learn. but did my ego back down? not without a fight. jezz~ with all those talk on the aikiweb forums about internal power, oh yea--i think i've got plenty. my ego was completely rooted to the ground, and able to knock me down without moving a hair's breadth.
somehow over the lunch break, i managed to calm my ego down a bit. for the rest of the seminar, i was doing relatively okay, and eventually last night when the guest teacher returned to take our regular class, my mind was completely clear. i was happy, and bubbly, and--free. somehow my cup was emptied when i did not realise it, and i was just training again with 'no mind'. it was joyous. i don't know how i got there, but i hope i can maintain this mind as much as possible.
this encounter was by no means my first, or my last. i deal with this everytime i train with new/different people on the mat--and also in my professional (and i suppose personal) life. my arrogance and pride follows me everywhere, holds me back, and keeps me small. i acknowledge its place and role, but it is disproportionately powerful. hopefully this public confession can be another positive step towards a harmonious resolution with my greatest opponent--me.