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Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > AikiWeb AikiBlogs > Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai

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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 10:53 PM
jducusin
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One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 272 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 270,130

In General A Change in Attitude Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #251 New 09-22-2009 02:21 PM
By early September, we had only been going at test-specific training for about a week when I thought I'd finally had it. I was already sick of it and ready to throw in the towel - Shodan test be damned. So tired of dogging the test stuff, I just wanted to either get back to regular practice or quit entirely.

Whether it was: that recovery from months of overtraining was so slow going; that my allergies seemed to be reaching an almost unbearable peak, triggering not only my asthma but cold-like symptoms; that frustrations about my own technique seemed only to pile up higher and higher until I was telling myself I was nowhere near where I needed to be by Shodan, with the deadline looming above me ever closer…whatever the heck it was, I thought for certain that I was through.

But frustration can only go so far in and of itself. It is, by its nature, a catalyst. That is - whether you like it or not - something's gotta give.

I debated (and still am torn on) whether or not to name this post "The Seven-Year Itch". That I've been practicing Aikido consistently for almost seven years now is more coincidence than anything else. Through the years, I'd given up a great many things in order to train regularly: voluntary and educational opportunities, familial and social events, even the possibility for deeper friendships, when you think about it. Yet I never did so with any form of regret. I'd always known there would have to be some sacrifice in order to attain the level of excellence I desired.

The problem was in examining why I desired it. Why was I so hung up on perfection that I was kicking myself internally (and not-so internally) every time I thought I did something less than well? Where was all this pressure coming from? Did I crave mastery in this art so badly that my own attitude was becoming a vortex, a black hole of negativity that was drawing me in to the point where it was sucking all the joy out of my practice? To the latter: absolutely.

Thankfully, I didn't have to look very far at all find that joy again. Especially when in the end it isn't really what you're looking at, but how. What I'd forgotten was how much of a gift it is to be able to practice Aikido to begin with. You'd think that after a decade of working with people with disabilities, I'd have understood that by now.

Aikido is a thing of beauty when done well. If you're a perfectionist like me, it's easy to forget how to simply enjoy the movement, the flow, the creativity that lies behind it all. That you are able to move in those ways, or move at all, is something to be thankful for. That I can do a graceful high breakfall out of a strong throw then bounce back out of it, ready for more, is something to enjoy while it lasts. And that's what it all comes down to. I may not be skilled enough yet to be able to control how well I do a technique each and every time. But what I can control is my attitude to practice, and through that, I can make training the best it can possibly be for everyone else.

In other words: giving instead of taking. Which can mean being gracious, patient and accommodating with training partners who want to practice differently or at a different pace than you; giving the best ukemi you can possibly give even when you feel like you don't have much left in you; laughing at your mistakes and smiling on the mats.

For me, this also meant remembering to enjoy the creative process of experimenting, figuring out the more minute details of technique on my own and taking the time to respond to the needs of my training partner more. Before I knew it, I was actually enjoying practice again. Then came the realization that I was making progress, even when I didn't feel like it: I was trying to understand the inner workings of technique independently and was working towards using my centre more in power movements. Coincidence?

All things considered, it would probably be more appropriate to call this post "My Aikido Adolescence" - moodiness, self-consciousness, growth spurt, angst and all. Who knew I'd have to go through that again?
Views: 1009 | Comments: 1


RSS Feed 1 Responses to "A Change in Attitude"
#1 09-22-2009 02:40 PM
ninjaqutie Says:
Great entry! They often say that when you are feeling at your worst and can't do anything right is the time where you are making the most progress. My old sensei said to me once (when I was a yellow or green belt) "By the time my students get a black belt, they don't even care about it anymore. The ones still craving for that belt are the one's who aren't ready." She was right (at least with me).
 




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