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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
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 839,608

In Training Shikkoing uphill, but in good company Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #267 New 09-28-2011 11:38 PM
I can say without a doubt that this art is one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life. It offers conclusive evidence that at the root of it all, I am indeed a masochist.

Whoever said that things get easier is a dirty, rotten liar. Aikido is a mystery, hidden in a puzzle, wrapped in an enigma. The delusional theory floating around that black belt is somehow this pinnacle of achievement is utterly laughable.

I used to do this art solely for myself. The first few years are always like a honeymoon period of sorts. You have this warm, fuzzy feeling about practice. It's a kind of infatuation, really.

Well, Aikido and I are long past that stage in our relationship. We've been together long enough that we can be comfortable with our differences. We can just be ourselves, belches, farts and all. (Aikido hates how I get lazy about doing the dishes. Personally, I hate how it leaves the toilet seat up all the time. Damn awkward in the middle of the night. But we're still good.) In the midst of this, it's easy to get so comfortable, in fact, that you get complacent.

One of the most convincing lies ever told - time and time again - is that love is a feeling. That it waxes and wanes; gets stale over time. Kind of like the misguided idea that marriage is a contract. That if and when things get rough, or your partner doesn't fulfill their end of the "bargain" of expectations you have for the relationship, or you think you've found a better offer from someone else, then that's it. The deal's off.

Anything you love to do -- just like anyone you love -- is eventually bound to disappoint. Blame it on our expectations of it/them, or even on ourselves; whatever the case, that's just the way it is. So do you just roll over and give up the dream? Not if you really want it.

No, real love is a commitment, just as marriage is meant to be a covenant. It doesn't just magically happen and then you live happily ever after. It takes work, just like anything else worth having in life. You've got to put your back into it. And the more selflessly you do, the greater the reward.

So now I find that when the going gets tough, I have to change how I express my love for what I do. In a way, I now train more for the sake of others than anything else. Any eventual increase in skill -- hard as it is to subjectively measure -- ends up being the icing on the cake. Or so I tell myself. And wonderfully enough, increasing in skill incidentally helps both me and the people I train with.

But I'm a goal-oriented person: ambitious and opportunistic by nature. Not seeing a perceptible endgame or finish line - something tangible in front of me, can be pretty demoralizing. Instead, I keep pushing myself by trying to enjoy the journey, and by setting other goals. Like how I want our club to thrive. And how I want to share this amazing art with whoever wants to learn.

It's the little things. Like those few but precious "aha" moments where everything just flows effortlessly. Or being able to laugh with the people you practice with.

They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to attain mastery of a skill. So I slowly keep chipping away at my 10,000 hours, 1.5 hours at a time, five times a week. I figure that in the process of all these reps, excellence will take care of itself if I keep training with concerted effort and purpose.

And in the meantime - just like enduring a long, boring, 8 hour drive across the prairies to a seminar -- you might as well turn to your companions and have fun commiserating about it.
Views: 2374 | Comments: 2

RSS Feed 2 Responses to "Shikkoing uphill, but in good company"
#2 09-29-2011 05:36 AM
Brilliant. An enjoyable read. G.
#1 09-29-2011 03:52 AM
guest1234567 Says:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Why you don't just enjoy the whole way forgetting about a finish line. I think about Aikido as something that never will end, something I enjoy every time I practice, even now I'm looking forward to this afternoon class and in a near future, next seminar in Tenerife: a 3 days trip with my collegues of surely great fun, from the beginning on the ship until the end coming back to our island and so again every class... and next class.........

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