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Being of a natural tendancy towards thinking "I can't do it" it was hard to read the article about how self-doubt should be the basis of all martial training and of Aikido in particular.
But I spend all lesson having to remind my self not to mutter out loud "I can't do this", "this isn't working", "I'm doing this wrong" I thought, how can an extra helping of self-doubt help the proceedings?
Reading DV's more detailed explainations in the discussions of the essay and musing over my signature (the bit that says "we see things not as they are but as we are"), a picture began to form in my head.
"No Mind" it's one of my favourite bits in The Last Samurai when Katsumoto's son tells Nathan Algren "too many mind ... no mind". Having been told this, the Algren character switches to instinct mode and his reactions improve immeasurably.
By listening to the strident voice shouting "of course you can't do it, this is wrong, you started too late, you've missed sessions you'll never be any good at this [add any number of negative statements here!]" I am listening to my ego. It's just not the ego as we would normally recognise it.
An egotist is normally a person who's seen as being all mouth (and no trousers ... matron). A person who doesn't listen, who ignores Sensei's way of doing things and generally acts as if they know everything already.
Truth is...why the hell would I be an Aikido Goddess on barely 4 hours a week for 6 ish years? Furthermore, by listening to my inner voices chipping away at my self confidence, I'm not listening to Sensei, my fellow students or my instincts. I'd say that was a clear case of taking my ego/self into consideration before anything else. We can go into all sorts of detail about being surrounded by people who bring you down but when you're in Aikido they're not there...
The only person picking away at your abilities when you say I can't do it is..well.. yourself.
Recently I was doing Suwariwaza Iriminage, all the while muttering "I'm doing this wrong". Sensei walked past, heard the mutterings and said "the only thing you're doing wrong is telling yourself you're doing it wrong". I very much doubt that it was a perfect technique worthy of O Sensei but at the same time he was right.
If the loudest and closest voice is a drill sargent in you head, telling you you're a grubby maggot with no ability, it's going to be pretty damn hard to concentrate on Aikido and to get the most out of it and life in general, both for yourself and for the benefit of others.
So...if there's going to be a voice in your inner ear, let it be a positive one. Mostly it's much more fun.