View Full Version : New Year, New Day, Everyday

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01-12-2008, 11:48 PM
The days, weeks, months, and years go by.
Bowing in, training, and bowing out.
Nothing is permanent.
Everything is in motion.
The New Year is upon us. In fact, it is already here. Where did this last year (2007) go? I have no idea. Seems like just the other day I was writing a similar column. Guess that was last year or the year before. The years do come and go, that's natural and inevitable. Some things move forward from the preceding years and hopefully some stay behind. There were a couple things I heard in 2007 that stay with me wherever I go."You can't think about what you have never thought about, so I am here to give you something new to think about."
I first heard this at the Shindai Dojo, in Orlando Florida, at the Aiki Web seminar. I can't remember if it was Hooker Sensei or Clark Sensei. They both gave me so much new to think about. (I can't forget to mention that I also got a lot, and always do, from Ellis Admir Sensei. Thanks to Jun for setting up the experience.) I was going through the technique well. Sensei came by and noticed that the nature or intent of my movement implied I was "pulling" through it. He suggested that I "cut" with my hand. I "cut" and the technique "popped". Sensei smiled and said, "You can't think of something you never thought about." We both laughed. I knew that O'Sensei said that Aikido came from the sword arts and this gave me a better sense of what that means. Some people think that we have all the answers inside of us. Yet, a lot of my suffering has come from the ignorance of not being open to outside new information. I would mull over the same old questions, using the same old information and process, coming up with the same old answers, and wonder why everyday was the same. Thank goodness some people have the wisdom and compassion to offer me some new information, something new to think about. I am sure I am not smart enough to figure it all out myself. I am fortunate that people are so giving, because I am constantly being given something new to think about. A mind works best when it's open."You can't learn what you think you already know."
I have often been told I need to work on my humility. Some people think that I am arrogant and cocky. Okay, so the cocky may be true, I do have a bit of an attitude. Perhaps it is more confidence. What I do know is that I do not know it all. Someone said that the more intelligent one is, the more they know what they don't know and are excited about not knowing because it gives them something to look forward to learning. I guess that make me pretty intelligent because I know what I know (that is the arrogant or confident part depending on how you perceive it), but I also know how very little I know. I always hope that next year I look back at the mistakes I have made, because that means I have learned some things. I tend to appreciate being the "dumbest one in the room" because I want to keep learning. I am greedy that way. Shoshin (beginner's mind) doesn't mean Mushin (empty mind). It just means being open to accept that even if I think I know something (anything), I can still learn something new. The best way to learn advanced techniques, applications, and principles is through the refinement of the basics (Kihon). The days, weeks, months, and years go by.
Bowing in, training, and bowing out.
Nothing is permanent.
Everything is in motion.
While everything changes, it also stays the same. Hope we spend some space and time together in the New Year and may you have a safe, healthy, and happy New Year everyday.

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!

Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) in Tenshinkai Aikido under Sensei Dang Thong Phong at the Westminster Aikikai Dojo in Souther California. He is the co-author, with Phone Sensei, of Aikido Basics (2003), Advanced Aikido, and Aikido Weapons Techniques (2006) for Tuttle Publishing. His martial arts articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders and victims of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains at Roswell Budokan.

Karen Wolek
01-13-2008, 11:22 AM
Thanks, Lynn. I think I needed to read this article. I'm getting ready for shodan and sometimes I think I know things that I really don't know yet. It's easy to get cocky as a 1st kyu senior student, because I do know more than most of the other students. My sensei once told me, "You have to stay open to grow, that means you let go of your attachment to being the one who knows, who's good at it, etc."

That sure isn't easy.

01-13-2008, 04:48 PM
Thanks for your kind comment.
I love being the dumbest one in the room. I seek out that experience. Look forward to what you have to learn, not back on what you think you already know.

Susan Dalton
01-13-2008, 06:45 PM
That was lovely, Lynn. Thank you. I think it was Hooker Sensei who said, "You can't think about something you never thought about." Hmmmm. But maybe it was Clark Sensei. Oh well, I'm not much help.

01-15-2008, 07:57 AM
I love being the dumbest one in the room.Can't happen if I am there... :D

02-08-2008, 02:25 PM
Hi Lynn,
I am brand new to Aikido ( 4 months) and loving every moment. In some ways I am impatient to learn everything, but in others I am happy that I know nothing, because I have so much to look forward to learning.
I love the quote:
"You can't think about what you have never thought about, so I am here to give you something new to think about."

It is exactly where I am right now.

I have been reading your past columns and enjoying the wisdom that comes from experience. I was going to say not just about Aikido but about life in general, but I am beginning to realize that it is all connected anyway, and that Aikido is already spilling over into the rest of my life.

I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

Roberta Eisler

02-09-2008, 04:51 AM
I look forward to reading more from you in the future.
Thanks for the kind words.
Yes, my life spills over into Aikido and Aikido spills over into my life. Where ever I go, there I am (whether I like it or not).
There is always so much more to learn. I think that "got it" is at least 3 to 4 lifetimes ahead of me.
But I enjoy the journey and the people I meet along the way. I'll keep sharing the thoughts, the laughs, and the mat.

02-11-2008, 07:40 AM
To Lyn Seiser,thank you!

02-11-2008, 04:36 PM
To Lyn Seiser,thank you!
You are welcomed.
And right back at ya.