Joe McParland, wrote a wonderful piece in the thread, How To Become A Master.
In his views he mentioned that Takemusu happens. Thinking about his view stirred up some thoughts that has been rolling around in my head now for a day or so, and I got to write down.
You know when you struggle with a technique to get it right for sometime, and then one day at the dojo, it magically all falls together and you get a special feeling because of it. Everything works, everything fits into place, and the technique is flawless. It's takemusu!
I find Aikido to be very difficult, one because I can't do it very well, I don't have, well am untalented. My coordination, reflexes, and muscle memory are just not there. I have a hard time translating verbal instruction to physical results. But, I hang with it. Yea, everyone is swinging the jo to the right, am swing it to the left out of step with everyone else. Most Aikidokas who go one mile in Aikido, I got to go 100 miles. I am not grade "A" Aikido material. I can live with that-on most days. Aikido is 100 times harder for me then most, and Aikido isn't a easy thing to do. I am preaching to the choir on that one! If I am not and you think Aikido is easy it is because A) your very talented, or B) your not doing Aikido. Aikido kicks my butt.
There are days when I struggle in the dojo, well 99.9% of most days. That causes me allot of stress, frustration, and unhappiness. I work hard hoping things will work, meaning the technique works as it should. But hope doesn't improve my Aikido, I get frustrated all the way around with Aikido. Technique after technique not working, stresses me, I get frustrated at struggling and plodding through them all the time. It isn't often when I don't leave the dojo with my head hung low. But every once in a while during training, I will hit it right on, it's takemusu time! I am harmonizing with all, and my techniques are working, it all falling into place . Kind of. When it happens, I get an euphoric feeling surge through my body. and I see what everyone is taking about. II get the traditional spiritual language that describes such a feeling and moment. It is pure euphoria.
For years, I thought it was the spiritual experience of takemusu that kept me going to Aikido, off and on. An important part of my life and my Aikido training was to keep experiencing takemusu and enjoy those spiritual moments transcending them off the mat as well. The echoes of those experiences would last for days, or until I went to class and faced the familiar frustrations and struggles, when I turned back into a frog. Once again back to the familiar stress, struggle and frustration of training in the dojo.
Some years ago, on a vacation from Aikido I realized and came to an understanding of my rare takemusu glimpse that I couldn't maintain in every class meeting. Because of the different activities I was doing, I was experiencing Takemusu more frequent and often then in Aikido. Then I realize once more familiar with Takemusu, I was having takemusu all my life. Being in the context of Aikido, I didn't think Takemusu existed outside of Aikido, therefore, I would have only experienced takemusu as a result of doing Aikido, and not outside it doing or being somewhere else.
I understood that takemusu experiences and the other experiences where identical experiences just experienced in different contexts.
With my curiosity up, I did some research that lead me to a better understanding of the human body and how it works. I went outside of the Aikido box. I found and came to understand what I was experiencing was a endorphines and other hormone and chemical reactions released in the body. That what was described to me and how I perceived takemusu was the result of human chemistry at work.
Yes, I am Aikido Bi-Polar. See, having the result of my perception of my abilities and expectations created stress, and frustration that lead to me to hang my head so low after class for so long it was ingrained into me. So, on those rare occasions where everything worked right and I felt takemusu what was happening was I flooded myself with all those feel good hormones. Hence I called it takemusu, it was a spiritual experience. Now because I was down for so much of the time it, when I did experience everything go right in the dojo and that euphoria feeling came on- I associated as takemusu- it was compounded more intensely. I focused on it more intensely also.
When things are working for me in class, I feel it is because there is a greater release of certain hormones in greater amounts because I was upset most of the time. The stress of struggling, being so terrible at Aikido it was a crisis situation for me. I was facing too often all that frustration, stress, struggle, and negative feelings, built up over time every time I was in the dojo training. It was reinforced, associated and compounded each time I was in class. Now when all of that negative training experience and that of daily life all reached the right breaking point, and I couldn't take it any longer, WHAM, the hormones kicked in, and I was experiencing takemusu!
Why the drug companies are so rich. Our minds, emotions, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, love, hate, strengh and weakness, all of it is the result of chemicals. Yea, know, I can't stop thinking about that old urban myth of a woman lifting a car off her kid. Yet, I know humans when they get adrenaline dumps we can do some extraordinary things, and our senses change. Hormones effect our senses like that of time, if it has slowed down,or spend up, or the feeling of no pain, heightening the senses and euphoria, spiritual experiences, etc. Hormones play a big role in our human chemistry, and how we see ourselves and everything else. It is important we know that, in and out of the dojo. We are what we eat.
Takemusu happens, no doubt. I am not experience it fully as O'Sensei laid it out. But, understanding what really is happening no matter if it is called or language used I think only help to understand the things masked in language that struggles to share experiences in and outside the dojo. I can say this enlightenment on takemusu has really helped me enjoy Aikido more then ever before. What ever it is called, I know that it is the human chemistry that is responsible for it.
Pls. don't ask me if I think God or Aliens from another world exists, I is still struggling with those. Something I blame on my chemistry. But if you have an opinion on ny babble it is worth hearing. :)
Enrique Antonio Reyes
06-30-2008, 06:44 AM
Very interesting post. I am curious about takemusu as well. It may be the manifestation of your KI. I believe that takemusu is more than being "in the zone" in as far as randori or waza is concerned...the real message may be more philosophical than physical.
Again, good post.