View Full Version : Leading with frustration

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08-30-2002, 10:24 PM
¿The learning process could be accelerated?

I understand that practicing is the only way to learn, but sometimes i guet grap by ansiety when my movements doesn't work.

To avoid suffering, i set up the porpouse of not doing things right, and being present in the dojo like in the meditation that has no other porpouse that being present ... and have fun by the act of training.

¿What do you think about this? ¿How have you deal with frustration?

Kevin Leavitt
08-30-2002, 10:29 PM
Try to keep things in perspective and realize that it's not mastery of the technique that is important, but the journey and the mastery of yourself.

You should rejoice at the opportunity to be frustrated, it means you are living and trying to grow and better yourself.

That didn't help, did it? :)

Keep driving on and practice hard everyday!

Deb Fisher
08-31-2002, 01:22 PM
I think you're saying that sometimes you get so frustrated when doing something incorrectly that it causes anxiety, making it difficult to focus. When that happens, you focus on just being in the dojo, and not on doing the technique correctly.

If I heard you correctly, then yes, I've definitely been there! I have a lot of critics running around in my mind, and they have a lot to say whenever I do something wrong (which is often - aikido is hard), and this causes a lot of anxiety for me.

I tend to see this as a mind/body problem - my mind doesn't know how to tell my body what right and wrong is, it has to learn it by itself. The goal is to make the mind stop blithering nonsense about being "wrong".

I try to laugh at myself if it's really acute. Laughing at myself all the time could make training some silly business, though, which is not what I want. So when I hear myself berating myself about "doing it wrong" I try to smile very broadly and tell it to shut up. Concentrating on smiling helps me to remember that it's supposed to be fun, it keeps me in the physical space, in my body instead of in my mind, which is telling me nonsense that impairs my body's judgement.

If that makes any sense... my $.02

And yes, I agree that being frustrated is a good sign, it means you're learning. In all things, not just aikido. Comfort = complacency.

08-31-2002, 10:57 PM
¿The learning process could be accelerated?

I understand that practicing is the only way to learn, but sometimes i guet grap by ansiety when my movements doesn't work.

To avoid suffering, i set up the porpouse of not doing things right, and being present in the dojo like in the meditation that has no other porpouse that being present ... and have fun by the act of training.

¿What do you think about this? ¿How have you deal with frustration?
Deal with your frustration by doing meditation and breathing exercises. It not only teaches you how to relax properly, but also points you in the direction of mind/body coordination, which will help greatly in your techniques.

When you get anxious, observe your breathing and relax by changing it to slow, deep breaths.

09-01-2002, 10:36 AM
Good points

Thank you all!

Deb, give me your $account ... :)

09-01-2002, 04:19 PM
When Sensei gives us a technique I can already do smoothly, I am validated in my training. When he gives a technique I cannot do, I get excited (not frustrated) because now I am learning something new.

Until again,


Deb Fisher
09-02-2002, 08:06 PM
Lynn, with all due respect, your excitement (*not* frustration) at the prospect of learning a new technique is an ideal for most mortals, a goal that aikido helps us attain, often IMHO by creating such intense frustration that one cannot help but figure out a new relationship to the unknown.

Such a premium is placed on mastery in our culture that it is often very difficult to learn anything without spending at least some time feeling stupid for not already knowing it. This is not right or useful, but it exists and is something people do have to overcome - I would be very surprised if you have honestly never felt pressured or frustrated while learning something new.

Difficulty in learning new tasks, frustration based on ideals of mastery, is endemic in our culture - even college education is increasingly specialized to the point of seriously devaluing a well-rounded liberal arts education. Not many people have the courage to learn new things in adulthood, because it damages the sense of mastery that comes from only doing what you know.

I'm not advocating this kind of "mastery", but please understand that there are thousands of people who come to the mat with a lot of cultural baggage about what they should and should not know, how quickly they should learn, etc. Your enlightened little quip is technically correct, as well as slightly haughty. You're dogmatically correcting the thread, rather than connecting with a frustration that is real, pervasive, a legitimate problem on the mat, and for that matter, kind of interesting culturally. This correction can only serve as something else to feel bad about - something else we haven't appropriately "mastered".

Why not just take the idea of frustration seriously as a real struggle to unlearn what everybody else in society is selling?

09-02-2002, 09:04 PM
Oh, how hard, frustrating but happy was those gone days studyng chemistry at school and the exams, no tell

Definitively Aikido should be easier than that!!

And it depends how far you want to go in your Aikido training, I see plenty of people in the dojo I attend that just take ukemi, do some kotegaeshi, make it look nice and decent and Thats it! Aikido without frustrations!!

Train and Enjoy!!


Bruce Baker
09-03-2002, 06:41 AM
In every phase of life, the skills are acquired piece by piece.

Many teachers compare building your life to building a house for the simple reason that from the foundation to the roof each phase of addiing unto that house depends on other pieces of the building to move on.

I liken the skills of Aikido to the knowledge of skills I have attained through years of experience fixing boats and motors.

I have many different tools, and indeed differnet systems to fix. Some days I am an electricial, some days a plumber, some days I am a hydraulic expert, other days I am a fiberglass technician.

All these differenct skill require the learning of both materials, systems, and operations of these systems to understand how to use them or repair them.

Everyone has skills in something. Liken the training of Aikido to whatever you do, and understand that each small movement in Aikido is an interconnecting piece to understanding how to learn a skill.

If you must break it down to smaller movements, counting them out by numbers until your mind absorbs the knowledge, then do so. But, and this is for you to decide, you must piece all these things together so that you will be comfortable in applying the skill.

Eventually, the practice becomes knowledge, and the knowledge becomes thought, and the thought becomes movement/ or deed.

To get slightly off the subject...

When martial arts became popular in the late sixtys, I used to wonder what all those movements were in those movies. When Bruce Lee challenged the MA community, I had no idea he was doing the exact same thing I sometimes get involved in with posts on the Aikiweb.

Now when I watch those movies, I am telling my kids this is kote gaieshi, or iriminage, or some other derivation of movements from numerous techniques.

Of course I get the"Dad, I am trying to watch this movie", but being able to pick out the reality of practice from the fantasy of choreography, with real practice arts and movements of my class studys being shown, it kind of makes the training worthwhile.

Keep at it, it will get easier.

09-03-2002, 10:04 PM
Thank you for your words. They touch me and allows me to start seeing new aspects and questions about my practices:

1.- Feelings that SeiserL shows, appear to me as the next generation of feelings in my DO.

2.- In Deb's words (frustration as a generalize emotion in the learning process)

i can see the weight of cartesian interpretation (subject - object) of knowledge in my (our) dayly life. Appears to me the relation "i got the idea = i can do it" like a Big Shomenushi.

3.- If all the above make sence, then Frustration is part of the training (like Pretoriano says) ... but not because it has to be this way, is because our way to learn contained frustation.

4.- I like Bruce's history about boats, tools, plumbers etc because remains me a lot of what i am experimenting when i can connect with others and feel their particulary styles of movements.

5.- A lot of new questions ...

Thanks again.


09-03-2002, 11:00 PM
No doubt. It can be frustrating for me too sometimes. I just try to remember what O'Sensei said, that it takes 10 years just to learn the basics. From what I hear, aikido is the most sophisticated and difficult martial art there is. So remember, we're not just adding 2+2 in the dojo.


09-04-2002, 12:52 AM

See if you can find a copy of George Leanord's book "Mastery". It covers topics such as working through the frustration and learning to love the "learning plateau".


09-04-2002, 10:56 AM
I found in Amazon.com, looks good.