View Full Version : Aikido and the Brick Walls

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12-15-2002, 01:02 AM
Well I know we all have run into the Brick walls while teaching or training, Brick walls being the people that overun a class or discussion with their own views as superior (beginner or otherwise).
In my short life time I have had the priviledge to meet a few great teachers, who most often humbly thought of themselves as less than perfect. My question is in the way Aikido can be used to guide the Zealous to the refined quiet wisdom of our masters in Aikido, while not actually being those refined patient masters.
Please use as many first hand accounts with your great teachers as possible.
in:ai: :ki:

mike lee
12-15-2002, 06:56 AM
The only real brick wall is our own mind.

Bruce Baker
12-15-2002, 09:33 AM
Over, under, around, or though as the brick wall is destroyed or crumbles under the march of time, sooner or later it goes away.

My apologies to those who take my posts as argumentative, overbearing, or taken as superior teachings to what you already pursue in your quest of aikido training, but damn it, I want you to all be better than I am so we can get further along than being the docile 'Yes Sir, No sir' students of most dojo's.

You would never guess who I am in a normal dojo setting, as most of my comments are before or after class, and the teacher is allowed to teach with only minor questions or answers within normal conducting of classes.

Don't get all bent of shape because you have been there and done that but your perception was different from mine ... that is the basis for spirited discussion and advancement of knowledge.

You want refined, go to Tibet, or China, or any monastery, but that ain't me. Ask David Carradine why he speaks in a slow distintive manner unlike his own normal voice, and he will tell you that is what people believe to be the voice of wisdom and truth, their perception of how wise words should be spoken.

Misconception of society? Probably.

In the arena of superiority, every teacher, or practitioner who has logged ten years, twenty years, thirty years, or more has fallen under the misconception that what they are teaching is the one and only right way, and those that haven't ... I haven't seen any responses to date from those people.

Brick walls come in many shapes, and forms. Sometimes the very foundation of learn what I teach you, forget what you know, empty your cup is the absolute wrong attitude.

It should be, you have increased the size of your cup, and what you know just wets the bottom of this new cup, continue to fill your cup with knowledge and practice.

The same ... yet different.

The more you grow, the smaller that brick wall becomes, until it is merely the border in your garden, or the curb to get to the sidewalk.

Reconsider the means of not emptying your cup, but growing and having an everlarger cup that holds more and more.

It is a simple analogy, or should we all still be drinking out of our sippy cup we had when we were small children?

Brick wall ..... Mike Lee in right in tune with how to get past it, now all you need to do is impliment a practical plan to do it.

Tim Griffiths
12-15-2002, 10:47 AM
My question is in the way Aikido can be used to guide the Zealous to the refined quiet wisdom of our masters in Aikido, while not actually being those refined patient masters.

Or , just get on with your own practice.


12-15-2002, 10:56 AM
I was actually fishing for interesting stories like the time (this is second hand knowledge), an individual showed up at a beginner class in Dallas. The individual had been drinking and watched with agitation at the techniques performed. it is my understanding that Sensei instead of bringing the fellow to the mat and make a fool of him, went towards him as he began to verbalize and stand up. Sensei simply extended Ki and set him back in his chair gently and firmly with such guidence that the fellow became docile and waited till class was over before leaving. I never learned if he joined.

But it makes me think about how those who were there that night learned a lot of patience.

12-15-2002, 11:08 AM
I usually politely listen, play one down, act/am confused, and ask for a demonstration. Brick wall don't move very well. I thank them for the demonstration and get back to my own training. The hardest thing about a brick wall is realizing when I am one.

Until again,


12-15-2002, 06:22 PM
The Brick Wall - The reflection which is oneself.

Breaking it down, haven't found that enlightenment yet. But I made a little entrance that could make me go to the other side of the wall, and then come back again.

But the problem is, I usually locked myself out.

12-15-2002, 11:20 PM
My question is, how does one overcome the internal brick walls that are put up as defense mechanisms to protect oneself from getting emotionally or physically hurt?

Kevin Wilbanks
12-15-2002, 11:59 PM

I think I've had a good deal of success with that one. At some point in my life, I realized the truth of the cliche that regrets are the worst and most lingering kind of pain, and I stopped moving away from the risks and fear and instead started going toward them. If you read my posts here, you'll notice that I love to shoot my mouth off, bite off more than I can chew, risk uttering the offensive or the foolish. Why not? It's fun and makes for more learning opportunities.

Overcoming defense mechanisms is actually easy, you just let go. Get hurt. It's like going down a slide. It's never as bad as you think... unless we're talking about something truly crippling or lethal. Instead, I assume we're talking here about fear that arises from wanting to do or be something more (i.e., potentially productive risk taking).

Whenever you feel the fear, figure out what it is you're afraid of trying and make yourself do it, even if you can rationalize good reasons not to, even if the action seems absurd by the time you actually work up the nerve to do it. Do it and move on.

I think it's the rationalizing part that can be really dangerous. I know one person who kept rationalizing and contracting into a meeker and smaller person until he became convinced that he wanted almost nothing... now he's almost 40, lives in his mother's basement, and seems incapable of taking any risks or changing in any significant way. Tragic.

So long as you still feel the fear and argue with yourself about it, at least there's hope - at least you know you're alive.

12-16-2002, 12:29 AM
repetitive training! :)

12-16-2002, 12:40 AM
i have had two teachers. One calm/smiling and patient. One intense and full-on - the stereotype.

both are extremely skilled just different in their approach. One pushes us to go through our "wall". The other tries to help us find our way around it.

i don't know if their calm comes with philosophy, practice or with time. I'm always surprised that teachers ARE so calm. I assumed the constant exposure to our 'walls' would make a person snap. Or is it once you overcome your own wall, all walls then become insignifigant?

I think they lead by example. I hope to one day figure out what they already have

12-16-2002, 08:57 AM
I think I'm agreeing with Kevin when I say that I get furthest when I deal with problematic students by trying to find ways that I can learn from them, or, even better, things they have to teach me.

Also, think of this restatement of the question regarding brick walls: instead of asking what the most effective way to deal with them might be, ask yourself what the most interesting way to deal with them (for you in that moment) will be. What can you do that would be most surprising and unexpected for you.

Sorry I don't have any stories. I've seen a range of behaviors, but none of them quite fit into the vignette type of thing you are asking for.

12-16-2002, 09:01 AM
My question is, how does one overcome the internal brick walls that are put up as defense mechanisms to protect oneself from getting emotionally or physically hurt?
IMHO, realize that the wall keeps the past present, seals your in with the pain and fear, always perpetuates itself, makes itself the central frame of reference in all you do, is gauranteed to make you fail, and totaly prevents any healing expereince to enter.

The wall is the fantasy that the past will happen again, and because of the fear, makes sure that it does. Face you fears gently and with compassion.

Until again,


12-16-2002, 11:40 AM
there were two occations for me.

1) a young fellow who seams very "cocky" and says he did martial arts views from out side the area we practice in the Gymnastics gym. "Hey man I'm good I'll come in there and spar with you, I'll show you some good moves",

I respond "OK but I don't think with all these children around, let me show you one of our techniques first", I perform an sankyo withthe Uke at which the guys says"damn that looks like it hurts! never mind!" and leaves.

2) another guy shows up claiming vast superiority with only a 12 year old student there that night, he says he thinks aikido can kick peoples butt with what he already knows, I say "great we were going to practice sitting in seiza tonight" after twenty minuites he was board and left...