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03-12-2006, 01:06 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of March 12, 2006:

How important is "courage" in your own personal aikido practice?

I don't do aikido
Critically important
Very important
Somewhat important
Not very important
Not very important


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=315).

Mark Uttech
03-12-2006, 02:59 AM
'courage' is the right word to describe how one "keeps going" year after year.

SeiserL
03-12-2006, 10:49 AM
IMHO, courage is feeling fearful but doing the right thing anyway. If we are not facing our fears, showing courage, we are staying within our already existing limits of comfort and not progressing.

I think that means very or critically important.

MartialIntent
03-12-2006, 11:09 AM
IMHO, courage is feeling fearful but doing the right thing anyway. If we are not facing our fears, showing courage, we are staying within our already existing limits of comfort and not progressing.

I think that means very or critically important.
Without doubt. I believe a lack of courage would leave us impotent to take any just decision in the midst of a difficult situation. It's only those with courage who can tread those difficult paths.

Respects!

mathewjgano
03-12-2006, 02:39 PM
In my own personal practice, courage allows me to remain humble enough to begin seeing beyond my own preconceptions...which, over time, have proven more numerous than originally imagined...and that has at times seemed rather daunting. Therefore, I listed it as critically important to me.

Karen Wolek
03-12-2006, 04:36 PM
Critically important.

I would not be 2nd kyu now without courage.
I would not be rolling or breakfalling without it.
I would not be taking the advanced/freestyle class without it.
I would not be kenshusei without it.

I would not show up at the dojo everyday if I didn't have courage.

billybob
03-13-2006, 09:21 AM
I praise the courage of those who train with me. I had a terribly violent childhood - I can enter a modality where I feel I am fighting for my life. Aikido allows me to examine this and be gentle, to heal.

A special kohai that I taught to roll out years ago, who is now very senior to me in rank, spoke for me to the people that count at my dojo. I was angry and spitting fire and causing a fight - this courageous person helped me find my heart and show respect to people I perceived were hurting me.

Because of this person's courage I still train, and I am healing that violence - turning rage to laughter, and fighting for my life - to gentle, strong tanin judori.

I have found my own courage again, because someone saw my need and helped me have the chance. I hope this is what OSensei intended.

David

aikidoc
03-13-2006, 05:10 PM
I'm glad you found your courage again David. Hopefully, you will continue to have the courage to leave the past behind and not perpetuate violence into the future. That can be a significant challenge for those with violent childhoods.

billybob
03-14-2006, 08:00 AM
John,

Thanks. Violence is easy. What we are trying to do is a better path. Thanks for the support.

David

senshincenter
03-14-2006, 01:11 PM
Here's a question that came to my mind:

If courage is a part of training, what about fear then? Is fear a part of training? Should we make it a part of training? Does it need to be a part of Training? Should we try not to have fear be a part of training in order that we cultivate a virtue like courage? If so, where or how does all the discourse of "stay bright/stay positive," etc., fit into such things? Or, can we cultivate courage by doing our best to leave fear out of our training as much as possible?

Ron Tisdale
03-14-2006, 01:21 PM
I'm not too good with the philosophy stuff...but my first instinct is to say that there is no courage without fear. Courage (to me) is being able to look fear in the eye and move forward inspite of it. Courage is not the blind rage of my youth, it's not the cool calculation of superior strength or numbers...it's something else. I haven't felt it that often really...but it is a really neat thing when it happens.

Best,
Ron

sullivanw
03-14-2006, 11:58 PM
I agree. However, I'm not sure that fear should be a part of training; rather that it is a part of training. At least in varying degrees for different people. I've definitely felt fear, especially after injury, and courage (and trust in all of my senpai... is that plural?) has kept me going. So, I voted extremely important.

-Will

Mark Freeman
03-15-2006, 05:07 AM
Here's a question that came to my mind:

If courage is a part of training, what about fear then? Is fear a part of training? Should we make it a part of training? Does it need to be a part of Training? Should we try not to have fear be a part of training in order that we cultivate a virtue like courage? If so, where or how does all the discourse of "stay bright/stay positive," etc., fit into such things? Or, can we cultivate courage by doing our best to leave fear out of our training as much as possible?

Good questions David, and quite a few of them :)

I can't remember feeling fear in any of my practice so far, and yet I feel more couragous now than when I first started. Not just in the physical realm, I feel more able now to deal with issues outside of the dojo in a more couragous way.
So I think that it is possible to gain courage without the use of fear as a training tool. This does not mean that there is no place for its use though. I'm sure there are positive applications for it, it's just that I have not experienced it 'yet'.

cheers,
Mark

Mark Freeman
03-15-2006, 05:16 AM
I'm not too good with the philosophy stuff...but my first instinct is to say that there is no courage without fear. Courage (to me) is being able to look fear in the eye and move forward inspite of it. Courage is not the blind rage of my youth, it's not the cool calculation of superior strength or numbers...it's something else. I haven't felt it that often really...but it is a really neat thing when it happens.

Best,
Ron

Good post Ron,
for me, real courage is doing and saying the right thing when needed, often when the prevailing environment is screaming for you not to. Aikido practice should over time teach us to be strong both mentally as well as physically. If we can overcome our own fears through diligent practice, we are less likely to 'look the other way' if we come across the inevitable cruelties that human beings inflict upon one another. We have a responsibility to stand up for the underdog and exercise the loving protection of all things that O Sensei talked about.
Not an easy task, but worth it I'd say. :)

Cheers,
Mark

Carlos Rivera
03-15-2006, 05:57 AM
'courage' is the right word to describe how one "keeps going" year after year.

One of the best ways to describe courage!! I agree with Uttech Sensei on this one. Courage is what I see, when we practice Aikido despite whatever "limitations" we may have. I have seen people with disabilities show up for practice everyday, older people pick up and go despite whatever age related issues they may have, people going through divorce or separation, people going to or coming back from Iraq, women going through or leaving abusive relationships, law enforcement people fighting their own demons, the list goes on and on.

All of these individuals humble me everyday by showing courage in their practice. They do not make excuses, they find peace and joy in their practice, and they do not complain about life or whatever lot they have been dealt. They find courage in changing their situation, and they are some of the best practice partners you can find.

Mark Freeman
03-15-2006, 03:59 PM
Good post Carlos, thanks.

giriasis
03-15-2006, 09:05 PM
I really don't think of myself has having courage. Not that I don't have fears and not that I have overcome some of them. It's just I don't think of my training in that way. To me, courage is my uncle dying to save the life of his buddy during the war in Vietnam.

(Editing to add: And to me courage is a liver transplant recipient starting aikido two months after his surgery and still sticking with his aikido training after 7 years.)

Karen Wolek
03-16-2006, 05:08 AM
cour·age Audio pronunciation of "courage" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kūrj, kr-)
n.

The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.

I think you DO, Anne Marie, have courage. :)

NixNa
03-16-2006, 11:03 AM
There is a chinese saying, first comes courage, then comes power. Without courage it will be pretty hard for us to accomplish anything.

giriasis
03-16-2006, 08:49 PM
cour·age Audio pronunciation of "courage" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kūrj, kr-)
n.

The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.

I think you DO, Anne Marie, have courage. :)

Thanks, Karen. Okay, I have little courage, but I don't feel right referring to myself that way. Seems wierd, ya know? Learning to breakfall did take courage, and now I'm progressing to learn to breakfall better. :)

eyrie
03-16-2006, 08:58 PM
The question, and some of the responses reminded me of the Wizard of Oz, particularly the end bit. ;)

Karen Wolek
03-16-2006, 09:01 PM
Now.............

if I only had a brain.......................

Lucy Smith
04-19-2006, 06:12 PM
I think that when we first start practicing Aikido, we face some fears. Since my first class was 2 months ago, I remember them perfectly: ukemi was (and sort of still is in some cases) the biggest of all. I was so afraid of hurting myself, I did it wrong. Because that's what courage is to me in Aikido; the way to do things right. I only succeeded in ukemi after some serious and long sessions of thinking. Yes, thinking. I was really afraid of falling, since I've got a back problem, but I finally did it, and it took some courage, I can tell you. Other fear (and that one I still have), concerns the more advanced students. I'm just so scared that they are going to hurt themselves when they fall without using their hands while being uke. And I know that will be something that will require some courage when I have to do it.
I am also afraid of other things, like hurting my wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees... and hurting others. There's an easy explanation for this: we are just not used to this sort of things. At least the ones who aren't japanesse nor close to that culture. So at least a little of bit of courage is needed to let go, trust your instructor and sempai, and try and overcome yourself.