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What is mental "set" ? How does belief affect our lives? Can it actually change people and society? Does positive thinking work? How much is it used in Aikido ? Can it cure illnesses ? Can a person alter his body's functioning through "set"? Can one also alter the world around one ?
If you have just bought a new coat,you may start noticing a lot more people wearing the same or similar coats.The number of such coats may not have increased significally,but your mind has become tuned to these particular coats and picks them out from the crowd.This is an example of what pschologists call set.The mind will tend to pick out whatever it is "set" for.
If we are expecting someone to call us on the telephone,we will immediately recognize their voice on the other end.If on the otherhand,we are not expecting them and have not heard from them for some time,it may be a little while before we recognize the voice.Or again,the postman may be easily recognized when we see him standing outside the door early in the morning,but it may be much harder to recognize him on holiday in Spain.These areexamples of negative set-missing that which is not expected.
The same principle can be applied in Aikido,we must be fluent in our defence and not rigid with repetitious actions.How else can we ensure the attacker /defender is kept on their toes.If you repeatedly move in a certain direction to avoid a strike,if your perception is slightly off,your opponent's brain will have registered your previous actions and will counter accordingly.
In retrospect,by training randomly when "sparring" One's speed and overall learning ability is vastly improved.