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Like the top pro athletes, it is clear in the life stories told about O'Sensei's life, O'Sensei had the same power of mind (an internal strength), that doesn't get much discussion which seems to play a key role in the success of O'Sensei's skill and power.
I have be bloging and posting allot about the power of the mind. I have discussed how we think and perceive Aikido training and growth requiring mental strength, or mental power. The same power we see in successful professional and Olympic athletes, over and over again. And, now I want to explore further into the power of the mind and the role it plays that could help all of us improve our Aikido.
There is allot of posts about improving Aikido and what it is lacking. The bulk of that never mention mental training that leads to the power of the mind, which seems to be an unnoticed technique in its self. I don't know why it is over-looked as it is allot. But, it is technique for what ever reasons it isn't stressed,. I think it is more important to focus on the power of the mind, and its ability to improve our technique among other things.
After the host of Japanese classes I took in college, one of the most predominate I walked away thinking was, the effort, the focus and the result of mental training they developed over the centuries. At certain periods of time in the Japanese history mental training started with children and wasn't exclusive to only the military trained. It seemed to permeate every strata of society. I am not going to argue that at times the methods to develop mental strength weren't extreme or brutal. I will say through out history such extremism and brutality wasn't unique to the Japanese in terms of mental training, i.e. Spartans. But one doesn't have to go to that extreme or suffer such brutality (self inflicted or not) to achieve improvement.
We see the training programs of pro athletes and Olympic athletes as the standard. When we observe their training programs we see how they incorporate and focus on mental training for mental strength and power. That is something I see with what I know of O'Sensei. And they also model proper training methods and expectations for us to follow. Most of all they model the importance of mental training and its benefits, which we readily see, when we see them over-come the challenges they face on the field. Something that has more intensity due to the age of technology, i.e. a game broadcasted on T.V. And bringing with it, the great opportunity to study all the advancements made in mental training's role in winning. We in these times have a great opportunity to understand, observer, and analyze like never before the best mental training programs on earth.
Maybe this is the great secret, mental training to create mental strength, which is a result of determination, hard work and discipline to improve and grow in Aikido. We see these things in O'Sensei's life loud and clear. We see it in the success of other great martial artists though out history. We see it also in our modern day athletes and their lives and achievements. With so much pointing to the importance of mental strength it can't be ignored if it is our goal to achieve greater ability and skill; Kaizen.