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I'm increasingly struck by how much people's personalities are extended onto the mat. It's the quiet ones that in the end impress me the most as they go about their aikido with an ease that belies their skill.
I'm also struck by the people who don't bother to blend or fit in, or who simply lack the subtlety to tell that it is the sheer effortlessness of the movement that really marks skill. It's the correlation between their real life personalities and their ability or inability on the mat that I find the most striking.
I had always separated mental skill from physical skill ie some people may not be good at things physically and so may be quite different off the mat. One could for instance be an adroit lawyer or skilled mathematician but be physically clumsy and so I had initially assumed the two would be separate. But it is to my surprise that while physical talent is separate, the personalities often extend. The people who are subtle off the mat in other fields and areas of their lives "get" the whole subtlety of aikido considerably faster than those who barge their way through life and their practice of the art therefore differs in essence and this is reflected consequently in their ability to practice the physical form.
With people who have natural physical talent, this point is reached much sooner, but it is still evident in people who have a lower level of natural skill though that takes slightly longer to emerge. Either that or i notice it only la
We've had a sudden influx of 5 new girls. One who joined a short while ago and then another four came along last week. One is an old student who's already 2nd kyu and she brought 2 friends and the last walked in on her own.
Nice to see all these new faces and they're not faring too badly on the mat. Think there are a couple of new boys too but as I don't have as much contact with them I don't really keep track.
The fine white cloud of dust has deterred a few but all the die hards are still showing up and sticking it out. We've also got better at coping with it and now mopping the mats before hand has taken on a heightened importance.
Our dojo has turned into a construction site. So our mat space has shrunk and become dusty with a fine white powderly dust from all the renovation work that's going on. They've cancelled Friday classes but otherwise we're more or less soldiering on. However I think it'll get worse before it gets better over this month and there's a grading on 1 March so all those grading will have to put up with the dust and lack of air circulating since they've papered over the windows so we can't open them. I'm not entirely sure what improvements they're making but well, since it's only for a month, we'll live.