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To me, Aikido is more than a physical engagement on the mat. I've learned that to fully experience Aikido there needs to be a connection made between the philosophy and writings of O'Sensei and the physical lessons taught in the dojo.
Early on in my training, I jumped head first into Aikido. I had a very limited understanding of Aikido's approach. All I was aware of was that Aikido was different and it looked very fluid. I thought, I understood what it was all about. It was not until I started reading the words of O'Sensei that I could see the man and his vision. A lot of the reasons why we train in a certain way were answered by his philosophy.
O'Sensei's writings are full of wisdom and his approach in developing Aikido is rooted in Peace.
"As soon as you concern yourself with the "good" and "bad" of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weakens and defeats you." Quote from Morihei Ueshiba's The Art of Peace
"In the Art of Peace we never attack. An attack is proof that one is out of control. Never run away from any kind of challenge, but do not try to suppress or control an opponent unnaturally. Let attackers come any way they like and then blend with them. Never chase after opponents. Redirect each attack and get firmly behind it." Quote from Morihei Ueshiba's The Art of Peace
The idea of peace may seem to conflict with the practice of a Martial Art. If you take a
I wrote this sometime ago. I saw it and thought I'd share it.
During my first year in Aikido, I sat down and wrote a list of things that I found important during my Aikido training.
Stay open and clear minded. -- When your mind is open and clear you are prepared to learn, which is why we are here.
Listen closely to your practice partner. -- Always be observant of your practice partner's condition. Your partner is placing themselves in your hands when practicing together. Take care of that person. We are not practicing to hurt one another.
Stay observant. -- Be observant of the instructions from the sensei, footwork, hand positions, movements, etc.
Read aikido books you can get your hands on. -- I found that reading Aikido books strongly supplemented my dojo training. My perceptions of Aikido are formed in the dojo with my sensei but supplemented by my readings.
Watch Aikido videos. -- I watch Aikido videos as an additional learning tool. These videos provided me with additional perspectives on the techniques being taught in the dojo training. They are plantiful on YouTube.
Attend the weapons classes if available -- Early in my training, I didn't understand the relationships between weapons class and Aikido training. Since then, I've discovered that, weapons training enforce the basic elements of Aikido, such as distancing, footwork, strike evading, timing and many, many more.
Keep a Journal of you training. -- When I started Aikido I noticed that I would for
A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, "I am devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to master it." The teacher's reply was casual, "Ten years." Impatiently, the student answered, "But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice everyday, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then?" The teacher thought for a moment, "20 years."
I'm sure we were all this type of student at one time or another. Very eager and goal oriented. The world we live in requires us to be this goal oriented person to succeed. It is a difficult to leave that thought pattern that we grew up with and switch gears to a more centered approach and purpose in Aikido.
Now, I don't claim any authority on Aikido or life in general. I am a mere student of both. My understandings and perceptions are only from my own experiences.
My dearest father once told me, "To succeed in today's world we need to be competitive." To be competitive means that we need to be goal oriented. We all know that Aikido contains no contests. As O'Sensei states in "The Art of Peace"
"In Aikido, we train the body but also use the body as a vehicle to train the mind, calm the spirit, and find goodness and beauty, dimensions that sports (competition) lack. Training in Aikido fosters valor, sincerity, fidelity, magnanimity and beauty as well as making the body strong and healthy. In Aikido, we train not to learn how t