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"Discipline. Traveling in pursuit of Truth. To pursue aikido, or any martial art, as a path to self-improvement involves more than training. The word "shugyo" connotes a continual striving for technical and personal excellence. KEIKO, or training, is only one component of such striving. To pursue aikido as a Way, requires a continual reexamination and correction of oneself, one's attitudes, reactions, dispositions to like or dislike, etc"
I've been mulling over this Shugyo thing. In response to one of my blogs Niall said " Exhaust yourself physically and mentally - and spiritually if that's what you want too. From the shugyo - that ascetic practice - maybe you will find an answer."
Somehow this seems like a really good idea. Maybe what I need is to go and exhaust myself. I think once the nonsense of Christmas is over I'm going to go mental see if I can't up my training to daft levels for a month.
So I'm sitting on the mat minding my own; Sensei is up taking ukemi for his instructor and it dawns on me that I'm the fourth most senior person on the mat and there are a lot of people on the mat and everyone above me is an instructor.
Suddenly I feel like the tip of the sword. We're here to teach weapons work to a new dojo and I'm in the thick of it. I don't get to skitter around checking people moving from pair to pair. No, I have to train with someone and I have to get things right because the guy in front of me is trying to learn from me and so is everyone who can see me. I have to perform perfectly, over and over again.
I am not Alex: I am an example. Yes, if they get stuck they will probably ask one of the instructors but in the meantime they're looking to see what I'm doing; there's that pause at the start of training where everyone looks around to see what to do and today they were looking at me.
I find these situations where people clock on to the fact that I'm the senior student of the senior student of the guy teaching and suddenly people really want to train with me. This whole new ranking system develops; the sandan or yondan over there isn't important: ikkyu over here is because he's in the lineage. I'm the senior person in this lineage that's training, I must be trained with.
For me this is odd, I feel like a nobody, I'm just another person on the mat; I'm there to do my own training or to be Sensei's dogsbody as he is his instructors dogsbody. A
Woe betide anyone who gets in my way as I get up to uke today. I hope there's more than just our guys grading, I want something juicy; a third kyu grading at least.
I love that pause after they call "Ukes please!" And our dojo looks around and then at each other as no-one moves and then someone says "Don't worry; we'll take all the ukemi today!" and we charge back in.