Ganbaru, of being persistent
The Japanese word “ganbaru” is a verb meaning to “hold out”, to “stand firm”, and to “persist in” an activity or endeavor of meaning. The image is one of “holding fast to the end”, of a special kind of tenacity or stubbornness that brooks no interference or obstruction to a perceived goal.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." These words attributed to an American president, Calvin Coolidge, appear quite pertinent today.
To seriously undertake the in depth study of a martial art, is to require a commitment that is both resolute and consistent, one that will sustain the seeker for the duration of a lifetime. No half hearted attempts to “check it out”, or to “see what happens”, are the attitudes welcome here.
Such a search also requires full knowledge of what is required to begin such a journey, both of the subject matter itself, and of the person’s individual talents, characteristics, and realistic chances to complete such an undertaking. The actual search itself will surely test the resolve of the seeker, and will provide ample answers to key questions along the way.
It appears to this student of Aiki, that most students of an art like Aikido may be ill equipped, or inadequately prepared to make such an important and full commitment to the study of Ueshiba Aiki, and to the creation of their own brand of Aikido. Too many have been observed “trying it out” for a brief time, and sadly quitting long before they have given either the study of Aiki, or themselves, a fair chance.
Perhaps the real odds of any group of people taking on a challenging endeavor are necessarily slim for having a high success rate. Nonetheless, thought and care should be given by established instructors and teachers of the martial arts to honestly explain and describe the requirements to, and for the benefit of their students, for a successful study of their respective art forms.
The students themselves, however, bear the ultimate responsibility of genuine, and self honest effort to study their martial art of choice, for a meaningful duration of time, and thereby reap the true benefits of such an endeavor.
The Aiki principles are very rich with the promise of real life lessons, through rigorous training, under competent instruction, that any honest and sustained effort will be worth the attempt.
The students must resolve to be “ganbari”, to prove to be hard working, tenacious and committed seekers of the treasures and truths that come from persistent training.
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