"Sonkei" for Aikido
Sonkei, in Japanese, means “respect; a high regard; honor; esteem; reverence”.
I have the highest respect for what Aikido represents, has represented, and will hopefully continue to represent in the forseeable future. This future is in the hands of all those who profess to honor and practice the Aiki Principles of the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba.
What happens if we experience behavior less than stellar in this regard? This does not necessarily mean that Aikido’s intrinsic value will be lost, or that the valid principles that historically have defined it, will lose their authenticity, integrity or any treasured values to any who study and practice it, or even those who would deem to judge from a distance.
If I have any reservations of how Aikido will be appreciated or evaluated in the future, it would necessarily be hinged on how well the Stewards of Aikido today do their due diligence, and commit to work singularly and together, to safeguard and maintain the genuine traditions and professed vision of the Founder,
I believe in doing Aikido the “right way”, and by choosing to honor the intent and purpose of the Founder, I hope to fully realize and accept that my interpretations are no more, or less valid, than those of the next sincere student of Ueshiba Aiki.
It is a major strength of those Aiki Principles, that so many, and often divergent, interpretations are possible on a concept as huge as the Founder’s vision of, and hope for his Aikido.
Doing Aikido the “right way” is a life long journey, replete with small victories and painful defeats along the way. Yet, it heartens me to know that I can awake each day to begin anew my commitment to do a little better today, and, perhaps, tomorrow as well. I also know that I am not alone in measuring personal success one day at a time.
Thank you, the unsung heroes, who train their very best each and every day! May you continue to have growth and joy in your training!
I believe that a key reason I can maintain my singular journey, is my deep and abiding respect for Aikido, its mission, its history, its tradition, and its promise for even more benefits to anyone who willingly and resolutely undertakes its study and daily practice. This practice is so much more than executing moves and techniques on the mat.
As the late Doshu admonished, it is a matter of daily training in the Aiki principles, especially during one’s daily activities, along with maintaining peaceful interactions with our respective environments
Reigi, or martial etiquette, is one method for me to practice and demonstrate my respect for Aikido and its truths.I can achieve this goal by co-existing peaceably with my fellow citizens, showing respect and reverence for the environment, and to constantly seek for daily improvement, not only of my craft, but for a deeper appreciation for the gifts I am given.
I feel confident that my life is worth the challenges and hard lessons I encounter. It is then my joy, when I can witness the awesome growth in the people I interact with, who charitably consider me their friend, and a worthy companion on the Way of Aiki.
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