David Valadez wrote:
I think that if we can say that every master has suffered for his/her art, then we might also want to say that no master has achieved his/her greatness without some repulsive energy (e.g. shame) that was pushing them toward their ideal in a way very similar to how their desire for achieving that ideal was pulling them. In other words, we might want to suggest that a master is pushed and pulled along in their expertise. They are pulled by their internal longing to achieve their ideal (i.e. a desire to master). But they are also pushed by their internal repulsion toward not achieving it - toward being like those that have not achieved (i.e. a repulsion toward being unable to master). Somehow, in my opinion, the words "bad" and "good" seem to be falling short in describing this particular aspect of mastery.
I would think this is a matter of priority - my investment of me and my time in Aikido is made at the cost of time and attention spent somewhere else. I should think any "shame" experienced would go with whatever you gave up and thought less in need of you and your time than "mastery". Hence, more a check on your acheivement than a push to it. Aikido for me occupies a place where I feel that it is necessary for me to practice because of the deep sense of happiness and joy it gives me. Yes, I want to do better while in class, but I am definitely not driven by any need to "master" the art. Aside from indicating some end result that I think most of us agree does not exist in aikido, what I would have to give up simply weighs far more.
Aikido is so many things to so many different people. I doubt that you can distil one truth that is valid for all. A sense of pride can be accomplished by positive reinforcement - there does not have to be an "or else" in my mind. I practice aikido because it makes me feel good, and I try to improve execution because it feels right - not because not doing so would make me feel "bad". Aikido is an entirely positive experience to me. Yes, I discover things I can work on outside the dojo, but that's all part of the fun - it doesn't lead to a sense of shame, as far as I understand it. It's more like encountering a manifest expression of a side of yourself that you may have been blind to. It exists no matter what you do, and now you can learn how and where to apply it correctly. For instance, impatience simply doesn't work well in aikido, but if you can make it support anticipation, you may have something. You don't have to go to some deep dark vestige of your being. To me, that's not what aikido is for. But as I said, aikido is many things to many people.