Re: The Challenge
I agree with you, Lynn Sensei. Aikido is challenge all the time, and most of it is fun, an invitation to play, an invitation to learn. But occassionally we get kicked out of the comfort zone, get into a situation where teaching/and/or practising Aikido becomes a real challenge, and that is when we see how much our training has been worth.
I think we got used to see challenges to see as a personal threat . They keep us from showing our best sides, or so we think. I believe the opposite is true. Challenges can show what's really inside you. What is your challenge, anyway? Go on a demo? Go and do it, exposure will reduce your anxieties. Teach a class? Go and do it, your students will be a mirror of what you are doing. Testing? We are not competitional, remember. We are good or not so good. It is not about wiping another person out.
Maybe I am seeing that too easy here, but most of Aikido is for me taking up the challenge. The challenge to run to training at 8.00 in the evening when you are dog-tired and you just want to rest. Or at 6.30. similarily tired. The challenge to pair up with that new white belt when you would rather let it out with your roughhousing brownbelt-brother. And the wonderful, prickling, great-feeling challenge when you are way out over head in with a far advanced belt and he throws and bends you in positions and directions you had no idea you could conquer.
Folks, I am Christopher Colombus in every Aikido class. New territory each time. New challenges every time I put on my belt, enter the mat. I am not open for it all the time, but I pray that may change. As for the challenges, I pray that may not change.