Thoughts on Kamae
Kamae is the essence of Aikido. I believe it was Gozo Shioda Sensei who stated,
"Everything we need to know about Aikido is found in Kamae". Although it is difficult for most Aikidoka to understand, the following is what I believe its importance is.
Kamae is an expresion of ourselves. When we do kamae, it shows everyone around us how we feel, how focused we are, and how confident we are in ourselves and our abilities. It not only shows us how to be physically strong, but to be strong internally as well. Kamae helps us create a "heart of steel" as Robert Mustard Sensei states. Morihei Ueshiba Sensei was the one who first proclaimed this in saying "...depending on time, situation, the lie of the land, the spirit of the moment- Kamae is what is in your heart".
After practicing Kamae and the various Aikido techniques, we begin applying them to real life situations with out concious effort. I believe Aikido to be more then just self defence. The importance of Aikido to me is how we can apply it to everyday life and Kamae is a great example of that.