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Old 09-29-2012, 09:16 AM   #8
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 379
United_States
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Re: spirtuality in the dojo

Hope I'm not slowing down the thread, but I feel I should share the moment I first started teaching in our local YMCA. My dad had given me the advice: don't try to teach the philosophy, just teach the exercise. Or something like that, it was years ago.

I felt I should keep his advice in mind by going straight to the students who showed up to the first class. So dad's advice helped me be smart enough to ask them why they wanted to study Aikido.

They said they wanted to learn to be centered. Not sure if I was qualified to teach that specifically, only through the actual techniques and some related things I could pass on to them that could be related to breathing, balance, movement and centering exercises I think you could call them.... some probably call some of these practices "ki exercises" anyway anything I could remember I would pass on to them...

But their request kind of made me smile, so I had to be candid. ' Well, if the teacher is centered, it is possible that the student may not learn to be centered, and if the teacher is not centered it is still possible for the student to learn to be centered. I can't really tell you which kind of teacher I am ' (Because I don't know)

Actually, this topic is huge, I hope many others add to this thread. There is so much available in Aikido of a spiritual nature, for those who wish to learn that aspect. But not necessary, even some of O Sensei's students have said, possibly meaning that it is only necessary to practice, the rest will come naturally? You can look up their writings and interviews on the subject, I'm just mentioning it for your further research.

During meditation in your dojo, if they have it formally, say, before class, it is an opportunity to relax your mind before practice, or there may be some directions given as to the type of meditation the teachers want you to do. But there are many kinds of meditation! Like, when you are outside viewing nature or people, your mind can calm itself, you can practice compassionate thoughts, or actions, for example.

As for myself when I was teaching, I tried to share anything of what I had been taught that I thought might be helpful. Just by practicing with my students and being open minded I learned a lot just from their general, receptive attitudes. Not the least was..... their ability to ..... smile.

Last edited by Diana Frese : 09-29-2012 at 09:24 AM.
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