Re: Aikido in the Park
Green River Aikido owns a grassy lot next to the dojo that fronts on a busy street. Weather and light permitting, that's where we do weapons practice. I like the extra room, and also the exposure to the elements - we don't train in the rain or the snow, but the heat, the sun in the eyes, the wind, the uneven grouind (gotta roll that lawn), even the distraction of yahoos honking horns. It's good practice. At first I feel a feeling of irritation, sort of like meditating in a less-than-perfect environment, and a reflexive tendency to externalize the difficulty ("Damn sun in my eyes, why am I always the one facing it, stupid moles rucking up the lawn, don't these people have anything better to do than yell and honk their horns") and fix on it as the obstacle to practice. But the more I do it, the better I get at letting that stuff come, and letting it go. And when I'm practicing amidst distractions, I KNOW when I'm focused on the task at hand and when I'm not. I think sometimes, when I'm in the dojo, I can be not-present and not really be aware that I'm not present (because it's the dojo, there's nothing else, I'm here, on the mat, and obviously I"m doing it...right?). So, yeah, I think it's good practice.