Do you train beyond just the techniques and practices of Aikido? I've been thinking about this. I do a lot of training that isn't physical, and isn't directly part of any of the arts I practice. I read and research to understand the roots and foundations of the arts. I think of this as "outside training" because it is outside the curriculum of the martial arts. I wrote this blog post about it.
Nice blog! Thank you for sharing it! Most of my mat time the last several years has been very slight, so I suppose you could say most of my time training has been outside training. I came to Aikiweb with the idea that I wanted to learn about the different perspectives, as well as to get an idea of other resources for learning about the wide world of Aikido. Books cost money and my local library didn't always have the same books being that it was a branch library (the first book I read was Mitsugi Saotome Sensei's book, The Principles of Aikido
, followed by Gozo Shioda's book, Dynamic Aikido
). So until I came to Aikiweb, that was the extent of my outside training. Since then I've tried to directly experience approaches that are different from what I'm used to and now that I'm trying to ramp up my training again, I'm hoping to do a little more of that. Comparing and contrasting, traveling "inside" and "outside" back and forth generates a great kind of vision I think; it takes a single perspective and makes it a bit more stereoscopic.
I put a lot of stock in the mental aspect of training because that's where so much of our perception is derived. Because our perceptions drive and shape the learning process, I try to consider as many perceptions as possible...and I have to say blogs like yours and forums like Aikiweb have been a great wealth for that reason. I get the sense that the functional learning (the physical ingraining of the principles and ideas) takes place on the mat, but abstract learning can inform our approach in subtle but profound ways. Like you say, it's incredibly valuable for developing in a well-rounded way. It provides a valuable sense of context, which I always find puts things into a better perspective. That's why I love it when people are willing to share their thinking/understanding about, well, whatever they care to do. Thank you again for sharing this!