True Power of Faith in Aikido
I guess I will keep adding little bits here with the hope that more people will begin to participate. I am also hoping to re-connect with some old friends here with whom I have lost contact with after so many years.
In between practice at Hombu, I used to help in the office when I was not cleaning this or that or trying to sneak in a little nap. At the end of the genkan or lobby of Hombu Dojo you now see a beautiful memorial plaque to O'Sensei but, in the old days, an old soda-pop machine used to stand there in its place. During the summer months, everyone would buy soda from it on their way out after practice and during the very hot, humid days, the coin box would fill up right away. One of my jobs was to empty the coin box and count the monies and prepare it for deposit to the bank. We used to go the bank almost every day or every other day in those days.
Every once in a while, I would find a slug instead of coin in this coin box but there was a period when someone was using many, many slugs to get the soda. It became a very serious problem so I mentioned it to Doshu.
"Sensei, look at this, someone at Hombu after practice is using these slugs to steal the soda from the soda machine!" I said.
Doshu looked at me very angrily and reprimanded me, saying: "I cannot believe that anyone practicing Aikido here would use a slug to get soda from our machine. Obviously, it is someone from outside who doesn't practice Aikido who comes in and does such bad things. All Aikido people are good people and don't do such things."
When he said this, I was so mad inside. How could he think such a naive thing? Who would walk into Hombu Dojo to use our soda machine when there are plenty of machines on the street outside? I thought to myself. This is ridiculous to say such a thing! Well, I didn't argue with Doshu but inside, I was very upset when I knew I was so right.
Some time later, I realized that Doshu was teaching me a very valuable lesson. If we practice Aikido, we must have faith in our fellow humans, good or bad. Doshu had such a strong faith and love for all of his students and I think this is what made him such a great teacher in his own quiet way. I learned a lot on the mats but Doshu continually taught me so many great lessons like this off the mat as well. This is one episode I always think about each day when I am teaching Aikido to my students, even today.
Today, we rely on our intellect so much and we are so smart (like I was in my younger days!) and sometimes we leave no room for the power of love and faith in our Aikido practice. This lesson always reminds me not to make such a big mistake in our training. . . . . .