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Old 07-01-2011, 09:39 AM   #31
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,192
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
But if you approach each exercise during practise with this mindset I would say that you are indeed practising/learning Aikido! So I completely agree with you on this.

Regarding the 'fun' part: first of all practise with a smile on your face. Aikido is fun. What I meant to say is that when you practise just for the fun of it (no deeper interest in Aikido) you are not likely to advance.
Sure, I see this -- if the attitude is, "I'm here for the fun, and I don't want all that other stuff"...well, then you won't get all that other stuff.

Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
However, I do believe that when you want to advance (get better? improve?) you must know what to work on and do not leave that to chance.
I'd agree with this. "Advance", after all, implies a direction -- toward something, which is by definition a goal, right? But it does bring to mind various sayings about the journey vs. the arrival. I'm fortunate to live in an area with lots of woods and a great many hiking trails. Sometimes, when I set out on a trail, I'm trying to get somewhere: to a campsite, to a pond, to the top of a mountain. Sometimes my goal isn't a place but a process: I've been sitting around all day and I want to get my blood moving. It's still a goal, though. But sometimes I'm walking just to walk, just because the act of walking down this trail is worthwhile for me not because of where it's going to get me, but because of what it is right now, in this instant. I am walking, I am moving forward in the sens of body mechanics, but I'm not moving "forward" in the sense of advancing on a goal.

My aikido training is frequently like this. I don't have a goal in aikido, apart from to keep training. That doesn't mean I don't have standards of how I do things, or that I try to do things well, to do them better than I did last time if possible. But there isn't a goal. I don't get to have goals. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and so far I've been lucky, but my ability to exist as an independently moving physical being could go away virtually overnight and stay that way permanently. Every New Year it seems we have a thread on Aikiweb where people articulate their New Year's resolutions: I will train x times a week, I will achieve such-and-such rank, I will master such-and-such technique, I will attend this seminar or summer camp. It's meaningless for me to "resolve" to do anything like that. So I don't go there. I don't try to "advance". That's for other people.
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