Thread: Patience
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:32 AM   #16
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Patience

I am going to play "devil's advocate" here. While I agree that patience is required in ones practice since there is simply no fast way to get really good at this art of ours, it must be balanced with what I will call the "thirst for knowing".

I have noticed over the years I have spent around my own teacher and various other teachers who function at a very high level that many people fall into the "habit" of not getting it. Class after class, seminar after seminar, for years and years they train with these teachers and get no closer to understanding what they are doing than they had been a decade earlier.

I have noticed that many people actually hide behind this "habit" of not understanding because it is safe and requires no fundamental changes in how they relate to others, no reassessment in who they think they are, all of which real progress would require. People are generally afraid of change. They are especially afraid of changing themselves.

I taught a seminar during which I worked with a student of a number of years on a particular aspect of a technique. I gave him very detailed explanation of what to do, walked him through it step by step, and he did it. He then looked at me with a completely puzzled look on his face. He should have had an "ah ha" moment... but instead he was holding onto his "habit" of not getting it.

I see many, many practitioners of the art who simply buy into the idea that they won't ever be as good as their teacher, that's it's therefore ok not to worry about not being that good, and therefore they don't actually need to try. This attitude extends even to people who have taken on the role of teacher to others.

So people tell themselves that if they are just "patient" it will come eventually. Well, it won't. You have to be "hungry", you have to want it. You may know that it won't come "now" as Seiser Sensei talked about, but the difference between "now", days from "now", years from "now", and "never" is how much you want it and how hard you are willing to work.

Patience in your training is only a virtue as a balance for your drive to "get it". Your desire for mastery is what compels you to train. Often, the frustration of wanting it "now" when it can't actually be had "now" causes people to quit. That is because they did not have the counter balancing trait of patience. Patience keeps you in it for the long run.

But if "patience" is not balanced with that sense of "hunger", the drive towards mastery, then it can simply be the excuse for not getting it. "now" becomes "tomorrow" or the "next day". Eventually, it becomes "never". And you have become the limiting factor in your own training because you were content with not getting it today. You tell yourself that there will always be another class, another seminar, another chance with that teacher. Well, it's not necessarily true. The uchi deshi are passing away, we will not see their like again unless someone is "impatient". Why assume someone else will do it? Why not you?

Somehow or other, I have gotten to almost sixty. I have little time left and an ever increasing sense of what I want to know. I have little sympathy for "patience". I am "impatient". Time is running out. One of these days there will be no more tomorrows for me to "get it". I have only a limited time left for me to help my students "get it". So I am "impatient" and I think that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact I think it is crucial for my continued efforts at mastering this wonderful art, at least at some level I would find acceptable in my own mind. And what that level is seems to be constantly changing.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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