This month's "The Mirror" column was written by A.J. Garcia.
Ah, the dojo.
Walls. Shomen. Canvas or mats underfoot. A place for learning who we are and what we are capable of. A challenge, yet also comfortable and somewhat predictable. We know our practice partners, and we know our space.
What if you went to the dojo one day and Sensei said, "Let's go play elsewhere!"
How would you do your aikido...
on a hill?
on a sandy beach?
in thick grass?
in a stream?
on icy ground?
in reduced gravity?
in a swimming pool?
in a severely restricted space?
on a sidewalk with people moving past you?
How would you do it if it was...
almost too bright out to see?
How would you do aikido if you were wearing...
full military gear?
a heavy coat?
cowboy boots or high heels?
Sensei says, "Change partners!"
How would you adapt your aikido if you had a partner who was...
twice your size?
half your size?
physically limited in some way?
someone who did not speak your language?
Sensei demonstrates a new variation of a move. Would you...
pay close attention?
attempt to do it the way he/she showed you?
play with it?
do it the old way you always have?
do something else entirely?
How would your aikido be different if you were...
someone of the opposite sex?
hard of hearing?
well-rested and alert?
How would it be different if you did it...
faster than usual?
with restricted motion?
with really big movements?
Think about it. Imagine.