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Old 06-30-2010, 01:50 PM   #1
Thomas Osborn
Dojo: Aikido of Northampton
Location: Holyoke, MA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 108
Working Hard At Not Trying

6/30/10 [4v] Small class today but all four vets have been seriously involved for 3 to 4 weeks. I was able to give each guy a considerable amount of individual attention. We spent almost the whole class working on shiho nage and I was able to work through it one aspect at a time, pointing out to each guy how relaxing to center, balance, focusing on one's own posture made a difference at every point in the technique. There were a number of "AH HA!" moments and "Oh! So that's how it works!". And best of all, when was able to tell someone that "that was excellent", I would get a slightly surprised look, and "but it didn't feel like I did anything".

I said that one of the most important things to learn in Aikido, is that you have to work very, very hard, at not doing anything. But, the harder you worked at not doing anything, the harder it was to not do anything, so you might as well just relax, and not try to do anything, and it will get done. I said it was like a physical Koan. The great thing was, at the end of the class, three guys said that now they understood what I meant.

I'm not real sure I understand, but every once in a while-----

I had an Aikidoka friend who was also an avid golfer. He said golf was like Aikido. You try and practice and work at it for years, and just when you think about giving up, you hit that perfect shot, your swing is sweet and effortless, the ball sails out straight, true and far. It is a thing of beauty. You laugh and congratulate yourself, and you are sucked in to more years of trying for that feeling again.
But, damn, it makes it all worthwhile.

(Original blog post may be found here.)
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