We had our annual Spring Fling seminar Sunday. The early morning grey cloud ceiling gave way to bright sunshine illuminating a cobalt sky, completely free of clouds, just as we began class. The temperature seemed to jump 10 or 15 degrees in a matter of minutes so we raised the overhead doors and windows to let in the light and warmth.
Mary and I chose "always practice the Art of Peace in a vibrant and joyful manner" (Ueshiba Morihei) as our theme. It seemed appropriate in light of the hard dark winter season that has finally given up it's ghost to the promise of renewal heralded by the arrival of spring. As I watched people practice throughout the three hours I saw smiles freely given and accepted. Warmth and good cheer suffused the room and was radiated out through the open doors and windows. The flowers on the lone forsythia bordering our woody back yard seemed just a little yellower and brighter; a trick of the light I'm sure.
Looking around at the people practicing together, laughing, smiling, supporting one another through the rough spots of this or that drill, finding their own Aikido in the midst of the group Aikido they're helping to create; I wonder if this isn't what O Sensei intended for Aikido to be. Did he envision Aikido as a way for people all over the world to come together in relatively small groups and practice his art in the spirit of friendship and cooperation? I hope so. It is, has been for 34 years and will continue to be the focus of my practice.
(Original blog post may be found here