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Old 02-22-2008, 03:23 AM   #1
Simon Lewis
Location: Leeds
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Confused Self Doubt...

I was reading Eric's reply to the 'Aikido and Addiction' post and he made a point which really struck home (sorry, can't seem to ifnd the original post now). He made the point that self doubt is a natural stage of any Aikido journey, and should be accepted.

I've been training for nearly 4 years now, and am about to take a grading for my brown belt. I've been struggling over the past few weeks with whether my Aikido is really good enough, and it was really useful for me to know that doubt like this can be normal. I chatted with one of the instructors after reading Eric's post and he said it might surprise me to know that this feeling never goes away.

I feel like I almost have all the pieces of a jigsaw and can nearly see the whole picture, but not quite. It feels as though the doubt is part of a journey, possibly even the way to improve, and that the answer is to somehow accept the doubt. Sort of.

It's a bit of a jumble to me, and if anyone alse can add any thoughts I'd be really interested.
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:04 AM   #2
crbateman
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Re: Self Doubt...

"Self doubt" is one of those phrases where definition is fuzzy. It sits on the fence between "self-assessment" and "self defeat". Its more a question of semantics. If you use this concept as a positive thing, to keep you grounded and looking for ways to correct and improve yourself, it is a positive and powerful tool, but if you use it as a means of breaking yourself down, or as an excuse to give up, then it is negative and destructive. Fortunately, the choice is yours, so just leave the negative connotations out of the equation.
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:20 AM   #3
Matt G
 
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Re: Self Doubt...

I think that Clark had a good answer, just a few things to add.

First, here's the link to Eric's thread/post http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13964

secondly, use your self doubt to practice more on the techniques you think you need more help on, and you will either become better at them and have no more or less doubt, or simply realize that you do know them, and that you are ready.

Good luck with your testing, I would love to hear how it goes!

"Master the divine techniques of , and no enemy will dare to challenge you."
O' Sensei
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Old 02-22-2008, 06:09 AM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: Self Doubt...

You doubt your sense of self?
You sound Buddhist.
Congratulations.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-22-2008, 06:42 AM   #5
odudog
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Re: Self Doubt...

Your struggling right now because you doubt yourself. Your Aikido ability won't improve until you get rid of this doubt. You need to be confident that you know what you are doing and why you do it the way that you do. This confidence will show through when you take your brown belt test. I have one instructor that always tells us that we must show confidence when testing. When he used to grade tests, he could tell when the students made a mistake for the reaction shown in their face or body language. Of course he knew that they did the technique wrong but the student needed to act as if that is exactly how he/she wanted that technique to be. He would fail them on that technique.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:22 AM   #6
phitruong
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Re: Self Doubt...

I have self doubt all the time. the other day I asked my wife "do I look fat with this shirt?" she replied "you are old, married and with children so stop worrying!" I said "a simple answer yes would be suffice!"

at the beginning, you doubt whether you take the right path and whether you can learn something from it.

in the middle of the journey, you wonder if you are good enough or have to will to continue or your teacher needs spending time with men in white coats.

at the end of the journey, you asked yourself "why in the hell name did I study drunken monkey kungfu where you kept getting arrested for epileptic intoxication in public and whether or not if you ever run into a drunken monkey that can put up a good fight?"

self doubt is good. live it, learn it, love it.
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:39 PM   #7
Dan Rubin
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Re: Self Doubt...

Quote:
Simon Lewis wrote: View Post
I've been struggling over the past few weeks with whether my Aikido is really good enough.
Good enough for what?
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:15 PM   #8
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Self Doubt...

Quote:
Simon Lewis wrote: View Post
...it was really useful for me to know that doubt like this can be normal.
Hi Simon,
absolutely it can be a good thing...and it's definately natural, but any feelings we have are natural. The beauty of self doubt is the fact that it calls things into question and demands we take a closer look. When approached in a healthy way, I think it leads to a greater level of sincerity, which can lead to a greater level of performance. The trick is to not let the accompanying emotions cloud the learning process, because there's the flip-side too. Self doubt can freeze some people in place, rooting them to uncertainty and inaction. Life is like on the job training: we learn as we go...and sometimes failure is more helpful than success. This realization has made my own self doubts take on a whole new light.
Congrats and good luck on your test!
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 02-22-2008, 02:46 PM   #9
Joseph Madden
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Re: Self Doubt...

Simon,
I'm currently a nidan and I still have doubt. My sensei has related to his students about how he's just now beginning to grasp this thing called aikido and he's an 8th dan. He's the best teacher I've ever had. If he can have doubt and still be the teacher he is, I'm sure you'll be able to train for another decade or so. Unless you get bored.

OSU
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Old 02-22-2008, 06:23 PM   #10
Eric Webber
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Re: Self Doubt...

Hi Simon,

I'd like to commend you for posting this topic and putting yourself out there. I'd like to offer a few thoughts to the subject.

1. As stated above, self doubt can be used either in a positive or negative purpose, in that it can either push us to improve or put us in sense of stagnation by self defeat.
2. I believe that self doubt on some level is unavoidable if one is truly looking at oneself and trying to break through the barriers of self concept we build in order to maintain some sense of security. Self doubt generally occurs when one is faced with an objective reality that does not gel with our self concept; also can occur when we place an unreaonsable amount of expectation on ourselves, but that is another discussion.
3. I have a friend who has trained for over 17 years, is sandan in aikido and shodan in another martial art; he once said to me that the thing he has come to learn through his years of training is not how powerful he is, but how velnerable we all are as human beings, including himself in all of his training. And in fact, it was the training that made him realize how vulnerable he actually is, and that is has been a powerful realization and motivation for him. I've always liked this realization myself....reminds me to keep polishing the mirror....
4. Self doubt is good "grist for the mill" as we say at work: it provides a reason and focus to self exam. Again, always polishing the mirror...

These are just a few thoughts, obviously not exhaustive on the subject nor representative of the entire picture. However, I am a hopeless optimist and like to look at what something can teach me rather than how it can stop me. I encourage you to do the same.

One last thought: as paraphrased from Carlos Castaneda in "Tales of Power": the average man looks at everything as a blessing or a curse; the warrior looks at everything as a challenge.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:05 PM   #11
dps
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Re: Self Doubt...

Self Doubt...Hmm...I think so....Maybe I do......Maybe I don't.....

David ( I think that is who I am...maybe not)
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Old 02-23-2008, 04:28 AM   #12
Mark Uttech
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Re: Self Doubt...

Onegaishimasu. Self doubt is a natural human feeling that is always with us. Self confidence is also a natural human feeling that basically appears when we look back.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:31 AM   #13
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Self Doubt...

Quote:
Simon Lewis wrote: View Post
I was reading Eric's reply to the 'Aikido and Addiction' post and he made a point which really struck home (sorry, can't seem to ifnd the original post now). He made the point that self doubt is a natural stage of any Aikido journey, and should be accepted.

I've been training for nearly 4 years now, and am about to take a grading for my brown belt. I've been struggling over the past few weeks with whether my Aikido is really good enough, and it was really useful for me to know that doubt like this can be normal. I chatted with one of the instructors after reading Eric's post and he said it might surprise me to know that this feeling never goes away.

I feel like I almost have all the pieces of a jigsaw and can nearly see the whole picture, but not quite. It feels as though the doubt is part of a journey, possibly even the way to improve, and that the answer is to somehow accept the doubt. Sort of.

It's a bit of a jumble to me, and if anyone alse can add any thoughts I'd be really interested.
This is the very aspect of Aikido that keeps me training....that one never arrives. We have moments of understanding and Aha.
I live in the question....not the answer. The big fun is in the exploration.
Thanks for helping me think.
You will most likely feel better after your test.
Mary
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:15 AM   #14
Simon Lewis
Location: Leeds
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Re: Self Doubt...

Thanks - appreciate you all taking the time to reply. It's been really useful reading your comments, and I'll keep re-reading them.

Thanks again
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:27 AM   #15
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: Self Doubt...

I recently took my 2nd kyu test (and passed), so I can relate to what you're currently going through. I'll just say, as you advance in your training, you start to understand more and more your own strengths and weaknesses. What was perfectly "acceptable" at 5th kyu simply isn't going to fly at a higher level. And that is to be expected. As others said, part of the trick is to *not* allow self-doubt to completely paralyze you. Take it more as a self-assessment, which you can adjust accordingly. There will always be room for improvement.

By the way...when are you testing?

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:15 PM   #16
gregg block
 
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Re: Self Doubt...

It's normal. Just means you are thinking to much. In actual combat there is no time to think. If you train well it will show. If you dont that will show also. Don't think so much. how it go? your mind should be like water still and able to reflect perfectly. This goes for all martial arts not just Aikido.
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Old 02-29-2008, 02:03 PM   #17
Adam Loomis
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Re: Self Doubt...

i think we agree that everyone from 7th Kyu to 9th Dan has "self doubt". i've only been training for a short while but i'm constantly reminded that "true victory is self victory". overcoming fears and hesitations and doubts is just as important as perfecting a technique.
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