I believe that frustration is a nearly constant companion in one’s Aikido training ( I would extend that to any of the training that I am currently doing). In reality, there are a limited number of classes of techniques that exist in Aikido. Take any one technique and ask yourself how many times you have “relearned” that technique. Our progression in our training in many ways resembles a set of stairs where you can only go up.
We spent time working on some aspects of our ability to execute techniques. It can range from footwork, to body placement to how you are transmitting and receiving energy. We typically find ourselves working very hard on some aspect in our practice. We struggle and deal with a decent amount of frustration for long periods of time. One day, we seem to “break through” the roadblock that we perceive in our training. We have taken a step up in our progress and we are now seeing things from a new vantage point. All of the sudden, we find that we can execute a technique with a degree of ease that has alluded us for so long. We find that we take this “break through” and relearn all of our techniques all over again. We feel really, really good about our training and our progress. This bliss does not last for long. We are then confronted with the next challenge ahead of us and begin the long, frustrating path confronting us. We work hard, waiting for that next breathless “AHA” moment, which sustains us through our struggles.
I have been going through this process for a long time now. I can speak from experience when I tell you to stick with it when you feel hopeless, incompetent, a failure…. Each time I go through this process, I am excited about what lies ahead of me. The next path in front of me is more enticing than the one before it. This helps sustain me through my periods of frustration and self-doubt. Persevering through these difficult periods also helps us gain a deeper awareness of ourselves, which is a critical aspect of Aikido, which can then help us in many different areas of our lives.
The awareness of this type of learning is why I shift focus each week in our training. I want to expose students to a variety of areas in which people can find themselves struggling to gain some sense of mastery. Each of the students will discover which path they are seeking take. Each path is valid and important to that student. The common ground is that we are all (myself included) working on relearning our techniques again. As a teacher, I simply hope to help guide you along these endless steps of discovery.
Marc Abrams Sensei
(Original blog post may be found here