Life is Training
I spent some time after class a few weeks ago just talking to one of the students. He was a relative newcomer to our Dojo and had been training for some considerable time yet due to a particularly ego-centered instructor at his last club, he had never been graded.
Since joining with us, he has always commented on how much he enjoys his training and wishes that he had found it earlier in life (while he is not old, like me he is not young either, and that is all I Will say on the matter). Immediately he enters the dojo and begins a warm-up, he is always polite and respectful about (almost, within reason) everyone and is genuinely positive about the art.
I felt obliged to stop him mid sentence and point out that in the few months of observing his progress, it is clear that he is a dedicated and responsible student who has a clear understanding of life, and in fact that he has most probably been studying for longer than he has actually been on the mat training.
Aikido fundamentals, I stressed, are not simply a system of acquired knowledge that permits you to perform a specific technique, but is about the understanding the action and interaction of positive and negative forces in the universe. It is possible to undertake the principles of Aikido in all forms, perceiving or non-perceiving, thinking or simply being and training or standing still. In this respect, I told him, you have obviously been training for a very long time.