CUA Aikido Union
women and Aikido
CD rom "the Way"
Politics in Aikido
Dedication and Commitment
Looking for a Dojo
Teaching Children Aikido
Commitment Burdens Distance Balance Timing
Absolute power, or so I thought
CUA COURSE 2006
China Painting Class
(pictured above jon stokoe 5th Dan
and senior member D Edmondson 1st Dan)
We practice basic exercises over and over again, which by themselves are not particularly useful, just as when learning to play an instrument we practice scales, or the alphabet when reading and writing. When learning to write, we practice our
letters between lines, and end up with row upon row, page after page of letters,
practising their individual forms. One day we no longer need the lines. When these are mastered, we move on to simple words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters.
If we are able and motivated, we may get beyond applying for jobs and write
postcards, to perhaps write for our own entertainment or others, poems, short
stories, a small article or even a book. Though few who write will ever be a
Shakespeare, it is enjoyable nonetheless. However, this state is only reached by
repetitive and sometimes boring exercise; then we come to the point where we can enjoy a great range of writing and reading and we realise, this development has opened up a whole new world.
In the dojo you may not realise the purpose of an exercise until long after you have practised it for some time. Unless you do it often, a particular penny will never drop, but when it does, the reasons for otherwise pointless exercise suddenly become clear. It is a great feeling when this happens.
I found that my Aikido took my mind away from severe domestic troubles for a few hours a week. I didn't bring the outside world into the dojo, but by and by, I think some of the dojo came out into the world with me. I later stopped needing the dojo in this way and inevitably had days when I just didn't feel like turning up to practice, for all the usual reasons; bad day at work, important socialising to attend to, etc. I kept turning up, though, and what I realised was that when the last thing I wanted to do was Aikido, I always had a much better session, got more than normal from it, and came out feeling greatly improved on a couple of hours before. When I went to train feeling like the bee's knees, I found things very difficult. Strange? Perhaps not - Aikido is a great leveller. Perhaps it shows that we should practice because we enjoy it for it's own sake, and have a desire to learn, to lose one's ambition and ego; not because we want to impress or be the best, and certainly not to be superior.
There is always someone better, not to think so is the gunfighter's syndrome and being an inmate of Boot Hill has never appealed to me that much. If there is always someone better, then there is someone to learn from. We are therefore always at the beginning. Everyone has to start somewhere - the important thing is to start. As been quoted so many times:
"A journey of a thousand miles must always start with the first step"
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