Aikido is a constant, delightful study. It challenges me to try my best, and yet constantly displays my errors and weaknesses. How ironic then, that one of the principles is to “Perform with confidence”.
A few weeks ago, I started admitting my failures to the world.
Daily practice: standing tall Thank goodness the sun’s arrived! Today started out misty and cool, bordering on cold. By supper time it was hot and bright, neighbours on both sides were out, and everything was just fine.
“At the slightest hint of difficulty and pain, the body wants to give up and so it communicates to the mind that it can do no more, and indeed gives up. Once the mind decides the body is unwilling to do something, a tug-of-war starts. It is in such conflict that the body must be disciplined to succumb to the mind.” (This Way To Joy) This is a familiar paradigm – mind as master, body as unwilling and lazy slave; one, incidentally, that encourages us not to listen to our bodies, but to drive onwards regardless.
I spent this evening with 5 other men in a smallish wood-floored room, moving about each other with knives – sometimes bendy rubber ones, sometimes blunt metal ones, and sometimes sharp kitchen knives. That’s a surreal activity. There were moments in that room of connecting with something else. When all 5 were approaching me and I had to identify the one with the knife, I couldn’t do so logically or by assessing each one in turn – I had to trust the corners of my eyes, my instinct, and my body. When one was slashing slowly towards me, I had to learn the rhythm of his dance and join him wholeheartedly in it, no matter what his intention.