I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new students at all three of our locations (Chandler, South Chandler, Mesa). It’s a pleasure to have you all join us on the mat and I hope you enjoy yourselves as you learn about Aikido. Questions are encouraged, so if you ever want to know something all you have to do is ask.
There is a lot to Aikido and you’re not expected to remember everything we talk about or do, but by paying attention and being an active participant in class you’ll get the most out of the time you spend on the mat.
Lately we’ve been discussing some of Aikido’s major principles or ideas that help define what Aikido is. I will list them here briefly but we will also continue discussing them in class. These principles are fundamental ideas that O’Sensei thought would help bring peace to our world. Imagine if each person would work on these principles in their own lives what a difference it could make. Everyone just trying to improve themselves. Training is an ongoing process and one that really never stops. Review of these principles as well as renewed efforts to work on them is one way to constantly improve. Take one idea and focus on it for awhile, then work on another, then another… It’s a great way to break down the big picture of Aikido into more managable parts.
Some of the major principles of Aikido:
- Aikido – the way of blending with energy
- Ki – energy that flows through all things
- Shodo-o-seisu – control the first move, paying attention Dochu-no-sei – calmness in action
- Masakatsu Agatsu – true victory is victory over oneself Chudo – the middle path, not too much, not too little Shugyo – improvement through hard work and sweat Zanshin – focused attention
- Irimi – enter without fear, just do it
Remember to always give your best effort. We don’t have much time on the mat so make it worth your effort! Here’s to another great month of training!
Teresa Mastison Sensei
One of the things that is fundamental about Aikido is that it is more than a martial art useful in defending yourself. It provides great exercise, a chance to make friends, a way to deal with stressful situations possibly without physical contact, a way to help yourself be a better person, and a lifelong course of study.
As you progress through the ranks your breadth of understanding expands. Each time we revisit a technique or discuss a principle your understanding of it changes, rises to a new level. You then apply your new understanding to a familiar technique or principle and you learn something new or have a better understanding of it.
That’s why I encourage you to come to each class with an “empty cup”. Whatever is being taught there is something to be learned. When you say to yourself, “I’ve seen this before or I know what this is about” your mind is closed and very little will be gained. But, if you open your mind and allow yourself to “see” the technique as if for the first time then you have opened your mind to the possibility of growth and a new understanding. It’s hard to do and in the beginning it has to be a conscious effort, but the reward is a greater understanding.
This same “empty cup” approach can be applied to your training partner. Every partner has something to offer you as you practice a technique. That is why it is vital to train with as many different people as possible. There was a time early on in my training when I preferred to work with only a handful of other students. They were “easier” to work with, were good ukemists and everything seemed to go smoother when I partnered with them. However, I did myself a great disservice by gravitating towards those people and, I believe, stunted my growth because I avoided working with the others. When a technique is difficult or you get frustrated because it’s not working as well with this partner than it did with another that is a time when learning has the greatest opportunity of happening. You really have to think about why something isn’t happening or why your uke is reacting in a certain way. It forces you to evaluate what you are doing. Embrace those times and know that you’ll be better because of your time and effort.
Take this “empty cup” philosophy with you in all that you do. There is always something to be learned from every experience. Only when you tell yourself there isn’t will your time be wasted.
“Be grateful even for hardship, setbacks, and bad people. Dealing with such obstacles is an essential part of training in the Art of Peace.” – O’Sensei
Teresa Mastison Sensei