“Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal.”
I saw this quote recently and it made me think of how we started this new year of training by learning about some of the basic Aikido principles. During the month of January we talked about a different principle each class and then in Febru- ary you were asked to focus on just one (or more) principle that you’d really strive to put into practice. Now, for March, I want you to be proud of the effort you put into your training.
Everything you do is a choice you make and it either helps or hinders your progress. You never stop learning and growing so it’s important to always strive to do your best. But we’re not perfect. Even adults have to work on things to improve themselves. When you make a choice that is helpful it feels good, you see progress being made, and you’re encouraged to keep it up. When you make a choice that does not help the situation you have an opportunity to learn from it. Sometimes you have to deal with the consequences by apologizing or making amends when it was a hurtful choice, or enjoying the success and being proud when it was a helpful choice; but either way you can grow and learn. Don’t get bogged down by the negative things that go on in your life; learn from them and move on. And be proud for being able to do that.
Also, be proud of yourself when you make good and helpful choices. Some things you work towards (goals) are short term. Once you’ve achieved the skill you’ve got it (like learn- ing to tie your shoes or riding a bike). Other goals are ongo- ing and require you to constantly put forth effort in order to see improvement (like learning to be patient and kind to oth- ers or learning Aikido techniques). But remember to take pride in all the steps you make towards reaching your goals. It will encourage you and keep you focused on what’s ahead.
I’m proud of you for sticking with Aikido and for coming to class every week. I hope you’re able to see how much pro- gress you’ve made from when you first started. If you’ve just started training with us you’ll be making progress every time you come to class. Be proud of yourself!
Teresa Mastison Sensei
This quote reminds me that in the end all I have is my integrity and character. How I am treated is a direct correlation to how I treat others. My life is what it is because of the choices I make…even when no one is looking. I can not deny it. If I do I am not being honest with myself. My choices directly (and indi- rectly) affect me as well as those around me. I have to remind myself of this fact every once in awhile because I get so self- absorbed in whatever is going on that I forget it’s not all about me.
At this point I remember my Aikido training and try to put into practice whatever principle is applicable to the situation…even when no one is looking. It’s funny how after ~25 years of train- ing I’ve never had to actually use a technique to defend myself, but on a daily basis I use Aikido principles to help guide my choices. I’m thinking that is what O’Sensei was hoping would happen when he formed this “Way”. A discipline that would allow one to learn self-defense skills, but at the same time pro- vide a channel for perpetual self-improvement.
How fortunate we are to have this most utilitarian art to study. It’ll provide us with skills necessary to protect ourselves as well as give us ways to better our lives on a daily basis. I hope that your training is giving you challenges and insights that are help- ing you become the person you were meant to be. Strive to em- body the essence of Aikido and do what is right…even when no one is looking.
Teresa Mastison Sensei
For the month of January we talked about a different Aikido principle each class. In case you missed a class or attend the South Chandler dojo where we only meet once a week I’d like to give a brief summary of the principles discussed and ask that you try to put one or more of them into practice thismonth. Alltheseidealsarethingsweshouldconstantly strive to use in our lives. Sometimes we’ll do a pretty good job, and other times we won’t. The important thing is to keep trying and to realize that it’s the struggle and effort that mold our character and give us strength.
Aikido—the way of blending with energy. A way of redirect- ing energy so that there is minimal clashing.
Ki—energy that flows through all things. We have positive and negative energy inside us at all times. What kind of en- ergy we put out affects those around us and it can influence the kind of day we have. Extending positive energy is more likely to make for a better day.
Shodo o seisu—control the first move. Pay attention to what’s happening around you so that you’ll be able to react to whatever happens. By being aware you give yourself more time to control your reaction (first move on your part) and maybe even avoid a potential problem.
Dochu no sei—calmness in action. Try to remain calm even when things are going crazy around you. Ki breathing helps us remain calm and can give us the extra time to respond in a sensible way instead of flying off the handle.
Masakatsu agatsu—true victory is victory over yourself. Just try to be the best possible person you can be. The only person you need to beat is yourself.
Shugyo—hard work and sweat. The day to day struggles we go through to improve. The only way we can get better at anything is if we practice and put forth effort. Shugyo is that effort in all forms.
Chudo—the middle path. Not too much, not too little, just the right amount…of anything. Chudo is using moderation, not over doing it, not doing too little either, but doing just the right amount to get the job done.
Irimi—enter without fear. Tackle whatever is in front of you with energy and get it done. It may be a dreaded task or something new, but once you decide then do it like you mean it. You might surprise yourself at what you can accomplish.