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.
During instruction this past month I referenced and used in the adult classes the book entitled Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti. It has been a most useful refer- ence for me over the years and I’d highly encourage any adult to make it a part of your personal Aikido library. What I like most about this particular book is the way the information is pre- sented. It is very much like a textbook, showing you the steps and explaining the technique. You can easily look up just one technique and read a little bit about it, look at the diagrams and get in a quick review; yet as I develop my skills and my under- standing of Aikido increases it becomes more in depth and eve- rything seems to make more sense. I think this is true with al- most any study that happens over a long period of time, so I have learned.
Another great book, especially for anyone who is just starting out in their Aikido training, is The Essence of Aikido, a book by my first Aikido instructor, Bill Sosa Sensei. It’s a pretty quick read and explains the basics beautifully. It gets into the philoso- phical without being too heady and it has a wide variety of ki- hon (basic) techniques without overcomplicating it. I’ve read this particular book many times from cover to cover and I still find myself thinking about what he said or being reminded about something I had gotten away from. Again, I’d encourage all Aikido of Phoenix students to read this as it is where Fred Mas- tison Sensei and myself got our start and where we are rooted.
Finally, I’d like to recommend one other book that you may find interesting. It’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Daniel Mill- man. It is based on a true story of a world champion gymnast who meets an extraordinary person who leads him on an insight- ful journey of romance and magic, light and darkness, body and spirit. It doesn’t talk about Aikido specifically but you can to- tally see the connections once you get into it. It presents infor- mation on how to get the most out of life in an entertaining, thought provoking way. This will be a reread for sure.
These are just a few books I recommend. I know John Sensei has a whole list of books available for checkout if you’re inter- ested in further reading or check them out at the library or pur- chase them for yourself. Just keep reading. It’s a great way to train the mind.
Teresa Mastison Sensei