Thursday, November 17, 2005

Parting Thoughts

Below is something I wrote when I left my Aikido Dojo. For those who don't know Aikido, is a martial art that strives to achieve balance, like all things in life its purpose is that which the practitioner ascribes. A "Gasshaku" is like a training retreat or period of intense study, "Uke" is the person who is having a technique applied to, "Nage" is the person applying a technique, a "Dojo" is a training hall, and the word "Aikido" can be translated to mean "The way of harmonizing universal energy".

Parting thoughts I’d Like To Share

For the past 18 months I’ve been given a gift from each of my training partners. I cannot underscore enough the deep appreciation that I have for all of you. If I would have to categorize the most valuable thing I’ve learned while training at the Aikido Institute it would be the knowledge of who I am within the context of the Dojo, which in itself is a reflection of society. All of you have imparted knowingly and unknowingly lessons to me in patience, attention, communication and humility. Few training days have gone by where I didn’t realize or was shown how I could improve on my character. The technical aspects of moving with grace and power are what brought me to the door. They appealed to my lower self, the aspect of my identity that seeks to look good, have control and gain power. At first this was my only motivation. But something gradually changed. I began to recognize something that was of greater value in the daily training. This realization began last year when I was sweating it out and getting thrown around at the Memorial Day Gasshaku. I noticed that within the transaction between Uke and Nage something was being communicated. The information was transmitted in the various amounts (and absence of) tension, resistance and power during the execution of techniques (this is a poor explanation but I hope you get the point). I began to feel what I believe to be my partner’s animus, a clear sense of who they were at that point in time. I’m sure many of you have made similar discoveries. Over repeated transactions with the same people I began to recognize patterns in the information they transmitted, I believe that to be their true character. Observing this made me reflect more upon my own self and how I could improve my techniques to be something I’d be grateful to receive. The Dojo is a special place, it is unlike the rest of the city where we can hide behind insincere words and actions. On the mat sincerity can easily be discerned, not by the eye or ear but by the heart. Over the past 18 months my technical abilities have gone from rough to less rough, but more importantly I have been taught an invaluable life lesson.

Thank you all,

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