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Being meaningful, an aiki perspective, revisited

Sensei's thoughts and writings

Being meaningful, an aiki perspective, revisited

Postby Francis Takahashi » Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:28 am

Do you train meaningfully, or do you train with meaning? There may be a small difference, or a huge difference, depending on what these terms mean to you. There is no right or wrong label to be placed on the final choices made, or the results achieved. The great benefit of making personal choices, is that you need not justify them to anyone else, being content with simply making them for your own purposes.

Training meaningfully allows the student to focus, not only on being meaningful, but more importantly, on incorporating fundamental values into the training regimen itself. In this way, the added benefits of internalized commitment, effective muscle memory, as well as the effective habits honed from endless hours of effort, will naturally flow into one's everyday practice. Keeping things simple is also helpful in avoiding the confusion from too much information, and the burden of overly ambitious goals.

To train with meaning, however, requires a different set of commitments and mind sets, that allow for the successful pursuit of specific goals of training. Perhaps one truly wants to improve their ukemi to the extent of being unconcerned with who the nage is, or of any hidden agenda he may have. Or one may engage in a brutally intense regimen of conditioning, to outlast anyone else in a randori or marathon training experience.

Olympic athletes, for example, do not train to be in top shape, or to appear to be so. They train for the specific purpose of excelling in their event(s) of choice, to the exclusion of just about any other reason for training. It is for the purpose of ultimately being judged the best by others that counts for them, and not necessarily what they may want for themselves, even after the glamour of the games is long ago finished and tarnished. Perhaps this approach may be called an “exclusive” method of training, where little else matters other than the specific goals defined and pursued. In the end, all effort is either justified and affirmed, or deemed unrealized and, unfortunately, an unmitigated failure and disaster. All or nothing is this mind set, being unwilling to settle for anything less.

Granted, most of the Olympians who have survived the grueling and time intensive rigors of preparing for and participating in the Games, do see themselves as far richer for the experience, and more enhanced as individuals. This sense of personal satisfaction and hard won achievement may be impossible for the onlooker to see, if they have not themselves subjected themselves to a similar ordeal. We can, however, appreciate and applaud the courage, stamina and dedication that these amazing athletes exhibit and live.

1. In my mind, then, to train with an open agenda, allowing for a variety of of potential results and changes of directions, and for a richer and more satisfying experience, be more in tune with the true spirit of the Aiki I believe the Founder pursued in his studies, and the one I pursue as well. I am surely not close to where I originally envisioned going with my training. Yet, I can be content that I continually did my best, and accept what I now have with a deep sense of gratitude and joy. Others who feel the same way are my good and much valued peers, and even friends.

2. We can all acknowledge that one never plans to fail, but can unwittingly fail to plan. We need to be ever mindful of every opportunity to learn, to engage in meaningful experiences, and to follow each plan that we make to its fruition. Daily training requires discipline, rigid honesty of self introspection, and the unshakable will to do whatever it takes, for however long it will take. Only then, can we find true meaning in whatever task we accept, and true satisfaction in being meaningful in whatever activity we undertake through to its accomplishment.

3. Finally, we must always remember to be kind to ourselves, to have reasonable expectations and attainable daily goals, and to always remember to have fun in whatever we choose to participate in. The joy of accomplishing our goals cannot happen, if we fail to appreciate what an effort it takes, and to laugh and enjoy the process. We must not allow ourselves to get too optimistic, nor be overly dismayed by mistakes and misguided effort. We are simply grateful for the opportunity each day to do our best, and to learn from our worst. That is always worth a good laugh.
Francis Takahashi
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:51 pm

Re: Being meaningful, an aiki perspective, revisited

Postby Carina Rei » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:29 pm

Thank you very much Takahashi shihan for this thoughtful article.

I found Aikido very late in my life, but now I know, it was the right time, everything in life happens when it has to happen.
I am very grateful to my first teacher and peers for the great patience they had with me and also to my current teacher who has helped in my intense training for the shodan and then also to obtain the nidan. My goals now are to have health to keep training and enjoy every class as I do, with my classmates and friends and help the newbies to learn and enjoy meanwhile they train.
Although my teacher wants us getting ready for the next grade, I have it not clear whether I will examine again, the main reason is the economic and I think I can grow and enjoy without getting another degree, but my family is encouraging me to do so.
Ten years ago when I started, I never thought I would get this far.
Carina Rei
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:50 am
Location: Gran Canaria - Spain

Re: Being meaningful, an aiki perspective, revisited

Postby Carina Rei » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:14 am

Here some comments in my spanish blog

AikiGuille says:
Very interesting the reflection by Takahashi Shihan. I think it was Ueshiba who said "always practice with a pleasant feeling of joy," if I am wrong in the reference please correct me, and that must be our ultimate goal, to enjoy what we do, both in the days we do all well on the mat and in those when nothing works. I will never understand people who practice scowling.
A hug Carina.

Thank you very much Guillermo,
Me neither, one must enjoy learning in the dojo as well as outside of it, life is so short that it is better to take life as it comes, accept the bad and the good and try to make the best of it and learn the lessons, many thanks
a hug

Ricardo Amorim says:
Good night, Carina,
Very interesting and embracing this text by Takahashi Shihan: he talks about maintaining a sincere training, where everything will flow naturally from daily practice, through simplicity, "train with an open agenda, allowing a large range of possible outcomes and address changes; "be friendly and" be grateful for the opportunity to make every day the best you can give and learn from our worst. This is always worth a good laugh.. "
Very good teaching that conveys Shihan.
Thank you very much to you for share it and translate. Thanks very much to Takahashi Shihan.

Good night Ricardo ,
Thank you very much for your great analysis of the excellent text by Takahashi Shihan. It's true I always learn from his texts,
a hug

Puedes leer el artículo en español aquí

Bitte lese diesen Artikel hier auf Deutsch
Carina Rei
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:50 am
Location: Gran Canaria - Spain

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