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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Early on in my study of aikido, I had the opportunity to study with an aikikai school in Montreal. I found the two years a good experience but was left disappointed in that I did not feel like I was connecting with the subject matter per se. I’m not sure if it was the school or me. At the time, I was convinced it was the school. But reflecting on those moments, I’m sure it was more the lack of fit between my own journey and the school’s approach to teaching.

And so I spent the following years researching and reading – turning my practice into a study of philosophy rather than one of pins and rolls. It was in that period that I read Steven’s the philosophy of aikido.

In those pages I’ve found the most inspirational and insightful quote to impact my life: masakatsu agatsu, katsu ayami … True victory is self victory.

Stevens states that this was the answer O Sensei quoted every time he was asked the purpose of aikido. At first, I found the answer a bit simplistic, but as I’ve studied over the years, and read other texts, references and books of wisdom, I’ve found myself coming back to this quote, and finding it more profound and deep.

Today, it is felt in my body, and not understood in the intellectual sense. It resonates with the moments when I am fully present and when I am fully aware. As I take my practice forward, I find myself focusing more and more on these few words, and continue to better appreciate what O Sensei implied in his response.

A perfect example of simple, but not easy.

To close today, another wise person also expressed what I believe was the same essence when he stated:

… a person knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow, then he has done something real for the world. he has succeeded in removing an infinitesimal part of the unsolved gigantic problems of our day …

~ C.J. Jung

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If you don’t understand it without an explanation, you can’t understand it with an explanation.
— Haruki Murakami

I’ve spent the fast few days feeling my way through moments and events, rather than my typical rationalization and excessive intellectual analysis. The mat has taught me that I “think about it too much” – which I’ve come to equate to a lack of trust on my senses and the engagement with the present that comes with opening to fully observing. My words for this state I’ve called aimless awareness.

I can’t explain aimless awareness, I’ve just come to trust it. And with that trust comes the somewhat surprising and profound (for me) realization that I don’t need explanations for everything. I just need to experience and be completely present in the absolute present.

To close, enjoy the following quote which further reiterates the point above.

… our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge …

~ Andre Lorde