People take martial arts for a few reasons: to learn to defend themselves, to get exercise and get stronger and more flexible, to learn to fight (different than defending), or even to become a “warrior”!
I started martial arts when I was about 10 years old because I loved watching Kung Fu movies and I wanted to do the things that I saw Bruce Lee did on the big screen. I continued in a number of different arts up through my mid-twenties. For a long time, I didn’t practice martial arts. I started Aikido when I was 44 years old along with my then 14 year-old daughter. I was attracted to the ability to throw people around like ragdolls and the acrobatic high falls! Yes, I can throw people around now and I can take a lot of those acrobatic high falls too. However, that’s not why I continue to train in Aikido.
Morihei Ueshiba (a.k.a. O’Sensei), Founder of Aikido says:
The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter. –The Art of Peace
This is why I train in Aikido! I’m not training just to learn and do techniques better or best others in performing techniques. I’m training to realize O’Sensei’s vision for the Art of Peace. To me, O’Sensei is saying that the training and “manifest[ing] [my] innate enlightenment” or “unfolding of [my] true-self”makes it possible to apply Aiki to my everyday life and create a world of peace and harmony.
Essentially, I think O’Sensei is saying: we, as human beings, are much “bigger” than our small, petty, selfish view of ourselves and of other human beings.
I find that in my practice of Aikido that, most of the time, it is my own perception of whether or not I can perform a technique that stops me from doing so. And, the more I can put aside these views, the more I can improve my techniques.
This is nothing revolutionary as most athletes have the same kind of experiences as these in their own practice. However, this is just the necessary step to “realize your [my] inner divinity.”
When I am fully present and put aside my views and I practice with being the possibility of peace and harmony, I experience the full flow of peace and harmony, I am peace and harmony in the flow of the technique! I have a sense that I am a part of the whole flow and not someone outside that flow trying to throw my partner.
While training inside of O’Sensei’s vision for Aikido, I discover I can create and be any possibility at anytime. I can be the possibility of being connected and related. I can be the possibility of being love and powerful! I can practice being these and expressing them on the mat and off the mat!
So, instead of being my nervous small identity when I lead a seminar or teach a class, I create myself as the possibility of being compassionate powerful leadership and then my self-expression is that! Now, this is not to say that you create these possibilities on top of your small views of yourself or of others. That would be like putting icing on a mud pie and calling it chocolate cake! Remember, being able to put aside your views is a necessary and a must step to be able to start to express the possibility you are!
Have a Great Day!
Leadership, Executive and Life Coach – San Jose, CA – San Francisco Bay Area
If you would like to chat with me about how I can help you move forward in your leadership and life, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.