it just occured to me today that most of my martial arts related pictures on Facebook involve me getting beat up or thrown. LOL. it has very little of me doing any of the beating up or throwing. hmm, i wonder whether those people who have never seen me actually train wonder whether i've been just training to be a crash test dummy or something. hehe.
the Easter weekend just gone was pretty cool. got to train with Bill Gleason sensei again, and this time around, was used an uke a lot more than last year. learnt lots--so much that i have no time at all to write it all down... i'll get there eventually. i'm also fairly certain that most of the seminar was recorded on video, so i'm hoping to get a copy and perhaps upload the bits and pieces where i was uke, to have a look at how my ukemi has been developing (or not!).
we had a guest sensei from Japan teaching a seminar on the past weekend, and i wasted the first 3 hours of my training wrestling with my ego. i noticed myself nitpicking the sensei's demonstrations--how the techniques had various vulnerabilities for counter-attacks, the flamboyance of the movements, and the unnecessary focus on minute details.
not only that, i was annoyed with some of the other participants; some higher-ranking aikidoka who were doing their own techniques, and lower-ranking students trying to teach others--including me, how to do techniques [wrongly]. one student in particular, pissed me right off by being stiff as a plank, and trying to be 'resistant' and not reacting to my atemis at all.. i eventually shamed myself by yanking him into submission whilst doing an irimi nage... gahh~!
whilst all this was happening, i could see with my mind's eye how i was just bloody wasting my precious day away. i could hear part of myself pleading to just get on with it, to 'empty my cup', and take the opportunity to train and learn, and train and learn. but did my ego back down? not without a fight. jezz~ with all those talk on the aikiweb forums about internal power, oh yea--i think i've got plenty. my ego was completely rooted to the ground, and able to knock me down without moving a hair's breadth.
somehow over the lunch break, i managed to calm my ego down a bit. for the rest of the seminar, i was doing relatively okay, and eventually last night when the guest teacher returned to take our regular class, my mind was completely clear. i was happy, and bubbly, and--free. somehow my cup was emptied when i did not realise it, and i was just training again with 'no mind'. it was joyous. i don't know how i got there, but i hope i can maintain this mind as much as possible.
this encounter was by no means my first, or my last. i deal with this everytime i train with new/different people on the mat--and also in my professional (and i suppose personal) life. my arrogance and pride follows me everywhere, holds me back, and keeps me small. i acknowledge its place and role, but it is disproportionately powerful. hopefully this public confession can be another positive step towards a harmonious resolution with my greatest opponent--me.
i shared a realisation with cP the other day that i feel that my 'power' as a therapist, purely and completely comes from my client, whom gives me the power to 'help' them. and all i do, sometimes unbeknownst to them, is to simply return this power to them. and this is what makes me powerful.
i have a strong niggling feeling inside me that i am a hair's breadth away from connecting this realisation with my budo work. i can see the superficial mechanics of this in my aikido and systema, but something is just slightly off. there is still something missing. my martial journey, at least in regards to this component, is not as developed as my therapuetic one.
just a self-reminder about what i'm planning to teach during the aikido classes that i take this year, continuing from my last post on this a few months ago:
uke and ukemi; expanding on the concept and role of uke and ukemi
atari and musubi
zanshin, mushin and takemusu aiki
irimi and tenkan; omote and ura
working in an enclosed space
training with eyes closed / blindfolded
feeling / being hit
using regular weapons, e.g. beer bottles, short sticks
tanto vs tanto
tanto vs taijutsu (ala Tomiki/Shodokan)
jo vs bokken
hmm.. okay.. obviously still lots that i haven't done yet. weird how i always feel like i've run out of things to cover, but when i look at this, i just realise the speck of dust that i've barely disturbed. looking at this list now, i can probably combine a few of these together depending on who attends class that night.
wow. 2012 has just zipped by, and we're almost through the second month of 2013 already. march is looking up to be a very busy month for me. plenty of training seminars for my day job, two Aikido weekend seminars, and one Systema seminar. i'm really excited--and i really hope i don't break my body doing all that...
april on the other hand would be a complete yin to the yang of march. i've booked in to a 10-day silent meditation program. that's gonna be super full-on for the mind whilst my body has a bit of a rest. let's see how we go shall we?
excerpts from the Book of Chuang Tzu, Chapter 31 [an old fisherman lecturing Confucius]
The stranger looked distressed, then his expression changed and he said, 'It is very difficul, Sir, to make you understand! There was once a man who was frightened by his own shadow and scared of his own footprints, so he tried to escape them by running away. But every time he lifted his foot and brought it down, he made more footprints, and no matter how fast he ran, his shadow never left him. Thinking he was running too slowly, he ran faster, never ceasing until finally he exhausted himself and collapsed and died. He had no idea that by simply sitting in the shade he would have lost his shadow, nor that by resting quietly he would cases making footprints. He really was a great fool!
'You, Sir, try to distinguish the spheres of benevolence and righteousness, to explore the boundaries between agreement and disagreement, to study changes between rest and movement, to pontificate on giving and receiving, to order what is to be approved of and what disapproved of, to unify the limits of joy and anger, and yet you have barely escaped calamity. If you were to be serious in your cultivation of your own self, careful to guard the truth and willing to allow others to be as they are, then you could have avoided such problems. However, here you are, unable to cultivate yourself yet determined to improve others. Are you not obsessed with external things?'