image of leaf on reflecting water thanks to pdphoto.org

Reflections

Aikido is an art that may be philosophical and spiritual as much as physical and many aikidoka continually reflect on their learning and their paths, find new insights, and revise views and feelings or ways as they progress. Practice offers endless opportunities for exploration of the self, the way we respond and interact, chances to develop and to extend principles of aikido beyond the mat.

Here is a sample of reflections of members of the club, intended to provoke discussion or your thoughts.

Read them in full and many more such as | Receiving technique |  Vibrant and joyful |  Enjoy the journey |  Missing practice |  Seeking understanding |  Perfection |  Increasing, endlessly increasing |  Chaucer did aikido? |  Internal demons |  Straw dogs |  Is it self-defence? |  Do less |  Be soft


The Culture of Fear and what we can do

I believe that something has happened over the last thirty years in Aikido that reflects the macrocosm of the society we live in. We have been imbued with a default setting of 'be scared' in our day to day life. Thoughts are focussed on protecting what we might lose or, if not preventing bad experiences, then making sure we can afford them or even profit by them!
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Bob Sherrington

Journeys available through practice

Generally we come to the martial arts because we are in fear and/or we want to play out overcoming our fears in the way that we did when we played Cowboys and Indians in the playground. On coming into contact with a martial art we have become impressed by the forms used and the people who perform them and we want to be able to do the same. We think this will make us feel more powerful and less scared of the shadowy figures in our imagination.
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Bob Sherrington

The powers we use in the execution of a technique

It is, I feel, important to reflect on what we do on the mat. Not too much at the time as the mat is more for doing and experiencing rather than analysing or criticizing. These few words represent some thoughts I have on the powers that we use on the mat during the execution of technique. The piece is not meant to be a criticism of anyone's style of practice, more an observation of how we may develop our practice to come more and more in line with a philosophy found in Aikido that is often written and spoken about but sometimes difficult to connect with our experience in the practice.
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Bob Sherrington

Projection

image of flower

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Changing Tides

The more I practise Aikido the more I notice how fluidity of mind and body becomes more important. While principles remain, their application changes depending on uke's intent, strength, body shape, etc. This is well understood while training, however I also notice how application changes as I get more experienced and concepts of principles develop, and/or in some cases merge.

Sometimes I find myself asking, "but that's how I did it last week!". That may be so and it may be so again next week — however, Aikido, way of harmony, is about blending and connecting to what is happening at that moment, not how it was or will be. This is difficult as Aikido cannot be "mechanical" by nature, or if it is, its application is limited.

For me, it is this "changing tide" and rethinking that keeps me coming back to train each week.

Andrew Viccars

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Roses all the way

Expecting any path to be roses all the way is fantasy land. In any undertaking, there will be issues, problems, difficulties, doubts — whatever you want to call them — to overcome. They are part of the journey, the exploration. They are opportunities to look at things differently, make changes in approach or attitude or view. They are an integral part of learning and of an activity that has demands and rewards. How much do we really value something that has come without effort? How much does output equal input?

Geri Coop

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