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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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April 01, 2015

"True Victory is Victory over Self... "

O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

In the movie "When the game stands tall", a war veteran with a prosthetic leg invited a high school football student to pace him on the treadmill. After an extended period of time running at an accelerated rate, the high school student finally gives up, expressing how fit he thought the veteran was, even with one leg. The veteran replied that all he did was persevere a little more than the student. He did not compare or deride the younger and fitter student for being weaker than him. The veteran only highlighted the fact that the challenge was within himself, to push himself to stay on the treadmill just a little longer than the student.

We are all faced with choices at every moment of life. The natural tendency is toward one's own comfort and convenience. Nothing wrong with that. Most of us expect to be treated well, demanding the best products, and the best service, yet living by: "respect has to be earned, before it is given." And what of seeing it from the perspective of the person who is expected to deliver that service or product to us? The subject of "fairness" and being "deserving" may also arise.

The word "deserve" was originally from French and Latin words that meant to loyally and zealously serve unconditionally. Eventually, "deserve" evolved into including the condition of being worthy, earning, and being entitled to be served well. However, in the spirit of service, respect, and sometimes compassion, worthiness becomes immaterial if the service is performed sincerely, unconditionally, and from the heart. Out of consideration for others, there is also something to be said about delayed gratification.

Along similar lines of "going beyond oneself", on a higher plane: during each Easter season, Christians recall and reflect on events that led up to Easter Sunday. How, in setting an example, one person went beyond his own comfort, needs, and wants to serve; kneeling, stripped to his waist like a slave, and washing his disciples' feet one by one, even though he was revered to be a master and a teacher. Through self-sacrifice, there was no thought of whether his disciples were worthy of being served. Then came the surrendering of "not my will, but yours be done" to allow himself to be brutally tortured and executed as a criminal.

"Not my will, but yours".

Persevering to take "one more step..."

Often it is "what I want" that takes precedence above all else. Being sensitive to the other, however, is essential practice in striving to assimilate the philosophy and practice of "aiki". The qualities and attitude when practising aikido benefits from not thinking of overcoming one's partner with aggression, brute force, and power. From insisting on "doing what I want" to "let's see how this can be resolved"...

Instead of rushing to complete a technique, concentrate and focus within yourself to find ways to achieve a better flow with your partner's energy, better composure, better balance, better footwork, better posture, better extension, better grip when applying the locks, better recall of names, techniques and dojo etiquette, and perhaps a more patient, respectful, disciplined, and peaceful demeanour. Taking that "one more step" to persevere into understanding and proficiency.

"True victory is victory over self..."

Have a most blessed and meaningful Easter long weekend.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.

(© Copyright April 2015: Rafael Oei)

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