©™ 2003 - 2009: OWH Industries - Ueshiba Aikido : Victoria, Canada
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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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Feb 24, 2009

"Progress comes to those who train and train;
reliance on secret techniques will get you nowhere"

Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei

Allow me to clarify when I encourage students not to practice at home.  It is with safety in mind that I remind students not to practice ON anyone at home or in school.  Especially after introducing Jo, Tachi, or Tanto Dori techniques (taking those weapons away from the opponent) I remind the younger students not to practice those techniques at home.  I would caution them against taking a kitchen knife and asking mum or dad to attack just so they can show them what they learnt in class that week.  Similarly, unless a student has an empty room, or a home dojo, I remind them not to practice their rolls at home, in the house.

I DO, however, encourage students to constantly practice all their techniques and suburis on their own.  Whenever they can spare the time during the week, between Aikido classes; when walking, when alone, or when taking a break from studying.  I used to visualise and practice techniques, and the weapon suburis (exercises) with a ruler, pencil, or just my hands, while performing four-hour on-air shifts during my years in radio.  We present alone in a one-man operated broadcast studio in Singapore - so, especially when I was with our classical music station with the music averaging 15 minutes long, and when Mahler was being played, I had more than an hour to meditate with.

Denis Waitley (author, speaker, and coach to astronauts and Olympic athletes) is a proponent of visualisation.  During a workshop for students and lecturers, when I was an academic, he brought us through visioning techniques for excellence and how to coach our students for examination success.  The success of visualisation has been proven for years.  If you can see it, you will eventually be able to do it.  So visualise yourself performing the techniques.  Review what you did in class when winding down for the day.  This is especially helpful for students.  Always review what was covered in school at the end of the day, before going to bed.  There is no one to depend on or blame outside yourself if personal practice is not done.  There is no need for a sparring partner.  It is an internal process.

This process in Aikido, and how it engages both sides of the brain and the entire body, is possibly why it is listed as one possible solution to help the challenged, including ADD.  Just like learning to play the piano, engaging both sides of the brain, firing synapses to make new connections that would otherwise not be made.  The secret to progressing is to keep on practising; to keep on training.  We now know that the brain continues to manufacture cells throughout one's life, as long as there is a reason to make those new connections.  HOWEVER, Aikido is not magic.  Being enrolled in classes, or being forced into it will not benefit anyone.  The student has to be committed to fully participate and be determined to want take instruction to practice the art, to benefit.

How a technique is performed reveals who you are.  On the other hand, how sincerely a technique is practised moulds the practitioner.  At the deepest level, it is possible to practice Aikido all the time.  It is who you are when no one is looking.  I am still practising.  I hope you are too.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.
(© Copyright February 2009: Rafael Oei)

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