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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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June 9, 2016

"Aikido, the Art of Peace."

Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei

I am not sure if I have shared this with you before, but it has been occupying my thoughts lately. My sensei once shared an experience that he had with his sensei back in the 1960s when Japanese sensei were deployed around the world to establish Aikido classes. Whenever I reflect on this memory, I wonder how much of that lesson would be lost today.

As is the practice, and as published on the back of the Attendance Kyu Card; students are encouraged to prepare themselves for each class by observing a certain amount of silence. Walking on the mats and running around the dojo are discouraged, as well as eating, drinking, or lounging around. It seems a strange thing to observe before a martial arts or self-defence class.

On that occasion in Singapore back in the 1960s, in the dojo my sensei began his Aikido life in, students were waiting and gathered as they would after work or after school, standing around the dojo and mats relaxing, talking, chatting, catching up on friends ... etc... as you can imagine; relaxed, cheerful, happy, and looking forward to another hour or so of Aikido practice. This went on up until the time class was to begin. It may have become unusually relaxed and loud on this occasion because the sensei walked in, looked at everyone, walked out, changed out of his dogi, and went home.

If that were to happen today, I can imagine some very unhappy students, and demands for refunds. Maybe some would lodge complaints, so the sensei would never teach again; posting scathing reviews on whatever social media there is. If that were to happen today.

At the time, for the few including my sensei as he shared it with us, it was a valuable lesson... a lesson that was clearly and loudly delivered within those seconds. The lesson for the class on that day was taught and delivered.

With gratitude, peace, and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei

(© Copyright June 2016: Rafael Oei)

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