©™ 2003 - 2005: OWH International - Ueshiba Aikido : Victoria, Canada
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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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Mar 10, 2005

"The first task of the beginning Aikido student
should be to learn to see - to observe with an open mind..."

Mitsugi Saotome Shihan

This quote from Saotome Shihan echoes the words of Jesus: "you have eyes to see but do not see, you have ears to hear but do not hear...", though not in the same context. I am often reminded of this; to have a beginner's mind. It is easy to say "I know that" when a technique is shown during regular classes because techniques are repeated. True observation would go beyond what is seen, to the deeper meaning of the technique. O Sensei was famous for claiming, even on his death bed, that he was just a beginner. In his younger days, when asked to repeat an irimi technique exactly for reporters and photographers, O Sensei retorted that was impossible - "no two irimis are the same!" he said.

The moment a person says "I know that!" the brain shuts off, and learning stops. This is why it is obvious to the Sensei of the class who is progressing and who isn't. When the spirit of the Sensei's intent when showing the technique is captured, it clearly shows in the student. This is why I will always treasure watching my children growing. Between the ages of 1 to 7, each discovery is met with wonder and awe; and because that happens, life is magical and the child learns. Something happens the older a child gets. The "I know that" syndrome happens. But every day is new, and every situation is fresh. If climbing up a flight of stairs, a person thinks that the next step is the same as the last because it looks the same, the person will never reach the next level.

In harmony
Rafael Oei Sensei.
(© Copyright March 2005: Rafael Oei)

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