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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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May 30, 2008

"There is no competition in Aikido.
Practice is not a contest between adversaries,
but instead a harmonious partnership
for making progress and advancement."

Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikido Doshu's address, for the
46th All Japan Aikido Demonstration, Budokan, Japan

I had a most inspiring trip to Japan, visiting the World Aikido Headquarters with my Sensei, George Chang Shihan, and old and new friends from the Ueshiba Aikido Association, Singapore.  I was glad that I was, once again, able to make this trip.  This time, it was an honour to meet Doshu's son, Mitsuteru Ueshiba - Waka Sensei.  It was an honour, also, to have been allowed to participate in the All Japan Aikido Demonstration with my Sensei.  My heartfelt thanks to Doshu, my Sensei, Chang Shihan, and my partner, Serge Landry.

To maintain ties, and to show our support to the Ueshiba family and Aikikai Hombu Dojo, the home of Aikido, this trip is made every two years; a promise made and kept by my sensei, to the late Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba.  It is a tremendous responsibility carrying the name of "Ueshiba": permission given by the late Doshu to my sensei in a letter, and legally established in June of 1996.  It is my hope that this responsibility is realised and shared by you, too, as you practice Aikido in class, and in your daily life.

The trip re-assured, affirmed, and reinforced the approach I have taken in sharing Aikido with you.  Growth and maturity in the practice in Aikido is an inner journey, facilitated by the sincere practice of basic movement and technique.  While I had the opportunity to practice with a diverse group of people at Hombu Dojo, my experience was one of peace, harmony, and gentleness - although, make no mistake, the application of technique by each person I partnered with was effective and powerful.

How that translates to your practice is that you remember to perform the complete execution of irimi, tenkan, and tenshin, in the first place - drawing yourself beside, and sometimes behind, your partner; completing your movement by following through with both your legs positioned in the appropriate manner at the end of the movement.  When moving, remember to move as a single unit, bringing your body along, while extending your hands and fingers like a te-katana or hand-sword, extending your arms with energy, and not curling your hands into a semi-fist.

On the receiving end, the practice of Ukemi is reinforced, and the importance of performing good ukemi is your guarantee that you will not get hurt during your Aikido practice.  So, if you have trouble falling or rolling either on your left or right side, do not ignore it but work hard to improve that side.  If receiving a lock, pin, or throw is uncertain to you, slow down, and observe what the best way to follow through is.  Then practice until you have perfected receiving that lock, pin, or throw from your partner.  You will find your own technique improving, and your practice time during class getting more exciting.  Keep on pressing forward, slowly and steadily surmounting each challenge as you grow in your understanding of The Way.

As Doshu, in his address for the 46th All Japan Aikido Demonstration, reminds us: the practice of Aikido is a harmonious partnership that leads to our progress and development.  Practising in that manner will eventually influence your behaviour and attitude toward other things and areas in your life.  Thank you for your interest in and dedication to the practice of Aikido.

See you in the Dojo.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.
(© Copyright May 2008: Rafael Oei)

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