©™ 2003 - 2005: OWH International - Ueshiba Aikido : Victoria, Canada
All Rights Reserved
Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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November 18, 2005

"Blame and be lame."

Rafael Oei Sensei
Jr Warriors' Camp & Aikido Warriors' Camp
Aug 2005

It is easy to blame others for our situation or misfortunes. The first reaction is "I have done everything that I was supposed to, so it's not my fault." Or, "This is a situation I can't control, they have the control, it's their fault."

Blaming the more fortunate and the successful for the situation of the less fortunate and the unsuccessful is unconstructive and unproductive. The problem with abdicating on responsibility is in its inactivity. Nothing is learned and nothing is resolved. Apart from that, if you think about it, nobody enjoys being in the company of a "blamer". The amount of negativity generated by the person is toxic. To an observer, a person who constantly blames only reveals the type of person he or she is. It is most detrimental during job interviews: especially if the candidate complains about the current or past employer to the prospective employers.

In the dojo, taking responsibility for one's actions is part of developing good Ukemi. Although it seems like a harsh statement, my sensei often said that if Uke gets hurt, it is often Uke's fault - placing the responsibility back onto the student.

Practising the art of Ukemi is essential in preserving the safety of the Aikidoist in the dojo, and in self-defence. The student develops agility and alertness while practising good Ukemi. In time, the student's instinct will be enhanced, similar to a sixth-sense.

Part of being a good Uke is bearing responsibility for one's performance and behaviour in the dojo at all times. Training in Aikido technique includes being alert, observant, responsible, accountable, attentive, considerate and well-mannered. While both Tori (the one performing the technique) and Uke are considerate and alert during the practice and application of a technique, it rests on Uke to receive the technique gracefully, flowing with Tori's response in an appropriate manner. Should contact be made, it is easy for either to lay blame on the other for being careless or for not being alert. Personal accountability and responsibility would, however, direct the student to reflect on the incident for its lesson, and for a solution to improve one's own performance rather than that of the other. That is when growth occurs.

Success and failure, ability and inability to perform lies not in the inefficacy of the technique nor on the other person. In the same vein, the beauty of a day does not depend on the weather. How I perform, how I perceive the world, and how I succeed depends on me. To blame is to be lame.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.
(© Copyright November 2005: Rafael Oei)

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