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Oct 8, 2014
"To practice properly the Art of Peace, you must:
Calm the spirit and return to the source.
Be ever grateful for the gifts received from the universe, your family,
Mother nature, and your fellow human beings. "
Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei
Reflecting over 10 years of Aikido here in Victoria, I am thankful for all the families my family and I have met and gotten to know. You have enriched our lives. We appreciate the time you have allowed us to share with you through the practice of Aikido.
It isn't always easy to step back to see where one is in life or how far the journey has taken us. I am reminded of the traveller lost in the woods, surrounded by towering trees and overgrown bushes and lamenting being lost, not knowing how to proceed on... with a highway just over the next ridge... or the fable of the frog who is at the bottom of the well, only seeing the little bit of blue sky that is above...
Many students have come and gone feeling they were not making progress in Aikido. However, I continue to encourage students to be mindful of the little "easy" things that are practiced daily. Trust that being attentive to little details contribute to a larger whole. Even at 5th Dan, I am constantly checking that I am sitting properly, behaving appropriately, and ensuring that my technique is sound. Attaining a higher level does not allow one to be more relaxed. If anything, more is expected.
It is easy to dismiss Ikkyo, Irimi Nage and Shihonage with "I know that already..."
Being grounded in these basic techniques will take you far and further at the higher levels.
In any case in an actual fight, the simplest and quickest techniques will automatically kick into gear. There will be no time to be fancy. Either the attackers will be on the ground, or you will. A hundredth of a second gives you no time to think.
Returning to the source requires first a quiet mind, one of the things we strive to obtain during warm-up. Breathe deeply and consciously.
Practicing Aikido requires being in harmony with oneself and patient with challenging techniques. It isn't a race or a competition to see who gets to the next level fastest. My concern is that students are able to perform each technique to the best of their ability, to know they are able to take care of themselves when necessary. I am patient with each student's progress because everyone progresses at a different rate. So the gift to yourself should be to be patient with yourself too.
Gratitude is essential: especially with little victories. I am not saying "celebrate mediocrity" but to recognise and honour sincere (in intention) and honest (full participation along with the required energy spent) effort. A spirit of gratitude, respect, and honour
keeps one in constant check. It resonates outwards and draws more love because the vibrations that emit is one of genuine care. As you have so often heard, when one is faithful with little things, more will be added and given.
I wish you a blessed weekend with your family and loved ones.
Thank you for sharing your time, interest, and dedication.
Have a most meaningful Thanksgiving!
peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.
Copyright October 2014: Rafael Oei)
PS: There are no Saturday classes on 11 October, over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
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