©™ 2003 - 2013: Ueshiba Aikido : Victoria, Canada
All Rights Reserved
Photo by Martin Feeney

Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
< Click here for the Articles Page
October 11, 2013



A key component in conducting a good interview is listening: with your ears, eyes and heart. Regardless of how many questions have been prepared, when the microphone is switched on and you begin with your first question... listen. From the answers/responses, your next question will form in your mind if you are consciously listening and reading the non-verbal cues. That next question may not be listed in your notes, but it may open the door to more fascinating insights. Thereafter use your list of questions to guide rather than dictate. This was part of "Interview Techniques" that I taught my radio students and radio presenters. The principle is also relevant in daily life, so I occasionally refer to its principles in Aikido classes. To engage in good conversation, or to break the ice at parties, ask a question or make an observation and then just listen; and participate.

Being attentive and sensitive to verbal and non-verbal cues while "listening" are important in Aikido too. Being present and attentive when confronted with a potentially explosive situation and responding consciously to whatever comes next. Sometimes it is a challenge to be consciously and calmly present to the situation when distracted by pre-conceived notions, perspectives, being bombarded by personal and external opinions, concern over potential outcomes, and by being offended and wanting to fight back.

I am not saying that one should not have opinions, a value/belief system, or to be unresponsive, dismissive, or passive when a constructive response is necessary. It is in having the self-control and ability to receive and respond to any given situation as it is, and leading or guiding it to a reasonable, if not positive, resolution; without prejudice. We try to develop this everytime we practice in the Dojo. We are not only refining ourselves, but we are learning to refine our behaviour, attention, interaction and responses to our partner(s)... the "other", in a peaceful, respectful and harmonious manner.

A useful tool to develop sensitivity in being present to oneself and others in daily life is: at the beginning of the day (the best time is pre-dawn), as you wake up, spend some quiet time to listen and reflect on what needs to be accomplished for that day. Then while tending to your responsibilities, spend the rest of the day "listening" to see where the day takes you, while being consciously responsive and being detached to the outcomes that are beyond your control. At the end of the day, spend some time reflecting on the events of the day while feeling appreciation for everything that went well: both by your own design and by "co-incidence". To many, this little practice may seem familiar, perhaps originating in your own life from a religious, spiritual or secular practice. To some this may be the first time you are receiving this suggestion. Personally, I have always found it useful when re-aligning myself daily, and throughout the day. Hope you don't mind me sharing it with you.

Thank you for "listening".

Have a most excellent long weekend and a meaningful Thanksgiving!

See you in the Dojo.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.

(© Copyright October 2013: Rafael Oei)

Click here for the Ueshiba Aikido Victoria website

< Click here for the Articles Page

©™ 2003 - 2013: Ueshiba Aikido : All Rights Reserved