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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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Sep 8, 2008

"Your Point of Power is in the Present Moment."

Louise L. Hay

Every Summer, I look forward to the Aikido Warriors' Camp.  We take a week to explore various aspects of Aikido.  While the programme remains essentially the same, every camp turns out differently, and everyone ends up having an enjoyable, yet rewarding, week of Aikido practice.

One of the things that students are led into focusing on is how elusive the Present Moment is.  The example I frequently use is uttering the word "NOW".  The irony in the meaning of that word and in saying it out loud is instantly, it is in the past.  There is no way to grasp it.  Even prolonging the word ("Nooowwwww...") serves to reinforce that once said, it is gone.

Yet, as Louise Hay says, the point of your power IS in the Present Moment, and what you do in that moment makes you powerful (or not...).  How can each present moment be energised with life-transforming reinforcement when it is constantly passing us by?

The repetitive practice that occurs in each Aikido class helps to develop an instinctive response to various attacks that may be hurled at us.  While at the lower grades, each technique is performed at a slower pace, this prepares the student to eventually deal with multiple attackers, during Jiyu-waza or Randori, at the higher grade levels.  What happens in those split-second moments, after all the years and months of practice, is a process that can be harnessed for daily life.  During these fast-paced exercises, the student has to focus on the present moment, not in the future (anticipation) nor in the past (now a dream), to avoid being struck or pinned.

During the camps, I introduce some essential qualities to consciously observe that increases the value of each moment; in the decisions that we make, and in choosing the right-action to lead us to achieve the outcomes we want in our life.  These same attributes transforms potentially lethal and aggressive techniques into movements that can be controlled, to produce the desired result.

The acronym I use is AIR, also an essential part of our lives.

In each decision and action, be Accountable, be a person of Integrity, and be Responsible.  The word "Integrity" itself implies being an integrated person: whole, aligned, and in harmony and at peace with oneself.  It is more than just being sincere.  It is being in alignment with everything you want yourself to stand for.  An integrated person generates strong KI, because of "presence of mind".  Living and functioning this way makes each moment precious and energising.  You will be a person of your word.

For the children, one of the examples I give is in their promise they would take out the trash when asked.  They have to be accountable to the "Yes" that has been said to the parent.  They would then have to be sincere and complete the task.  While throwing the trash, the responsibility in completing the task includes doing it well: ensuring that the trash bag is securely tied, that the lid is securely placed back onto the trash bin, that the trash area is neat and tidy, and that everything is placed back in order before returning back into the house.

I remind the students that if A.I.R. is practised daily, they would always do things thoroughly and leave a place better than they found it.  All it takes is asking if I have been accountable, exercised integrity, and am responsible, at every moment.  This is one way to be powerful in the present moment.

See you in the Dojo.

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

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