“Thinking Large,” by Francis Takahashi

How “large” do you think?

It is said that “great people talk about ideas; ordinary people talk about things; small people talk about other people”. We get to “think” about whatever interests us long before we talk about them to others, or choose to act on such matters in a meaningful way. Question is, what do we choose to think about, most of the time. Why, and to what extent? What has to happen for us to seriously consider changing our closely held points of view or hard won beliefs from an earlier time?

Do we tend to think “exclusively” about matters of importance or great interest? By this I mean, do we automatically reject the consideration of ideas, suggestions or raw data that do not appear to support or validate our original points of view? Are we willing to be open and receptive to alternative points of view that appear legitimate and noteworthy, even when they may actually threaten the bases for such earlier notions, even perhaps causing us embarrassment of publicly reversing our earlier statements?

A quote from Henry Ford states, “whether you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are right.” What and how do you think about what’s possible?

Or do we think “inclusively”, constantly searching, and allowing for the continuous input of even more alternative notions to the original concepts we started with? Do we commit to remain open minded, and at least listen or take the time to investigate the possible merits of value of even radically differing points of view or perspective?

For myself, I run the gamut of all three categories of “great, ordinary and small”, although I do prefer to think more about what may be changed for the better, how such changes may be effectively achieved, the time frames and timing of such changes, and when I am willing to begin.

No doubt, the toughest part is simply getting started.

I then realize that such changes I envision won’t occur simply by my thinking about them. I need help. Lots of help. I need peers and friends who share similar thoughts, have similar dreams, and have chosen in their own time to do something meaningful about them. I have got to find and interact on a continuing basis with them, before my time, my energy, and my resources are no longer available. It’s got to be today, everyday.

It is my opinion that the Founder’s Aikido was painstakingly produced from decades of frequent and ongoing research into the limitless resources found in the Aiki Universe. He also benefited greatly from the fortunate relationships he forged with extraordinary visionaries, obtaining key support from the unlikeliest of sources, his unbounded reservoirs of energy and innermost inspirations, and from the innumerable and marvelous students and peers he encountered and established along his Way.

Yet, how much could he have actually accomplished if not for one other key phenomenon? The Founder’s unique method of thinking was not merely large, it was immense, it was unconditional, and it was lifelong in its application to those dreams closest to his heart. Doubtless, the very dimensions of his huge vision and thinking allowed him to accomplish as much as he did.

For those of us who credit the Founder and his Aikido for inspiration, example, and a proven system for continuing our own mission of creating and maintaining our own Aikido, how truly large should our thinking be about our aikido?

No, we do not need to emulate the heroic dimensions of the Founder’s thinking, even as we have no need to emulate his singular path and its directions. Yet, like the Founder, and the countless other geniuses who have made their mark throughout history, we do need to answer the question of how large we are willing to think, perhaps not at the beginning, but certainly long before we are through with our search.

It matters relatively little, if you actually remain “faithful” to one style, to one teacher, or to one system of study. It may not matter much either, if you augment your training with “cross training” in other martial art systems, philosophies of thinking, or engage in any trans dimensional exercises into the realm of the “paranormal” or the occult. The choice is strictly yours in terms of how extensive or focused you want your Aikido agenda to be.

Isn’t it true, that a half ton truck bed cannot contain as much as a 20 foot container? Or that a single hand may not hold as much as both of them working together? Is there any real doubt, that you will eventually succeed in the same proportion that the manner, scope and breadth of the way you choose to think, will allow you to achieve? Think as large as you can imagine. The Founder did, and his example is well worth following in that regard.

I am betting that your thinking just got a little bit larger!

Click here to find the original article on Aikido Academy USA



  2. Thank you for your thoughtful post Takahashi Sensei.The quote of Henry Ford is true and wise, to achieve anything we first must think and be sure that we are able to do it. There are so many examples of people we admire like O Sensei who have accomplished extraordinary things, they began with a dream, a large thought and the fulfillment. If we think we cannot we are closing a door, we never will be able to leave our box, we will never be able to fulfill anything. This is valid for aikido, any other martial art and our daily life. So start to think large, you can do anything you like just thinking and believing that you can.

    Please find the translation in spanish here
    and in german here

  3. Patrick Augé says:

    Very inspiring article!

    The question now: where do we start? How can we teach ourselves and our students to enlarge their thinking?

    We would like to read more about “ideas from great people” based on their own experiences, where they started, how they enlarged their thinking and managed challenges while still respecting the other frogs that never left the well.

    Patrick Augé

  4. Jose Arves Santos says:

    It would be difficult not to “think large” when you are seized by Aikido practice. In its own way, Aikido practice prevents misoneism because we allow ourselves to be. This topic is personally inspiring and timely. Thanks.

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