If we are to believe some experts everything is the result of random accidents and not order. This of course fails to explain too many things. All biased views do.
Evolution is a long series of trial and error events, each with a learning curve or more attached. These potentials, unless activated and unlocked, will atrophy and die, never to be explored, never to have been given life.
It follows that any training will be similar in principle. Activate the latent or lose it.
The building of neural pathways requires necessity. In training we manufacture necessity in order to get practice at resolving it. This evokes the activity of the creative principle of Nature and The Universe to unlock creation from the subatomic levels, which then converges as intention or will; or as we say: ki. The more advanced being: aiki – skill or harmony in action.
Movement is a natural part of life. Lack of movement is a natural part of death.
There are individuals around who think that merely by thinking or watching movies they can still achieve the same results. But this is delusion. Or that by trying something only once, or twice, they can evaluate their potential as being somehow “different” from that of anyone else. Such outlooks lead to sad, self defeating outcomes where immense talent is wasted, thrown away and a gift disparaged.
How people can arrive at such conclusions is difficult to comprehend since the trail they leave proves them to be in error.
If you can walk or talk, you can do anything else that anyone else who can walk or talk can do, similarly or just as well. This has been tested and proven by those who did take up an active and regular programme of personal change, exercise or budo.
The question is not whether you can or not, but rather whether you are prepared to go through what it takes to do so!
Only those who do will get there.
Meeting stress frontally and fearlessly is good for you. It is what budo is all about. Modulated regular instalments of it even better and the secret of personal transformation.
Aikido takes it a step further, insisting on converting discord into harmony now rather than letting the eventual attrition of nature do so later, after long periods of time where things must inevitably fall into place. Such is the work of the spiritual warrior.
Persistence over time, regular instalments doing and noticing, paying attention to the nuances of your own actions and their consequences is another secret behind all success. We are all born talented, but if we fail to use our talents we will lose them. Lack of exercise of any faculty will see it atrophy and die. As potentials, these lay dormant, ready and willing to be revived, vivified and unleashed into existence.
Experiments reveal that thinking about a skill does in fact add to skill and that only doing does not attain the best results. It may appear remarkable but it has been shown that just thinking almost approximates the results of just doing without thought and attentiveness. Doing both, contemplating and doing gets the best results and in the course of time leads to various progressions of mastery. On any journey there must be an investment of both mind and body for best results to be obtained.
The body-mind connection can be exercised and it must be. Otherwise you begin to die very slowly but definitely in more ways than one.
Basically there are three aspects to full practice or keiko:
1. Mitori geiko – Learning by watching the keiko of others and evaluating the strong and weak points of their example.
Receiving with the eyes the technique of an advanced practitioner, usually Budo, but can apply to any skill.
2. Kufu geiko – Mental visualization and keeping in mind the details of the technique through contemplation.
3. Kazu geiko – Regular attentive repetition as personified in the discipline of practicing the art.
All three are essential attributes of training.
Watching an activity which you also have an active interest in regularly practicing, activates the neuromuscular pathways involved, reinforces functional skill, strengthens the visual and sensory portions of the brain and nervous system associated with the practice.
Visualizing or mind training augments the active practice exponentially.
Doing leads skill to completion. Regular and mindful repetition of the action, spaced, in manageable instalments over time, combined with the above, is proven to multiply ability. These together are the Do, Way or Path.
Use it or lose it, is nature’s way.
In Aikido, before fully free flowing natural movement can become possible as preconditioned Mushin responses, the basis has to be established through trial and error repetition learning and refining basic kihon waza through the processes of Shu, Ha, Ri. Only then may we arrive at a stage of Takemusu Aiki having established the relevant neural pathways which enable spontaneous, living flow that is in any way meaningful, precise and correct. In budo this must be achieved in the midst of adversity. The litmus test. Otherwise it is not budo.
True budo is a scientific process of trial and error for a questioning mind refining skill. It gives rise to a vast array of awareness and adaptive possibilities and when awakened, defines humans as beings capable of navigation in the Universe.
What you practice regularly you get good at. Practicing success is the better option. Before you can discern between success and failure in combat, it is essential that you experience both in a non-lethal manner thereby being enabled to gain from the experience.
The choice to avoid is a practice too. One that over time leads to paralysed and disabled states. Not a wise goal.
On Earth we don’t live in a vacuum. Time, gravity and opposites interplay constantly.
The mastery of time, gravity and opposites are key components of Aikido’s inner understanding.
Play with these. Dance with them. Explore them. Notice them on a moment to moment basis..
Not just on the mat, but at all times.
What you practice you get good at.
“Movement is life, stagnation is death.”
John C. Grimek 1910 – 1998
Now an e-book:
by Nev Sagiba
The ability to adjust seamlessly between techniques defines mastery. In most cases, this essential attribute of Aikido has been either ignored or guessed at. This book not only reveals the innate simplicity behind the apparent complexity of Aikido Transitions and Counters, but it provides a full spectrum of possibilities for practicing. Here it is, simplified in drills of two techniques. When you can do these drills easily, you will be able to effect spontaneous responses to any attack. If you know your basic techniques this book is recommended and will enrich your Aikido. FOUR DIAMONDS 1024, provides complete sets of exercise drill guidelines to enable exploration of the available range of basic transitions and counters and unlock their potentials.