Jul
01

“Tell me about Aikido” by Rick Berry

“There are 168 hours in a week, and if you trade 40 of them to a corporation, they will give you enough compensation to support 128 hours for your personal interests and pleasure.”

A potential student called me some years ago to inquire about Aikido. I asked what he was looking for. His question was “What is Aikido? Tell me something about it because I think I want to try it.” I hesitated as I usually do when asked to describe one of my passions. Telling someone how I feel does not give them the experience. It’s like a salesman selling a bike to someone who has never seen one before. After watching others riding, one wants to enjoy the pastime also. But the first several attempts will end in failure and the purchaser will want his money back, not realizing that much effort is required in the beginning. Balance must be regained.

But getting back to Aikido – I give the first lesson freely. I don’t tell him that he seeks change as that may drive him away. I ask him to come in to see a class for himself. Only then can I explain how this art may help him achieve his goals. I’ve given him an open secret- all accomplishment begins with that first step, be it a goal or a journey.

My thinking goes like this: In order to effect change in your life, you must take a step (an action). That first step means you are willing to change but it usually slows to a trickle after experiencing difficulty, when you seem not to progress very much and come to a stop (non-action). The obstacle blocking your progress is usually not physical but mental. The dojo is not a gym, it is the “way-place” or the “place of change”, but most who come to me for change cannot or will not change their way of thinking.

Some students stay around for quite a while. Most simply quit after a few months, some after a few weeks. I can understand why they leave even though they may not; the known is more comfortable than the unknown even though it may resemble a sinking ship. They cannot see that change “must” take place or, they are afraid to make that change. They do not realize that change is all there is; it is life itself. And, if you swim upstream against the current of a strong river, you will still be carried downstream. My suggestion is to turn and swim downstream, letting the current carry you and glide toward whichever bank you wish to reach. That word “river” is a metaphor for “life.” It never stops flowing onward, carrying you with it whether you wish it or not.

So, for humans, the idea of “no change” does not exist. I have said many times, “simply change the way you think and what you think about will change.” Or no thinking. Go beyond thinking. Simply BE! Your vibrational rate will change. It will rise and the positive repercussions will be smooth and flowing. Positive vibrations create ripples which can be ridden. You do like to ride, do you not? “Tell me about Aikido?” It’s about riding those ripples and being happy NOW.

Speaking of happiness, consider this: There are 168 hours in a week, and if you trade 40 of them to a corporation, they will give you enough compensation to support 128 hours for your personal interests and pleasure. You may sleep for 56 hours, leaving 72 hours to play with. Of course, you may need about 1.5 hours per day for traveling to and from the corporation. (You may take a little more time and cruise to that enterprise because nobody says a person can’t enjoy the ride to and from.) Just think, 128 hours of pure pleasure and it’s your choice.

Of course, sleep is pleasurable, is it not? And, when you get past that, there’s a kicker waiting in the wings for all of you who are greedy (and that’s not necessarily a negative word.) It depends on where your head is. In order to have 100% pleasure, a person may, may, I say, enjoy work too. If you wish. If you wish, “It is no longer work.”

My practice of Aikido is exactly that, “Stepping Off the Mat .” It is Me dancing life!

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Comments

  1. Dear Rick,
    Thanks for the article, both relevant and helpful to me and a lot of new students we encounter here in Dubai.

    Regards
    R

  2. I started aikido to improve my self-defense skills. Did, too, even though I had to lose the term self-defense. Maybe I have few students because I put the practical ahead of the philosophical.

    My experience is that if you practice sincerely the philosophical will pretty much take care of itself. It might lead you to inquire as to what’s happening in your head, which can be pretty interesting in itself.

  3. Gus Davis says:

    Thank you Rick!!

    I’m a Kokikai alumnus from NE Philly and have met you a few times. Good to hear you doing so well!

    Gus

  4. What Mr. Warren said.

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