Inspiring practices

I could go on life smiling and giving love while driving, shopping, or walking in the street. Also, I could  go on life hating people because I think I am right and they do not. It is just a tinny decision.

I got to reflect on those tinny decisions I make after spending the entire weekend practicing Aikido. Kato Sensei, who is a 75 years old man and a great Japanese master, came to the ITP dojo* . He comes twice a year to train us further in the Aikido Art.

Every time, he comes, I feel inspired to be a better person and expanded for the next few days.

His presence is so powerful and peaceful. What a wonderful gift to have a presence like that! To me, it looks like he has a purpose every time he moves his body. He smiles and gently directs his energy toward his opponent, who certainly can be putting all his effort in the attack just to end up flying away from this sweet Japanese teacher. After an hour of training, most of us are sweating and Kato Sensei is still smiling and looking fresh. Of course we were smiling too, but not looking that fresh.

The big learned Aikido lesson for me, is that if I am not present and concentrated in what I am doing, it can be dangerous. During the session, we repeat one single movement several times. The whole Aikido practice is about learning how to move my body in the way that I am aware where is my center and how I am using my energy. I think that, like in Aikido, life also gives us several opportunities to practice the same movement over and over. Thus, the same rules that apply on the mat, are helpful in everyday life.

The difference for me is that in the dojo, I am more open to learn how my energy affects other people. The way I move and physically relate to others is something I can decide at every repetition. I get direct and immediate feedback from the Uke (or the attacker).  Every single movement counts. Every welcoming smile or gesture of rejection counts.

Then, I realize that in my life outside the dojo, every gesture or thought is my decision. I can also decide to see or not the impact in others. Therefore, I try to apply the earned Aikido knowledge.

Trough this and other spiritual practices, I am learning that, we all are interconnected, and we all affect each other. Ok, this is not a new discovery. You may say “I do not need hours of Aikido to realize that”. I suspect that we know that, we all know that. Maybe we have strong reasons to ignore that we know it.

What is your favorite way of knowing who you are?

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May my Aikido practice and your practices make us a better people so we can positively affect each other.



*Dojo is the designed space to practice Aikido, which is covered with mats so the falling hurts much less.


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3 Responses to Inspiring practices

  1. Mary Kost says:

    My goal is to read all of your posts. I haven’t taken the time and plan on doing that today. Thanks for all that you do!
    I am missing you on campus and hope that all is well with you.

  2. sueann says:

    It is so interesting, Carmen, to hear your experience of practice with Kato Sensei.
    When I came to the seminar to watch ( knees insist I train by the sidelines) I felt a similar feeling a calm joy in the room. Everyone seemed to be having a fun time.
    I contrast this weekend with the early days of Kato visits, when the atmosphere was grimmer, with many of us trying to figure out how we too could do Aikido like KS. I am sure there is still some of that but seems more and more the students are out there enjoying themselves, each other and the practice of flowing with the energy.

  3. Conchita says:

    You have inspired me to ask Bob to audit the class. My hips will not allow I take the class for credit. See? Interconnectedness. This is how much your energy inspired me?

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