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March 12, 2009

Learn with Open Minded Sincerity

A Short Instruction:

The purpose of this article is to practice and validate the Ki principles (Mind moves body) which are the foundation of Ki-Aikido in your daily life. Therefore, it has no meaning if you just read it without practicing it.

The fundamental method of mastering anything is practice. However, not just practice, but it is also important to validate how one has changed as a result of the practice.

It is easy to lose what you have learned without practice. On the other hand, you will never lose what you have learned through practice and validation. Therefore, please read, practice, and validate the contents of my article at least a month.


Learn with Open Minded Sincerity

Imagine that we want to pour water into a cup. If the cup is already full of water, we cannot pour more water, so we need to empty the cup so that we can pour new water. This same principle can be applied when learning something new.

I instruct more than 2,000 people each year. Out of the 2,000 people, I instruct the same 300 people every week. Therefore, I can observe their improvement. I have noticed that there are two groups of people. One group of people improves, but the other does not. There is “a difference“ between them. Of-course it depends on the quality of my instruction to each person, but not only that. What do you think?

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The difference is whether “they start their training after watching my instruction carefully” or “they start their training without watching my instruction carefully.” The difference depends upon whether they copy what I instruct directly, or base their practice on their own thoughts. It is odd that they do not watch my instruction carefully even though they come to me to learn all the way. They have their own thoughts. Their mental cup is full of water, so fresh water cannot be added.

The most important thing for learning something is “open minded sincerity”. Open minded sincerity means neither being too obedient nor doing whatever we are told. Open minded sincerity means an attitude of understanding one’s master’s teachings directly rather than based on one’s own idea and interpretation. If you recognize the value of what you are going to learn, learning sincerely with an open mind is the important key for improvement.

Among the Uchideshi training under my direction, there are ones who are sincerely open minded and ones who are not. For example, if I recommend one book to read, the sincerely open minded Uchideshi will start reading immediately in order to know why the book is recommended to him. However, the Uchideshi who is not of this mind fails to read, offering various excuses. Even though many times he accompanies me in teaching other students, he will not learn what he is supposed to learn unless he is open minded and sincere. In spite of his character, I teach and instruct him deeply, so that he becomes a great instructor in the future, however, it takes time for him to realize his wrong attitude.

To tidy up our past experience and knowledge and empty our mind is necessary when starting to learn something. It is important to understand “what it is the master wants to teach me” rather than “how I interpret the master’s teachings” while learning. After receiving the master’s teaching directly, if you think it is not useful, you can throw it away.
You may say:
“It is the same thing that I learned in the past.”
“It is the same thing that another teacher said in the past.”
“It is the same thing that I read in that book.”
“My master’s teachings are different from my thoughts.”
It is most likely that the people who say these kinds of things while learning new things are not sincerely open minded.

In my experience, if you consider yourself as “sincerely open minded”, you need to be careful. It is better to start learning by considering the possibility that you are not sincerely open minded.

The following is the practice and validation for this month:

[Point of practice]
・ Do something in a sincere and open minded manner. (ex: learn with a sincere open mind, experience with a sincere open mind, and read with a sincere open mind, etc.)

[Point of validation]
・Observe the consequence of acting in this way in all things.

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