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April 06, 2011

Listen to the Advice

A Short Instruction:

The purpose of this article is to apply the Ki principle (mind moves the body) which is the fundamental of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido to our daily life.

It is not enough just to read, but it is important to positively practice the subject given each month. Learning through practice will be your lifelong asset.


Listen to the Advice

Nobody is perfect. Therefore, it is important to have an attitude to accept with gratitude the advice you have received when you make a mistake. Your life will change if you have this kind of attitude.

However, there are those who take advice negatively, as if their personalities are being denied when their mistakes are pointed out. Sometimes they cut off the relationship with the person who pointed out the mistake and, consider him or her to be an enemy. Those people tend to have a relationship with the ones who say only preferable words towards them. As a result, no one will want to point out their mistakes, and they will not improve as their thoughts and actions continue to be in error.

A few years ago, I dealt with a certain student. During Shinshin Toitsu Aikido training, when I taught the correct techniques to him as his motion was not correct, his facial expression got sad and finally began to cry. I reviewed whether my teaching was not good, however, the other students whom I taught in the same way looked fine and happy. So I asked him,

“You look unwell. Is your health condition not good?”

“My health condition is fine, just I got sad when I was taught.”

I taught him because his motion in the technique was wrong, but it appeared that he had considered his personality was denied. I explained that I did not mean to deny his personality but taught so that he would improve. Finally he became happy. It was a surprising experience for me. For your information he was a man, not a woman.

Because I wanted to know why he tended to think in such a way, I asked his personal background.

He was the youngest one of three brothers and was brought up with tremendous care. He did not have the experience of having been scolded by his parents. Even when he made some trouble in his elementary school and his parents were called to come to the school, the parents told the teacher “The problem is not because of him!”

Also he did not have the experience of having his mistakes pointed out by his friends. He never would attempt to build a relationship with those who pointed out his mistakes. He lived in a closed world in which he never got hurt, since he had surrounded himself with this kind of environment.

Later on, he was job hunting, but due to the recession, he could not get a job. Of course nobody will be happy when being unable to get a job. However in his case, he got extraordinarily depressed and finally he gave up his job hunting altogether. Probably he felt that his personality was denied since he was not taken by any company. After that he even stopped training Shinshin Toitsu Aikido and I do not know what he is doing now.

I have another story from a university professor whom I know. When he pointed out the insufficiency in the dissertation of post-graduate student, the student thought his personality was being denied and he never returned to school since then. The professor was simply offering advice regarding the student’s dissertation itself, and could not understand why the student considered this as his personality being denied.

Of course an advisor needs to be careful when he is advising people. He needs to have a relationship of trust with those who listen to his advice. Otherwise they will not be able to accept his advice. However, a weak mind that cannot accept the advice of another is also a problem.

Usually those who come to the dojos for training are OK, but outside dojos, there are many who close their minds when their mistakes are pointed out. They sometimes cut off the relationship with the person who gives the advice, get negatively aggressive, and speak bad words to the one who give advice, and even explode.

There are parents who cannot advise their children because they do not want to be disliked.

There are teachers who cannot advise their students because they do not want to be disliked.  There are bosses who cannot advise their men because they do not want to be disliked.

These days in Japan, there is an unfortunate tendency in which people consider those who say only good words as good people. This is a big problem in Japan. Nowadays the reputation of Japanese students who study abroad is getting worse. I think the people’s tendency not to listen to the advice of others in this way is the main reason.

That is why training to accept advice and training to strengthen our mind is necessary. I think Budo can play an important role in this subject in Japanese society today.

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