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February 10, 2018

Facing with our full attention

People sometimes feel a “bump” when practicing Aikido techniques.

When you think “Let’s throw him this way” or “Let’s move her that way”, you already have your goal inside yourself, and with that state of mind you easily go “bump”.  Once this happens you cannot lead nor throw your partner.

To avoid this happening, calm your mind first and try to feel and understand the condition of your partner. Then you will be able to lead and throw your partner without a “bump”.

By learning this on the mat, many people find out for themselves how much they “bump” with others in daily life.

In the past, I have been one of them.

I used to develop many Uchideshi all the time. (Now we changed the system and I do not have any Uchideshi around me for resent years.)

They were to live at HQ because they wished to learn, however their learning mind had not been set and they could not act as I taught. I was irritated everyday although I had great patience for them.

One day, Koichi Tohei Sensei came to talk to me.

“All the problems will be solved if you face them with your full attention.”

I could understand his words, but I could not get the real meaning of it.

I noticed what he meant during the next Aikido class.

When I was teaching “Katatedori Tenkan Kokyunage”, one of the students could not do well and bumped, because of the way she let her partner hold her wrist. I found that she put her wrist out based on the premise of “Tenkan”.

I told her “Please do not have the goal of “Tenkan” movement when you let your wrist be held, but let it be held so that you understand your partner’s intention.” She could do well once she understood this advice.

My own eyes were opened at the same time.

When I taught the Uchideshi, I had as my goal, “You should follow this way,” and expected similar results.  However, the same “expectation bump” was happening here, as in Aikido techniques, and, as a result, I was not leading the Uchideshi well.

I woke up to the fact that I had not been facing them fully. I saw them every day but I had never given my full attention to them.

Facing and giving full attention to people is the basis of understanding others.

I also noticed myself that in daily conversation or in negotiations at work, I always had my goals. That may cause a “bump” and/or make things go bumpy.

Since then, “facing and giving my full attention” became one of the most important themes for me. I started to make a true effort when developing the Uchideshi.

Even now, sometimes my old habit comes out. However, just like in Aikido techniques, I keep one point and a calm mind when I meet people, and face them fully and give my full attention to the person, and things go much easier.

In education, they say it is important to be there together. I know this is not easy. We need to face and give our full attention to the student and then we can fully be there together.

Koichi Tohei Sensei taught Ki-Aikido as “Aikido in daily life”. The purpose of your practice is to actively use what you learn on the mat in daily life.

Let’s continue practicing together.

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