Friday, July 3, 2009

Weeklong training with Hakim Sensei

My teacher from Jakarta is here in KL for a little more than a week. Last night we had our first class and from Sunday onwards we will have a week long practice everyday.

Sometimes, all our life we will be learning from a teacher who gets paid to do his/her work. Some of them might be teachers you like and some would be the ones you dislike. But rarely do you find a teacher who teaches you in order to learn.

In Aikido, a teacher teaches not just because he has something to learn, but he teaches so that he too learns as well. But finding a teacher such as that is difficult. Also finding a teacher who understands that very important aspect, AND also has some very good fundamentals to teach is monumentally more difficult. I am blessed to have found Hakim sensei who is what I consider my true Aikido teacher.

Having said that, anyone here will think I have now shown disrespect to my previous teachers Sensei Kolesnikov, John, Sara and Marcus; and all those Shihans and sensei's who have I have spent considerable time with Yamada, Ariffin, Harry and so on. They have all thought me something and that is undeniable. Yet, they have not fulfilled the role of being a teacher to me. That they have taught me much including ettiquette and fundamental aikido skills is important. Yet a teacher must also teach spirit and he must do that not by just lecturing but also doing.

That is why it is important to practice with a teacher. Because mere words alone do not translate well into the page of Aikido. Most physical arts require physical instruction. Aikido goes beyond physical instruction and requires mental and spirit unification. Imagine how much harder one has to practice in order to attain this.

Seeing Hakim sensei's aikido is testament to his abilities. At his young age, one is surprised to see how well he grasps the knowledge of Aiki. But he himself was in a similar state of any aikidoka out there not too long ago. He had been taught by several senseis and have reasoned that his skills were if not the best, certainly respectable. Until he found himself unable to execute his techniques on a certain individual. Realising that he has found a weakness in his art or himself, he sought a teacher. That teacher told him that his techniques are already good but his heart is not good enough. Finally the teacher agreed to teach him if Aikido until he requires no techniques anymore.

And because of that failure, Hakim sensei has finally found his path and the knowledge that he craved for. Certainly that knowledge is something that I too crave for and I believe any aikidoka out there would want that even if they do not know it themselves. Otherwise, why are we learning Aikido?

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