Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wrinkled Hakama

I open my Aikido bag the other day to wear my Hakama. It's been one week since my last class due to the long holidays coinciding with Chinese New Year. Happy belated CNY everyone!

Back to my Hakama. To my dismay, the carefully folded Hakama has been displaced somewhat in my bag, causing some of the pleats to appear wrinkled. Certainly not a life threatening moment, but one of reflection for me.

Here I was going to class, expecting to have everything that I need in good shape. Kept out of sight was my Hakama that I assume would appear as pristine as I had left it a week back. Yet, when it come out wrinkly and out of sorts, I felt surprised.

The fact that I felt surprise is a lesson. We might sometimes store things somewhere and when we come back to it, it wasn't exactly as how we left it. Paper might have discoloured, chocolates might have gone moldy and that soda has lost a bit of pop. Of course, since this is true most times in life, we tend to expect it and not get too surprised when it happens. What about knowledge though?

Its been years since I had to do an Accounts. I know for a fact that were I to go back to the books today, I will have a lot of problems getting my figures to balance, much less finding errors or elaborate tinkering. What about our Aikido skills though? Some of us may have learned martial arts and other useable skills like tying knots, or climbing rope/walls and etc. Might we have fooled ourselves with the adage, 'you never forget how to ride a bike?'.

Fine skills especially requires constant practice. Grinding the stone, polishing the mirror. That is our motto. Training has to be everyday if we want to maintain and improve. Leaving it alone, if only for a few days or worst, weeks... and you will find the skills you've worked hard to achieve have deteriorate somewhat.

Getting the Hakama out of the bag all wrinkly was not life threatening at all... trying to pull your wrinkly Aikido skills out of the bag when you need it most however, just might be.

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