Monday, October 18, 2010

Time will tell

I chanced upon some writings from senior aikidokas that basically expounds on their recently acquired insight on Aiki. These insights usually talk about energy beyond the physical and intent preceding that energy. Much of their insight is basically what Sensei has been talking about all along. Yet the same senior Aikidokas were the first to dismiss Sensei's or other similar teachings and demonstrations a year or two back, claiming 'floppy bunny' ukes and 'hero worship' by the students... What has changed?

In as much as why Sensei has gotten much following now in Indonesia compared to several years back when he was effectively ridiculed, the decriers have tried it out for themselves and have felt it for real. Yes, those senior Aikidokas are living nowhere in our region, but they've met other experienced Aikidoka's and martial artists who have similar abilities. Those experienced teachers however have a more substantiated background however making it hard for anyone to just dismiss them, typically they are older, very experienced and have made a name for themselves. Yet, even then we have very junior Aikidoka's who give them one look and still think to themselves what an old fraud. We can't blame them, when most Aikido teachers lack the whole substance behind Aikido, Aiki itself. So much so, students are seeking teachers from Karate, Traditional Chinese martial arts and etc, this knowledge of Aiki.

It is perfectly alright to be suspicious of course. What with so many charlatans around out to swindle your money. But in martial arts, there really shouldn't be a question should it? If you want to prove a charlatan, bring him on the mat. That's what happened to Sensei, most of his students were naysayers or came from dojos of naysayers and then they got curious. What if? What if this thing is true. So they took courage and tested him out. A lot of us though like to offer our views from the sidelines, most of us would not really like to get our hands dirty. Some of course give excuses like distance, time and other nonsense like "I don't have to prove anything to you, you prove yourself to me"... in the end it all boils down to what we're looking for. If we're looking to make ourselves look good by decrying others, then you can call white white all you like, and the other guy will still insist its black. But if you're there really looking for the truth, then nothing will stop you from getting to it, even to put yourself at risk.

What does this mean for the rest of us? Well absolutely nothing unless you are serious about training. Being a student of a good teacher does not make you any better than you were prior to that. Learning from Sensei does not mean attending his classes or taking notes and videos. Learning means to put yourself at risk, to challenge yourself against failure. If we stick to the comfort zone of what we can do, when are we going to learn about the things we can't?

Certainly this would work out well when working with people who are already experienced and already know the things you're trying to learn. In our case, where there are no senior students around, then it'll be a case of the blind leading the blind. Yet, we cannot lose hope and must persevere. Knowledge exists whether we like it or not, there are teachers who come to revelation without any person guiding them. Some of the greatest geniuses out there intuited their findings, gleaning it from observation, logic, dreams, imagination and rational discourse. With us, we've been given basic knowledge and ideas, we've been given key after key, now is for practice and practice and more practice. Not just normal practice, sticking to kihon all the time, but practising Aiki in every which way possible.

I read a quote recently about this scientist who basically had had it with faith dwellers, mystics and all these religious warmongering. He wished he could draw a line put all those people who couldn't be reasoned with scientifically, on the other side and ask them to use whatever magic, prayers and faith to attack his side. When all measure have been exhausted, he'd nuke em. Well, we all probably feel like that one way or another at one point in our lives. Sometimes you just wonder if all politicians came from the same mother the way they talk and the way they screw you whilst looking like an angel. You'd want to put the blame on others, like what's happening to the world economy, the environment, the wars and terrorism... yet are we really innocent? Is it not us who put those despicable people at the helm of our state? We who elected capitalism as God of the world? If all of us could travel to the future and see what would happen to the world because of our failure as its guardians surely we would understand. Yet time is what it is. We only live in the present or we dwell in the past. We do not foresee the future. For all its glory and hubris, science and its fellows have not been able to convince the world of a better future either.

Everyday you live you risk making mistakes. Some of those mistakes you can shrug off, some you'll bear the scars till the day you die. But the worst mistake is to do nothing at all. In trying to avoid making mistakes, you'll end up accomplishing nothing at all and that would the greatest mistake of your life. There are no second chances in life and the clock is ticking. We know we have a limited time to live. We know we are going to die. We just don't know when. So truly, the thing that we really don't have much to spare is time. Every second counts and we should use it. Train hard, but life is not about training. Its about living. Train to accomplish something, train to learn something, learning till the day you die is a worthwhile endeavour. At the same time, teach what you've learned to others, use it in your daily life. You could learn all the knowledge in the universe, much good it'll do to you if you die with it unused. Let other people share in that knowledge, let them use it to help others. All of us have a duty to make the world a good place, to protect it, our mother earth. We can't do it if we waste time, or if we have nothing in our heads, or if we choose to do nothing with what we have.


  1. good post T.B, such a wasteful life having a self centered way of living, keeping knowledge to own self. more sadly, not knowing anything and convenient live in the zone of stupidity.

  2. Sounds suspiciously like its hit close to home. On the flipside, don't let yourself be angered by or envious of persons like that, if its rightfully yours, the knowledge will come from unexpected places. Remember whilst the dissemination of knowledge should be done freely, having it is a privilege not a right.