Monday, November 1, 2010

Can you do a 'Do'?

Someone ask you what do you do and usually it'll be something like, "oh, I do Karate or maybe its, I do Wing Chun... and for most of my fellow mates it probably I do Aikido".

So is that what it really is? Something that we do? Again, somebody might say things like this "You should do your Aikido on him, he's a jerk" or maybe, "What? Why didn't you do your Aikido on that guy?"

Now, I grew up playing truant on most of my English classes so although I can make a reasonably structured sentence, I don't know the difference between a verb or a noun for the life of me. But, I'm pretty sure we can't 'Aikido' someone. So... what exactly can we do with this traditional Japanese martial art that we've been learning for years and years?

Personally I think, that if we're still thinking about 'doing' something with Aikido, we probably can't do much with it either way. In Fudo Genri, we learn to keep mushin. The state of no thought in our actions. It is not so much as being thoughtless in our actions, but more towards being spontaneous I suppose. In that same vein, you cannot be spontaneously happy if you have to premeditate your emotions. What you'll be is more in line with 'acting' happy. Just as when professional actors use triggers to kickstart emotions in their acting, it looks real but its fake. Even if there is some meaning inside it (i.e. the triggers itself has meaning, though it isn't related to the reason the actor is feeling at the moment), the meaning is not sincere to the situation.

Thus, being spontaneous in our actions, is actually having a sincere reaction to an impetus. If we suddenly had a pin poke us we would cry in pain, that would be a spontaneous and sincere reaction. Similarly, in learning a 'way' or better yet, living it... we would react spontaneously to whatever impetus that comes along, and hopefully because we've been training our minds and body, we would react in an Aikido like fashion.

Doing something is of course still a necessary process. Imagine all you like, but if you don't get up and do that rolls, you aren't likely to perfect your ukemi when the time comes. Doing something in practice is sharpening that knife for the eventuality of cutting something. But when the time comes to cut something, put away that whet stone, hold the knife and cut. The time for sharpening is long gone, the time to let the knife be a knife is what it is right now.

It is my wish that one day I could achieve spontaneity in Aikido. To be a natural Aikidoka instead of having to remind myself each time I feel like fighting or reacting. People may find that training the body is arduous and painful and tiring, but training the mind is like grasping oil in a bucket of water. If we stop spinning it around to create a focus, the oil just spreads all over and loses its coherence. Such is that, we have not truly assimilated the knowledge within us, that we have to constantly urge it in the right direction.

Watch Aikido demos and you can see the apparent truth. What is spontaneous and what is premeditated. Where even if techniques that repeat itself again and again, done spontaneously uke still can't present any resistance whatsoever. Done pre-meditatively, even if nage constantly changes his techniques, it would appear rough and or forced.

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