Masakatsu Agatsu – Morihei Ueshiba.
True victory is victory over one’s self. I believe this challenge is both what attracts people to Aikido and what scares them away. It is easier to challenge and defeat an opponent than one’s self. However, Aikido is cooperative. We train with partners not against opponents. These partners help us deal with our own issues as we learn a martial art. Those issues could be fear, pride, anger, or just about anything. Whatever the challenge is, Aikido can help us be the best version of ourselves possible.
That best version of ourselves should leave the mat with us. We should take those skills off the mats and into our daily lives, into every relationship with every partner. Of course, that’s easier said than done as while we may train hard on the mats for a few hours every week we may not work to be the best version of ourselves all the other hours of the week. We may not work as hard in every other area of our lives.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
October is also the anniversary of my Mom’s double mastectomy to treat her own breast cancer. She is now a two year survivor.
I bring this up now as Aikido is about self-defense and becoming better. Your health is part of your self-defense and being the best possible version of yourself includes being healthier. If you have good health, celebrate and protect it. If you have health issues, don’t ignore them! Enter aggressively and take charge – do everything possible to make your health better (big and small things make a difference).
As part of our self-defense training, Aikido also teaches us to be aware and live in the moment. If you have experienced cancer with friends or family, then you have already been reminded of just how precious each moment is. Be present in whatever you are doing whenever you are doing it! If you are at work then don’t worry about what’s going on at home. If you are driving, then focus on the road and not what errands you are trying to squeeze in or whatever your final destination is. If you are at home then ignore those pesky doubts and worries about what you are missing at the job.
Bottom line for me is that aikido really does teach us about life and the lessons are abundant! Don’t leave your aikido on the mat when you leave the dojo. Take that person who fearlessly enters for an irimi with you. Take that person who is brave enough to try rolling and then to try diving over a mat with you. Take that person who treats both new students and Sensei as valued training partners with you. Take that person who wants to learn, grow, and become better with you.
Use Aikido to be come the best possible version of yourself on and off the mats.