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Aikidō and Flying

Kawaraban No. 52


by Yoichi Kawamata

(43 years, JAL pilot, member since 2 years and 10 months)

It is now about 2 and ½ years since I joined Tendōryu aikidō. With other words, I am still participating as a beginner in classes, because I attend once a week and pause six days a week on the average. Well, during practice I often receive advices from advanced students, how to absorb the movements of my partner, how not to provoke resistance from my partner, and how to complete a technique naturally without using force.

Also when you fly an airplane you will not achieve good results regarding an opponent (with that I refer to air conditions, wind, rain, snow and fog, and sometimes blasts and the like), when you resist obstinately. It is only a futile fight against the air, and the airplane will not fly as intended. By finding out the airplane’s capabilities and with gentle control you will be able for the first time to fly in balance.

This is even truer in aikidō, because here a human being is the opponent. If we defy our opponent’s feelings and try to carry out a technique forcefully, you can be sure your partner will try to hold even stronger.

Also in aikidō we have to understand the techniques, and we have to be able to anticipate our partner’s reactions, because otherwise it will be not possible to switch fluently from one technique to another.

To understand the techniques we have to repeatedly practice them. Although I hoped to understand the explanations when I received them, I am not very successful in applying, because I am practicing insufficiently.

Now to something different, especially in case of bad weather conditions take off and landing are accompanied by extreme mental stress. The level of stress however will decrease depending on the frequency of such experiences, and flight control will gradually become easier and more harmonic. It means something different in aikidō, but isn’t it mind control by ki? During practice Shimizu sensei frequently mentions stories related to ki. He explains that ki can be developed by practice, when body and mind are present. Therefore I do hope, that I gradually will accumulate ki in my body, when I train seriously and sufficiently.

Furthermore, we always should try to practice with a balanced mind to foster ki. I will keep on practicing aikido. I will attend classes as often as possible, although I am kept busy every day due to my irregular working schedule and because of my son, who just became four years old.

I would be much obliged if Shimizu sensei, the other teaching instructors and all other students would continue to help me in future.

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 04/2003