Being Guided ...
Kawaraban No. 45
by Isamu Shima (Photograph, member for 5 years und 6 months)
Recently. When I was drinking my beer as always and intended to lit a cigarette, something inside of me told me: “Smoking really is bad for your health, stop it now”. That was my second self, and I screw up my cigarette and throw it away. At the same moment I thought it would take not even five minutes before I would start smoking again, and really, after some minutes I wanted to smoke again. “It is a special opportunity, stop it now!” my second self guided me, and I was able to obey without any problems.
Early in this year I struggled several times to stop smoking. Six months I suffered by severe astigmatism of my right eye, and because of adverse effects of the medicine food did not taste anymore, and even the cigarettes tasted acridly. “Damned.” With such an opportunity as at that time I wanted to try again, but after less than a month I was smoking more than before. Frustration.
You can see that as follows. The human body is continuously sending various signals. However, they are difficult to sense, as various negative thoughts build up an obstacle. “Smoking is bad for your health, stop it at last”, again this instruction. Body energy and energy of a clear heart joint naturally and stopping was very easy. It was running quite well, as outer and inner energy merged because of the good timing.
Some years ago at New Year casually I watched television. In doing so I watched at one channel an Aikido teacher, who only with a Kiai (loud fighting scream) ‘Iyaa!’ in a very moment spun 4-5 of his students one after the other through the air without even touching their bodies. I thought: “How stupid!” and smiled at it. Then at the beginning of July of that year. A friend invited me to watch Aikido. Then I suddenly remembered again the funny Aikido techniques, which I watched before. I decided to satisfy my curiosity by convincing myself with my very own eyes.
When I cautiously entered the Dojo, I could hear “Aaaa, you would like to join?”, and before I was able to answer, I was accompanied to the office with the words “Please, this way”. When I realized that I had not yet even watched the entrance formalities were finished. In fact I wanted to decide about joining only after watching, but now I had paid already, when I left the office. Idiot. The first training lesson was finished, and everywhere happy, sweating faces could be seen. In the airy, beautiful bright Dojo everything was shining, it was quite refreshing.
Then the bodily short Watanabe sensei started to demonstrate some techniques. The performance of the techniques, as clear and definite they were, generated a good feeling. I did like that. Next to the entrance, they moved circular and practiced break falling by clapping on the Tatami. Thinking that I would be able to learn all that quickly I returned home.
But after starting to practice myself, I noticed, that watching and performing are not comparable. My arms and legs did not move at all. Why on earth I wasn’t able to do such simple things? And that although I was a member of the special gymnast team of the university in the past. Very strange indeed, this I had not expected. I indeed was a little disappointed, but I enjoyed it as well.
Once I discussed this Aikido in a bar with an employee. Without warning the old owner of the Tatami shop nearby joined, the discussion became livelier, and, without actually intending to do so, I had ordered two Tatami for practice. And when casually my black cat named ‘Konbu’ lied cozily on my knees, I wanted to test, whether the Nikkyo is working. I clamped the forepaw between middle and forefinger and located with my thumb. First I tried a little. “Nyaa” it protested. When I did it a little harder the second time, “Nyaa-on!” I suddenly got bitten, and received - too bad - a heavy blow with the cat paw. Folks, we do not want to further apply techniques on animals. Reaction will follow without mercy.
One day when I was attracted by Aikido more and more, Shimizu Sensei talked about the fact, that “recently the number of eagerly practicing students had increased”. And “In Aikido continuity is of great importance”, but if it goes too fast, many suddenly will topple down and discontinue. Especially people from Kyushu are “easily enthused and quickly lose interest”. Hmmm, surely that applies to me. I am typical. In spite of that I enjoy daily practice, and I do not want to miss a single hour.
In case of photography the same applies. The counterpart leaks various balls to you. It is the same as catch ball; most variable shots will be sensed by the body and will be thrown back. You sense the different visual foci, tune them, and fire. In photography as well as in Aikido there is nothing else besides continuation on the way of perfection. I believe in the attitude of Tendoryu Aikido, that “out of continuity develops strength”, and I think, that by the practice I will be able to improve my abilities in the area of photography as well.
So much for my person. I would like to ask Shimizu Sensei, the other teaching staff and all students to carry on helping me in future as well.
© translated by Peter Nawrot 10/2006