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The Voice of a Student

Kawaraban No. 83


by Sachiko Kodama (member since July 2010)

The reason why I met the Tendokan by chance was a poster, which hung at the Sangenjaya station.

Some time ago my teacher gave me the advise: “As you are supporting the management with your work you should learn a Budo art like ‘Aikido’ to improve your self-control”, but because I was very busy, I postpone the idea for the time being. At some day on my way home the poster of the Tendokan caught my eye. “Oh, if a Dojo is so close by, shouldn’t I pay her a visit once?” In the beginning I looked only on the face of it.

At the training’s schedule, which I received at my first visit, the morning classes attracted me. Due to my working circumstances, in the evening I have very little time, but in the morning it could be arranged easily. This was a perfect opportunity for me, because I normally get up at 4:30am. So the reason for my joining was clearly by chance, but now I feel that I might have been a necessary encounter.

I joined in July 2010, that is just a half year ago, and at the very moment Aikido has become necessary and indispensable to me in a way, which I couldn’t have imagined before.

In the beginning I read the book ‘Zen and Aikido’, which I received when I joined, and as I study Zen by myself, I was able to go into the matter quite easily. “The term Aiki in the word Aikido means the harmony of the own Ki or the own life energy not only with a partner but with all living beings of the universe. This harmony leads to realization of the flow of the own individual Ki as a part of the flow of the Ki of the universe”. When I was reading this spontaneously the idea “That’s it!” came to my mind as a red line.

Besides previously I came into touch with a few other Budo arts, but it was for the first time that I came into contact with a Budo without competition and fighting. In the beginning I had a strange feeling regarding a ‘Budo without fighting’, but in that book was written that “the struggle against the own self becomes continues a struggle”, and I had the wish to study the depth of Aikido. I read the sentence that “if you practice three times a week for three years, you will reach mastery naturally”, and so I decided to practice in any case at least three times a week.

And I should mention, too, that it was not only the book, that guided me so far, I guess. Most important have been first of all Shimizu Sensei and the other teachers as well as the warm-heartedness of all students. If you are among people, all practicing already for a long time, normally you feel somehow a little strange and uneasy as a newcomer, who joins, but in this case I did not have that feeling at all. Everybody was very kind, they helped me seriously, and I had the feeling that they welcomed me heartily as a beginner. But at the same time I do like – in a positive sense – the tension during practice completely well.

Another reason for my fascination is that by body sense various studies happen. When I use my head while moving my body I feel totally stiff, but when I feel my partner and when I manage to feel the movement, my body moves flexibly. Such difference in body sense makes me quite happy. But even if I think, “I caught the feeling a little!” very often it happens that after change of partners again nothing runs smoothly anymore. I learn how important it is to be forced to deal instantly with a new partner. The feeling for the partner, to grasp the right moment, are surely the same challenges during my work of ‘coaching’. I feel that by practicing Aikido I have to think about communication, I have to cope with my daily habits, and that besides sweating I do learn a lot of things.

And there is something else, in Aikido I am just standing in front of the door. I think that from now on I will have to pass many more mountaintops, and I would like to attach more significance and depth to practice and to my life. And with the greatest pleasure I would like to make the people at my office even more successful. Regarding Aikido and dealing with people I am still very unskilled, please help me also from now on forever. This encounter was not by chance, and I am very thankful from all of my heart!

(December 2010)

© translated by Tendoryu Aikido Berlin, March 2011