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The Principle of Aikido Training

Kawaraban No. 87


by the head of Tendokan, Kenji Shimizu Sensei

This time I want to talk about the Aikido training.

During the last years Aikido has become popular all over the world. Although Aikido is an art of Budo, which has been handed down since long ago, the principle of Aikido training is not a dispute, but a training in which the techniques are repeated and polished by each other; furthermore, by intensive training strong destruction forces develop as it is an art of Bujutsu.

However, there is no competition in Aikido, and therefore people might become complacent, and there is the weakness of falling into the so-called ‘mechanical’ training. When time goes by people naturally fall into consensual practice, the attention slackens, and possibly progress is stamping.

Surely everybody finds that he forgets beginner’s mind, which he had when visiting the Dojo for the first time. If people come to the Dojo and practice aimlessly, doubtlessly there will not be any progress neither regarding health nor regarding the techniques, and surely you cannot expect that your mind becomes stronger.

During practice it is not the point only to repeat forms, instead you have to practice with full attention and with a lively Ki. Why did we once started with Aikido training, and which objectives did we have? Only if we do not forget beginner’s mind, excellent Aikido will develop.

I think anyhow, that especially in case of Japanese there is a strong cultural inclination wanting to stick to correct forms. And surely also the mind to buy our own security by sticking to forms exists. But don’t we appear like a weak race, which is depending of forms and groups and who behaves quite differently compared with our predecessors, as foreign countries might see it?

Human life always is a battle with you, and it also might be a battle with loneliness. But isn’t it an essential point in Budo to develop the ability always to remember beginner’s mind?

© translated by Ichiro Murata and Dr. Peter Nawrot 03/2013