Saturday, December 6, 2014
Can you make your martial art work?
I was in class this morning, the first class I had attended in a while, and I got two pieces of wisdom that have completely changed my idea of my own martial arts. The first one was part of a conversation, and I'm going to paraphrase here.
Sensei: Do you know this technique?
Me: I can make it work?
Sensei: Why do you have to make it work?
I stood there flabbergasted. He was right and I didn't know what to say. Techniques shouldn't be made to work, they should work or not work. If I have to force it to work, then I don't know the technique, at least as well as I should. Aikido is a martial art, and it will work in self defense situations. After all the time I've put into this, I know the techniques on a physical, level, and maybe as a dojo technique. Now how do I make sure the technique works when it needs to? That's what I get to work on for the future. What do I have to do to allow the technique to work, not make it work.
The second remarkable line Sensei said to me (and the whole class) hit a cord, and I wanted to share it with everyone. He said, "I know more about what NOT to do, than I'll ever know about what to do." Once you learn the techniques of a martial arts system at a decently proficient level, say by about black belt, the rest is just polishing them so you know how to use them, and know when to use them. By that, I mean when a certain technique is required, and when to abandon the technique as well. I had learned this as "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilites, in the expert's mind there are few" I had not ever fully understood that statement until Sensei's statement this morning. So again, thank you to Sensei for adding to my world view.