Better spend time ensuring your aikido works than spending it trying to prove someone else’s aikido doesn’t!

If we accept that measuring ourselves against colleagues and friends is a common acquired behaviour, how does that apply in a martial art where competition is not only the lacking feature but also is actively discouraged?

Well, for a start, comparing oneself with others is a very unhealthy practice, not only in Aikido, but in life in general. Comparison, if one ever needs to be made must be against a fixed standard, a feature, notably missing when comparing with another individual who is in him/herself also evolving. The problem in Aikido, is that the lack of competition gives way to a negative emotion that manifests itself in a form of comparison with others, either by putting oneself down in favour of another, or by criticising another person’s technique in favour of one’s own!
Either way, no one is better off for the comparison.
My main reason for this blog is to highlight a practice that one sees, on the mat and off it, we see Aikidoka speaking negatively about others’ technique or form, finding faults here and there in what they do, that sort of negative energy masked as ‘analysing or criticising’ other people’s technique, is in reality a form of martial ‘bitchiness’ to be perfectly honest.

The serious Aikidoka in my opinion ought to have one focus only and that is to train to better oneself and improve one’s technique, not to get a grade or a black belt, not to become better than John the dojo’s top student, not to become favourite student, but simply to just get better. Aikido, and any martial art for that matter is about improving in a steady stepwise progress, which even though slow at times, it is progress never-the-less. Comparison point should be yourself (now) vs. yourself (last session).
My Sensei, often says,

You are only as good as your last Kamae (form/posture)

I think it sums it up.
When we practice with that in mind the focus then becomes clear, the progress becomes more obvious and the path better defined.
I accept it is part of our lives to compete and compare, and if one really must, it is best not to have it turn into nasty emotion. Make sure you search your heart and ask yourself, are you venting negative energy towards someone by disguising it as ‘criticising’ his technique? Is this ‘criticism’ serving a purpose at all part from making me feel better by putting someone down?
That someone will almost certainly outperform you in certain techniques as you are almost certainly going to out perform him in some.
In my opinion, It is always better, to spend your time making sure your Aikido works than spending it trying to prove someone else’s doesn’t!

So, for a few years now, I have worked on making sure I don’t let my emotions run negatively by concerning myself with other’s performance… If I have a good word to say, I say it, if not, I try to refrain. It is really difficult to do, and I might fall into that trap at times but I know I have certainly got better over time.
This is not to say one can’t have an opinion, you can, find someone who inspires you and follow his/her technique and form, that is fine and a good time pass, however, the opposite is not. Don’t go around findings someone who’s form does not inspire you and engage in false ‘critique’.
I guarantee you will see positive outcomes in your own Aikido as a result.

Osu

 

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About Aikido Yoshinkai Exeter

I run a small dojo of Yoshinkan Aikido in Exeter, Devon in the UK. The dojo started in Exeter in Jan 2013. There are a couple of Dojos in Exeter that train in Aikido, but we are the only Yoshinkan Aikido dojo in the area. The name of the dojo is Aikido Yoshinkai Exeter, and my instructor in Robert Mustard sensei. My experience in Martial Arts is exclusive to Yoshinkan Aikido in which I have trained for over 8 years now. I have traveled near and far to train and to date I continue to do so. I have had the honour of training with a few remarkable martial artists. I have also trained with Joe Thambu shihan (7th Dan) on many seminars over the past 7 years for whom I hold great admiration for his skill. In the UK we are fortunate to have instructors visiting regularly, Payet shihan (7th Dan), Ando shihan (7th Dan) and Takeno shihan (9th dan). Our club is closely linked with other Yoshinkan Dojo's in the UK and maintain friendly relations with them. email: sensei@aikidoexeter.co.uk www.aikidoexeter.co.uk www.facebook.com/aikidoexeter twitter: @aikidoexeter

4 responses to “Better spend time ensuring your aikido works than spending it trying to prove someone else’s aikido doesn’t!”

  1. Chris Saint Cyr says :

    Great thought provoking post. I’ve noticed that the continuous improvement and being the best one can be today seems to be catching on as a way of life. Of course Aikido or any skill is a great way to examine such a though as one may execute a technique flawlessly today yet struggle with the same next week. If both are the best one is capable of that day and the day one struggles involves more personal growth.

    I miss my Sensi. Thanks.

  2. playfulaikido says :

    I loved this blog. I think this is the “Do”. Perfecting oneself. Focusing on self-improvement. And, I have read in various places, the best form of athletic coaching, is one that focuses on encouragement, not finding fault but finding the good in the technique. But life is a double edged sword too, I think constructive criticism can help and motivate. But, many times people can not take criticism because of their ego.

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