Training by Not Training

Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. ~ Zen Proverb

The last few times I’ve training (within the past two months) I was surprised by the lack of deterioration of my technical and holistic level in Aikido. I suppose it’s because I’ve allowed Aikido to propagate into the rest of my life.

I remember what JWS and NSS (especially him) have always said: “Aikido is meant to be used in everyday life!”. I suppose it has improved my life in some ways:

– After 4 years of Aikido, whenever I drive on the freeway, it’s almost like a practice of randori, the famed practice we’re faced with multiple uke at once. Even though the practice itself does not allow any punches, kicks, etc., it can still be a riveting experience due to the fact that bodies are coming at you. Likewise, the cars on the freeway going at 60-90mph are just as harrowing – and many times more life-threatening. Still a work in progress, that’s just been my observation.

– I put my headphones on and sometimes, I can still “listen” to what’s going on around me. Now I don’t have echolocation or any of that stuff, but what I’m saying is that I allow the music to simply “play”, there’s still a certain awareness around me so much so that I can still notice that there’s an object coming at me. Be it a car, person, dog, cat, child…haven’t had a baseball yet. Nor a street fight, knife, baseball bat, etc. I’ll let you know when that does happen.

Training is supposed to affect us outside of the mat/school. Well, whatever is happening to me it’s a good thing, I hope it continues whatever it is. Until then I will continue to chop wood and carry the water…in hopes of making margaritas out of the lemons that I have.

See what I did there? Till next time.


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