Aikido is many things to many people! It evolves with every new teacher and every new person that participates in training but I believe there is one core value that holds true and underpins the essence of Aikido.
“The search for peace within ourselves and for the earth”
For it is the quietening, settling, opening and allowing (in the words of Sensei Robert Nadeau) that allow us to start to feel and be open to new and better levels of ourselves. This search for peace takes us in to the very depths of our personalities and nature and requires of us diligent and honest practice. But practice is what it takes to deepen, explore and uncover those parts of us that hold us back from our goal. For me Aikido is a practice that fulfils my desire for self-expression.
We all have fears that shape and mould us. At the moment mine are centred around the need for approval so using mistakes as a way to learn has not been easy for me. Slowly, ever so slowly, I am able to let go of another tiny part of the control that my consciousness feels is necessary for me to be able to function. I dream of the day where I wake up and all tension, fear, anxiety and stress are gone and my life is full of joy and care free adventure. But for now I am grateful for the progress I make every day I am alive.
Just as Sensei Henry Lynch teaches us the value of the 3 Cs (close, capable, community) I believe Aikido gives us the space to practice and learn from the 3 Ps.
The first P stands for Pressure. Aikido allows us to mimic the pressures of life with the attack representing the issue that is presenting itself within your relationship, your work or your family. We are able to practice the resolution of this issue in a safe environment and at a level that we can cope with.
The second P stands for Play. Again we are in an environment that is safe so we are given the freedom to do things that may not be deemed acceptable or we may not feel comfortable doing as part of our normal day that will help us to feel where we are and expand our creativity.
The third P stands for Paranormal. We practice working with the unseen elements of the universe and using such abstract terms such as centre, ground, energy and expansion as they apply to the system that includes our physical body. Aikido is a practice and enhancement of the etheric parts of ourselves, which we use to build the relationship with the physical world around us.
With the help of these 3 Ps and the experimentation that combines them in classes such as Sensei Danny McIntyres Thursday night class we can start to navigate the challenges of life.
In the words of O’Sensei, the founder of Aikido, “The essence of the art of peace is to cleanse yourself of maliciousness, to get in tune with your environment and to clear your path of all obstacles and barriers”.
Roban for Sandan, December 2017