We come to our dojo to train so that we’re better able to apply the principles of aikido in our daily lives.
To engage with other human beings with true empathy is incredibly challenging. Our fears of rejection, embarrassment, or perhaps violence take form as we begin to interact with others in uncomfortable situations. As those fears creep into our minds, often without us event realizing it, they begin to create our own resistance, perhaps tell ourselves stories about why we shouldn’t open our selves too much to the experience, and begin to frame our experience in terms of a dualistic relationship (us versus them). As aikidoka, these thoughts and feelings should register as thoughts or feelings that need to be addressed with relaxation and centeredness.
The practices that we do each time we come to the dojo give us an opportunity to experiment with finding relaxation and finding centeredness under the pressure of someone projecting energy toward us (sometimes pleasant, sometimes weird, sometimes unpleasant). If we’re committed to our training and take these lessons seriously, then we improve the probability that we will be able to draw on these same relaxation and centering skills when we have to interact with people at our jobs, the people in our families, and actually all of the people we interact with as we go through our lives.
To make our practice as effective as we can, it’s important for all of us to train with people who make us feel comfortable as well as people who don’t make us feel comfortable. The more we do this, the easier it becomes to overcome the fears that keep us from entering into all of our human interactions with empathy and genuine connections to other people.
By Nate Weed