Find direction and move ahead.
In the beginning, the
student has no idea what Aikido is, let alone what they should seek. Worse
still, as they advance they may not even realise that they should be seeking,
instead depending on and trusting in their teacher completely, believing that
such association will somehow rub off. A passive learner will never evolve to
the extent of an active seeker. Therefore, it is important for the beginning
student to know that it is they themselves who will be responsible for the major
part of their journey. Of course, having a great teacher is the best way to
start, but a beginner has no certain way to discern what a good teacher is.
Accordingly, the smart beginner will need to develop a discerning eye; seeing as
many teachers as possible gives base for comparison, but is no guarantee.
Concrete objectives and
the means to achieve them need to be set. For example, improving health and
stamina, becoming co-ordinated, learning basic movements, understanding space
and time, achieving a few grades, increasing overall confidence, gaining
competence in self-defence and so on. The thing that binds all these together to
create Aikido is aiki. Keeping the aim on aiki from early on will
keep the student in correct focus. But there will be no sudden enlightenment,
rather, the journey will be a collection of successive mini-enlightenments as
things slowly click into place. In the beginning the learning curve is fast.
Later, months will pass with seemingly little improvement, then suddenly,
something is realised, one has jumped up a level, and everything changes – a
process that repeats itself endlessly yet rewards only the patient.
The following ideas are
intended to help those seeking the way to know where they are and to keep focus
on where they are going.