‘Are you sure it works?
There are things which we can be very certain about, the sun will rise and it will set, water will evaporate and life will end and death will always comes for the living. What keeps me going back to Aikido is a feeling of uncertainty. I’m never too sure about the effectiveness of the technique, what works on one might not work on the other.
More importantly, this feeling keeps me grounded and coming back for more. There is never an apex of an Aikido journey. Perhaps this is why there is no championship to talk about in Aikido. a medal is an excellent way for you to focus on your goals, but the practice of Aikido is more than that, it is life. And in life, there is no reward nor punishment, no gold, silver or bronze. Competition is made by man, with rules and a single goal, winning. And when you win, you surely didn’t lose; or did you?
When a winner held onto the medal, there is a level of surety, he or she is good at something, so much so the person has beaten others and gotten the gold. If you get silver, you’re pretty sure that there is one guy on top, and many, many more below!
That is a fallacy.
You can never be sure, that the guy on top stays on top, and those below will never be superior to you. If you are a champ in Karate, that doesn’t mean you’re a champ in everything. But winning helps creates that illusion of suety. Truth to be told, in order for one to win, many others have to be sacrificed, our loved ones, parents, events, birthdays, just to name a few. All for a medal? Are you sure that is what life is for you? To miss out on all those important people and event just for a medal?
And just because one becomes a Karate champ, doesn’t surely means one will win in EVERY fight, alley fight, fist fight, bar fight. You can never be too sure, but with a medal, and most likely an inflated ego, you might risk a chance of a fight, thinking that you’re sure to win.
I’m reasonably trained in Aikido, but never too cock sure about what I can do. There is really nothing to win in a fight, that uncertainty, in my personal opinion keeps me focused on not getting into a fight. I leave the class every time, feeling a little inadequate, as if I have not learned enough, and I need to come back, and back and back, to check myself. ‘Are you sure it works?’ I ask that question again and again.
Problem I see in many martial arts school is they train people ‘so well’, they endowed them a false sense of security, feeling that the student can fend themselves off, in a real right, and walk away unscathed. Hollywood are full of those fight scenes. In any UFC fight, we always aim to be the last man standing, look carefully, the last man standing was as badly beaten up as the man on the floor. No one walks away from a real fight without a scratch, Fighting is about attrition, and in a real fight, we can never be too sure we can come out tops, no matter how well we train.
I can never be too sure, so I come to class never take every moment for granted. I never take a white belt for granted, granted that the white belt might have a lucky shot and break my nose in a flimsy shomen strike. Shit happens.