Again, the message is stay away from the dojo.
So we all have to come up with ways to continue our training, away from the mat.
Thankfully, I’ve sort of ‘future-proof’ my training. you see, I was away from the dojo for quite a long bout when I was settling down to start my family. If I remembered well, my hiatus was a year or maybe more.
So with this COVID19 where I can’t train in a dojo, I’ll have ways to continue my Aikido training away from the mat.
And if you are the kind of Aikidoka, who needs to go to a dojo to get ‘Aikido training’, then you really need to reacquaint yourself with your idea of what Aikido is to you. Aikido is not a fix, it is not a bar where you have to go and hang out.
Social Distancing = Ma-ai 間合い
This is one public education message the authorities are trying to get everyone to do, and thankfully, as Aikidoka, I’m already doing this before it became fashionable. It is called Ma-ai 間合い.
So now when I go out and join a queue, I constantly watch my Ma-ai, and observe a good stand-off distance from my nearest human being. Ma-ai is more than physical distancing, it is about awareness of our surroundings, and in cramped confines where social distancing cannot be observed, observing Ma-ai 間合い helps me look for ways to move away from the proximity, very much like the opposite poles of a magnet, at this current COVID19 moment, I’ve become hyper-aware of safety distance, very much like how we do it on the mat.
This is an activity that can be done alone, even if you don’t have a mat at home, you can still do a very slow, roll. Having a carpet or thin yoga mat will help, and this is a great way to relearn body awareness and get the finer details of rolling tuned.
Cardio, Run, Swim
Aikido, is about movement, so if we cannot go to a dojo, we can jog, swim, get on a bicycle, walk, hike, rope-skip, climb the stairs, and many, many more other heart pumping activities. Keeping up with general fitness helps a lot with mat fitness.
Of course, the majority of these activities are solitary in nature, but it provides excellent opportunities for you to figure out the deeper reflections of life.
(This post was written in March 2020, the heights of Singapore’s Covid-19 Pandemic Quarantine Measures)