Aikido, Parenting and Everything in Between

Kokyu Ho and Fear

I learned something about myself last evening when I exercised kokyuho with Siew Chin. there was something i cannot figure out from last week’s session I had with Gaynor.

I thought I was doing my usual kokyu ho exercise with Gaynor, when Harry sensei comes along and explained that ‘We should not be preventing our partner from learning.’ Gaynor gave me a feedback similar to that and I couldn’t comprehend what he said. It was something about the way i am resisting him and reacting to his actions.

I got my answer last evening, and I realised that I was afraid of Gaynor, hence I was reacting to him rather than resisting him. There is a subtle difference as reacting will negates his actions, preventing him from doing the technique. I carried my psyche with defense and instead of allowing him to conclude his technique and trying his best to exercise, I snubbed him out. Basically I draw him into my centre and there was no way he could do the technique. Whatever he did, I countered.

So last evening, when I exercised with Siew Chin, I resisted her, because I was not afraid of her. And without that fear in the way, I could open myself up and allow me to resist her while she tries to exercise Kokyu ho. It didn’t make it any easier for her, but it sure as hell didn’t frustrates her.

So why do I fear Gaynor and not Siew Chin? Admittedly, it stems from my inferiority complex, and of course the e-g-o. There is an uncertainty in my confidence that Gaynor IS going to be better than me. So I go on a defensive and block him out. And why not Siew Chin? For obvious reasons, my logical mind justifies that she is ‘no threat’ to me, in short I deemed that I am ‘better’.

But to be fair, it was my practice with Siew Chin that allowed me to learn this so that the next time I practice with Gaynor, I can keep this feeling in check. It is silly to classify who is better or worse than who, but these kind of judgment can creep in subtly and without constant practice, we might one day be clouded by such little irrelevant voices in our heard.

Published on: May 27, 2012

初学者…The one who begins to learn

Our school printed a tee shirt with our school logo in front and the word ‘初学者’ printed boldly behind the shirt. We had a discussion over what that word actually means.

Our school’s name is ‘Shoshin’ or ‘初心’ in kanji,  which Google translate loosely puts it as ‘Beginner’, ‘Innocent’, ‘Basics’. Well you get the meaning.

So what does 初学者 means then?

Loosely speaking, it also means the same thing, but in a Singapore, or Chinese context, to have ‘初心者’ instead of ‘初学者 ‘ will potentially give people the wrong impression that  初心者 means ‘the one who is careless’ as common as the Chinese saying of ‘粗心大意 (Cūxīn dàyì)’, as you might observe the ‘粗’ (Cū) sounds very much like  ‘初'(Chū). but the meaning is can lead one to a totally different conclusion.  ‘粗’ (Cū) loosely means careless, rough, or unpolished, and ‘初'(Chū)  on the other hand, loosely means early, begin.

Surely then intent was to have a beginner’s mind, a beginner’s heart, 初心(Chūxīn) instead of a careless heart, 粗心 (Cūxīn), surely a novice can be considered ‘careless”, unpolished, unrefined. Beginners can be careless, well, ‘experts’ can be just as careless; the point is that bearing the word 初心 in mind instead of 粗心, brings to the point that we must always take our learning at the beginning, conscientiously, and not carelessly.

Begin a word player, I’m quite happy to be called a ‘初心者’, and let people juxtapose between the concept of ‘The one with a beginner’s heart’ or 粗心者 ‘The one with the careless heart.’ Or call me a 初学者, as ‘The one who is at the beginning of the learning’, or  粗学者 as ‘The one who learns carelessly’. Either way, these are ‘labels’ for people to sort out, as for me i’m pretty much sort out as to how I orient myself towards Aikido towards life. and frankly speaking, ‘carelessness’ might not be such a bad thing in life, as it might bring about serendipitous and spontaneous results that might totally bring about a new discovery!

first published Apr 1, 2012 1:56 AM