I used to be really into martial arts. Like R-E-A-L-L-Y! Although I bounced around through many styles and disciplines, mostly due to my moving a lot, I most seriously studied Aikido. One thing which stands out from my time studying that art was something my Sensei told me, “Aikido is movement. Movement is everything. Everything is Aikido.”
It took me a long time, years in fact, to understand what that meant. It wasn’t until much later, and at another Aikido dojo with a different sensei actually, that I learned something else which is what it took to fully unlock that earlier lesson; “Everything is Aikido. Doing the dishes is Aikido. Because Aikido is mindfulness.”
It was only at that point that I realized what both Sensei’s meant by ‘daily practice’. The first few years of Aikido I thought it meant going to the dojo everyday, getting on the mat, and rolling and sparring. Later, I thought it meant practicing everyday, no matter what, or where I was, or with whom. That ‘doing Aikido’ was just that, I had to ‘do’ Aikido in order to practice it daily.
And then, years later, after I stopped Aikido, after I had started and stopped Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, after I had started and stopped Boxing, I realized, ‘doing the dishes is Aikido’. I had figured out that ‘daily practice’ is finding the Aikido in everything. That focus, balance, effort, structure, movement, all these things are in every daily task, and the awareness – a term both Sensei’s spoke of continuously – is the thing that makes everything Aikido.
My Lesson Learned
I haven’t actively practiced Aikido in over a decade, in that I haven’t been in a Dojo, or sparred, or taken part in a class. But, my Aikido has grown and become a part of my life as I move from my center now (most of the time). I stand and find, and re-find (it’s a thing) my balance more easily. I am aware of my breath and, even though I still lose my temper sometimes, I am aware I am doing it. How did this lead me to those breakthroughs? Via daily practice and incorporating discipline into my life.
What does all this have to do with life, work, training, or anything else? Building the Skill, Greasing the Groove, daily practice, these tenets are the same in many disciplines, and you may do well to include them as a part of your training. Whether you are a professional, martial artist, entrepreneur, athlete, or engaging in training of any kind, if you find a way to practice your skills in all you do then you will be living your art on a daily basis.
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