The best present I can give myself

It’s been awhile since I write about Aikido-related stuff. Since I don’t practice Aikido anymore, its been hard to write about stuff from a personal standpoint. It is also due to the fact that I have not been training at my Iaido class since May due to work and its been killing me. I do miss practicing Aikido terribly and I am looking for a new class to learn. I don’t mind at all if I have to start from the beginning. What kept my motivation going is really my desire to test my limits and I truly admire and respect practitioners who train till their old age. It never hurts to start again but it hurts to stop.

In late April this year just 2 days before my birthday, I signed up to attend an Aikido seminar in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was crazy! But it was the best present I gave myself. Leaving my Aikido dojo hasn’t been easy and was feeling rather down but I was determined to pick myself up again. Going all the way there to train was the best thing I could do for myself. For the first time I felt what it was like to train at an overseas Aikido seminar on my own and without wearing a badge of a dojo. Nobody asked me which dojo I trained at, which I felt was so liberating and it never mattered. All that matters was that I tried to carry myself well and be a considerate partner to everyone that I trained with. Apart from my good friend whom I reunited in Jakarta, I trained with as many different people as I could and interacted with several people who had such wonderful stories to share. In a hall full of strangers, nobody was a stranger to each other.

Friendship, camaraderie, warmth and respect. My takeaways from this experience.







Begin again….in black

Very few people get their second, third or fourth chance to begin again in life. I just find myself lucky to have another (God knows how many) chance to start over, learn something new and to appreciate the gifts I already have. There is no turning back now and I am done hiding myself away. 

Imagine a watermelon below the tip of your sword

Visualisation is key when doing solo waza. And its really important to be able to visualise what your imaginary opponent is doing in front of you. Or else you’re just going through the motions without actually knowing why you have to move in a certain manner. I know this may sound like, “Duh! Pretty obvious right?” Well never take self-awareness for granted and always be vigilant!

Happy Training! I know I am.

Learning to feel the moment…or you’ll get cut

3rd lesson badges

The sword doesn’t feel as heavy at first until an hour later and you had to hold a standing pose while holding the sword out. Tip: Relax the wrist and elbow.

Let the blade slide in naturally into the sheath while holding it parallel to the blade tip or you’ll get cut! Tip: Always close the loop with your thumb and pointy finger and let the tip of the blade sit on it first adjusting the position before keeping the sword…..elegantly!

Keeping your balance when cutting.     Tip: Stretch the back leg, front leg at 90 degree angle and relax the elbows when cutting down. 

Happy training!

                I know I am.

Temporary miracle

Today was my 2nd lesson and learned 2 new kata. I realised the importance of keeping my composure even when my hands were sweating buckets and it was terribly tricky when you practice with a semi-sharp blade! Ive really bad sweaty palms situation since like forever. But I didnt cut myself today, super happy about that. But towards the end of my lesson I tried to regain my composure, took deep breaths, thought of something freezing cold and my palms were sweaty no more! Temporary miracle?? I dont think so. Now I need to practice getting into that zone again so that I can keep the blade smoothly the next time. Learned how to oil the blade.

I’m starting to like my training sword more eventhough its super heavy and the tsuba gave me bruises! FYI it tasted my blood during my first lesson. (Resisting the urge to insert a tacky song lyric)

Peace out!

Anything is possible

The first day of training at my new dojo has been very enlightening and rather refreshing. For the first time there is no need for me to have a training partner. A senior ever so patiently and carefully, instructed me on the lesson of the day and I am left to try it out on my own. There were plenty of other students in the dojo but I was amazed at how I was able to concentrate and stay focused on what I was supposed to do. And before I knew it, 2 hours went passed just like that. I felt as though amidst the fluttering of activities around me, I wasn’t distracted at all. This, if you must know, is very new to me. I truly believe that anything is possible, even when I almost lost hope in myself to ever absorb anything new. Anything is possible. Believe in yourself even when you don’t. Look forward but never wait. Everything happens in its own time.

A fresh start

I told myself this at the start of the year that no matter which art I am learning, I will always be an Aikidoka at heart. It will never leave me. But I needed to experience other things for myself, to see, hear and learn from other’s perspective. I want to draw my own conclusions based on what I’ve experienced and not someone else’s. My martial arts journey has never been a smooth one but I think that’s ok. Perhaps at this point, I’ve made peace with my own expectations of what I would like to achieve at a certain stage of my martial arts training. Yes, I stopped short of going for my black belt in Aikido when I decided to leave my former dojo. It was a painful decision and I didn’t regret it. I felt so stagnant and I realised that the only thing that’s stopping me was myself. A fresh start and some re-evaluation of personal goals was sorely needed. I’m taking my time to learn and grow and I don’t care how embarrassing the small steps I have to take as long as I move forward. I hope to share in due time what I am currently learning but rest assure that I am still going for training.

Some are best to keep

*The 3 symbols in Aikido

*Triangle *Circle *Square

Theres a variations of interpretation on this.

But to me, and what I share with my students is simplifying it to:

*Triangle – Entering Movement 

*Circle – Endless Circular Movement @ Enso

*Square – Solid Base

To apply these into your training would be:

**Triangle – Your sense of judgment in directions of entering when the enemy attacks to diffuse the threat.

**Circle – The flow and fluidity of the defense movements should be endless until the takedowns or control or even to redirect or improvise when the attacker counter or changes course.

**Square – Solidity in handling defense, in stance and balance.

THESE ARE ALSO RELATED to the Mind, Body & Spirit. In my personal opinion. 

Mind-Triangle (Sharp)

Body-Square (Balance)

Spirit-Circle (Endless)

Thank you Sensei, for everything.

Do the one thing that heals

Everyday I forgive you and everyday I feel grateful. It is the first thing I thought of every morning when I wake up. Its like one of those things where you do one thing everyday until it becomes second nature. Its like exercise or practicing your kata, you do it often enough and it becomes muscle-memory. It feels different everyday of course but it is important to wake up everyday and to forgive and feel grateful. Some aren’t so lucky.

With love,

Acrostic Aikidoka