When the pain overtakes you, reach inside. Gather the broken pieces, and hand them to God. Ask him to remake your heart. Different this time. Stronger. More beautiful. This is how we are made, and remade by the Maker.
By Yasmin Mogahed
My acrostic for the day…..(it’s been a tough week)
For the days when your life could end
Or the times when you felt wronged
Remain always centered and calm
Gentleness to those around
Indulge not in the wickedness of anger
Venture not in acts of vengence
Embrace not the ideals of hate
Nothing gained from inflincting pain
Embrace intead the ones who love you
Seek comfort in prayers
Short is our lives on this earth
One day after school, my six-yr old son shared with my husband and I about some of the boys giving him a hard time in class and this was not the first time. From what my son described, these actions started with name-calling to get his attention which turned into one of the boy poking him on his tummy when he didn’t respond. He said didn’t cry and told his teacher about what happened. I’m proud of how my son reacted in this situation compared to past experiences where he would burst out crying when being provoked. As a mum, I will always worry about my son’s safety (probably even till his adulthood), and the slightest incident of provocation to my son makes me grit my teeth and my heart starts pounding. I certainly don’t take lightly on what some people might call it ‘harmless, childish’ verbal banter by children because to me personally, I don’t want to assume that it didn’t hurt my son. I had my fair share of being bullied when I was in school and as a child, words do leave their mark and they stay with you much longer than some physical scars. I’m always in a constant state of flux as when to step in or whether I have given him enough advice and yada yada yada……..I mean my son is still 6 yrs old, there’s only so much content he can absorb (most of it is filled with either Minecraft, Skylanders Trap Team, Transformers and picking his nose). The other day, he did asked me to show him how to do some locks while watching some Aikido videos with me. “GASP! Mum’s not ready to cross that bridge yet!”
In the context of Aikido:
What would you consider acts of bullying or provocation on the training mat? Even though Aikido is non-competitive and non-combative (Art of Peace) people are people and no matter how much effort we try to put into our training physically, what aspects of Aikido principles do we consciously integrate into our daily lives? If we are being provoked on the mat, how do we handle it? It might be worth considering, the tolerance and level of patience one have. Personally, if I tolerated a particular behaviour that I might deem to be an act of provocation, does that make me susceptible to acts of bullying? If I walk away from a situation like that, does that mean I am walking away from the problem or is it my way dealing with the situation by removing myself from threat? The reason why I am asking this is because my perception of how I handle with negative situations may have directly or indirectly influence the way I advice my son on how he should approach such a situation. Hence, the Aikidomum dilemma……….to be continued.
My acrostic poem for the day:
Pieces of my soul scattered
Each fallen leaf like words
Actions that teased a wound
Cut open by words do not assume
Every step hurts
– love, siti
The fiend I am referring to in the title is ‘fear’ itself. ‘Fear’ can inhibit self progress and it is destructive. My former sensei who is very wise and whom I’ve had the priviledge to train under, once said that a direct result of having fear is to train with the wrong intentions and possibly hurting other people. I think having fear is human nature and it comes from many places, external or internal. Having no fear at all is almost humanly impossible, but I think we can control it. I’m not sure how at this point, I’m still figuring it out. But I try to make small efforts like spending a few minutes before training to try and calm myself and expel out negative thoughts that might impede my concentration. It takes serious determination to accomplish that and its hard sometimes.
Now, what would Yoda & Jane Austen say? (as I’m brushing my hair)
My single acrostic of the day:
Frozen and dormant it may seem
Intelligent but deceitful it can be an
Enemy of myself is myself
Never fear to speak its name
Dare it upon an open flame
– love, siti
“It isn’t what we say that defines us, but what we do.” – Jane Austen
Somehow I feel that Jane Austen could have given Yoda a run for his Midi-chlorians is she is a Jedi Master with that kind of quote, and there is a lot of truth and wisdom in what she said. But I strongly believe that we should contemplate and reflect that with a deeper consideration and understanding. I would say that the thing that defines what one does, depends on the context in which one’s actions led to some defining moments in one’s life (wtf did I just said?).
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have great role models in my life and one of them is my sensei. If I could compose a classical score song for him I might call it ‘Momentum’. Perhaps I shall add an ‘Overture’ to it for dramatic effect. Sensei’s style is a lot about movement and using momentum………well that’s basically how I see it and it’s not meant to be an oversimplification of his instructions. There is a relaxed flow to his style but with a quiet strength. Then suddenly BAM! He flips you over and you’re on the mat bewildered. It is not just his actions that defines him but his words as well. He can at times soothe your soul or pierce your heart and ego like a thorn on a rose (it can happen at the same time).
Actually, being in his class can sometimes feel like a Physics lesson (it’s supposed to be a compliment, sensei). Movement and momentum works for me because I hate being static, I feel like I need to move. But since I started training again after a 6 year hiatus, I’m like all over the place. I’ve no momentum, my hands and feet aren’t coordinating properly and whenever I perform an ukemi I feel like a Miley Cyrus wrecking ball…..no chains attached. But Aikido does employs many of the same principles of physics and if you try to go against, it might lead to some very painful “reflections”. This was something I learned during my early years of training. I am extremely weak on my left side and whenever I try to perform a technique on my left everything screws up. It took me several weeks of practice at home just to be able to do ukemi as gracefully as I can on my left side (perhaps I need many more weeks of practice). It was especially awkward whenever we do a technique from a yokomen strike. Perhaps I should start practicing with a bokken again.
I still have a long way to go to get better, I know this for a fact as sensei kindly remarked to me after training, that because I am “rusty” I need to apply WD40 to myself and perhaps drink it with ice for its full effect. (Like thorns on a rose). So, what shall I do that will define my journey to learn Aikido? Will I ever get there? How will I get there? Will I stop asking myself annoying hypothetical questions?
Here’s my acrostic poem for the day:
Maybe I am weak
Or not as quick but
My love for the art grows with
Each passing time
No matter how I fall
Try to get up
Unleash the courage within
Me and trust with my heart
– love, siti
I get asked this question before a few times in the past and I just wanted to reflect on this topic a little better to share with you more of the big picture. In the beginning, I wanted to equip myself with the knowledge of self-defense. It started out with the “Oh what if I was attacked?” kind of situation. You see I am very small built, I can’t run very fast, I am lacking of self awareness of my environment, I can’t throw a punch to save my life nor am I strong enough to receive a punch, I can’t really kick without hurting my foot and I certainly can’t throw anything accurately. Basically, I’m a pretty good target to anyone who wants to do harm. But from my limited learning experience, (I say limited here because I personally feel learning a martial art takes a life-long commitment and dedication) learning Aikido teaches me more than just self-defense. Yes, I do know how to perform some simple locks if required, I do know how to block or deflect an incoming threat, I do know how to fall safely if I am being pushed and get back up quickly but most importantly, I think I learned to develop my common sense, develop my sense of awareness of my environment no matter where I am and remain calm in the face of potential danger. Have I ever been in a dangerous situation? Thankfully no, and I hope I will not encounter one (but it could happen). Have I ever apply my techniques for real? No, and I do not set out to learn Aikido with the intention to hurt someone or to “act tough”. So locks, blocks and learning to fall? Is that it? How’s that gonna protect me? If you noticed, these are ways of protecting oneself, to deflect, to redirect incoming attacks. You do not react if you are not being attack. If you want to punch your attacker (hypothetically speaking he might be 6ft tall and weighs over 100kg with bulging muscles, then you better be able to woman up and take his receiving punch!) I think as a woman instinctively, I can sense if something is not right (or maybe I’m just hypersensitive) but most importantly, developing a good sense of self-awareness, common sense (and prayers) help to keep me safe and avoid places where my safety could be compromised. I never take it for granted even when I am walking in a brightly-lit area where there are lots of people but there’s also no reason to be overly paranoid. Aikido is the art of peace and it is something to be discovered by yourself (with the guidance of an awesome sensei if you are lucky). If you want to learn more about this beautiful art form, there are many great schools of Aikido in Singapore where you can go have a look. They are all “Googleble” : ) It’s best for you to discover on your own and talk to the sensei and the senior students there to ask permission to sit in their classes. Don’t be afraid to discover your hidden potential and develop your inner warrior spirit! Peace!
– love, siti
P.S: Yes, one can choose which martial art to learn depending on your interests and motivation. You can do all the research in the world but it is important to be truthful in your intentions. Get to know yourself a little bit deeper, reflect and knowing your reactions to certain situations can help you absorb the teachings of your art form to its full efficiency. Be open-minded and HUMBLE always. I stressed being HUMBLE or you will get your ass kicked. It takes a lot, a lot, a lot and lots of commitment, discipline and resilience. Don’t expect miracles to happen immediately. There are no fast results in learning martial art. Good luck!
To withold fear
Rectify without distractions
A mistake to teach us something
Never losing faith
Centering the mind
Reassuring and kind
O‘ Sensei taught us about
Self-sacrifice and devotion
Training with openess
Integrity and compassion
Contest there is none