“Sensei, I was recently thinking…with the corona disaster and all, it seems that Aikido, like so many things, is at breaking point.”

How so?

“Dojo’s are shut, people can’t practice together…..”

I see….

Is Aikido in a crises or its practitioners?

“Good point…isn’t it the same thing?”

By its very nature, Aikido can never be in a “crisis”; only people have been bestowed that privilege.

Aikido refers to the experience of ultimate union. This experience itself dissolves all resistance – in such a state there exist no problems, no crises… not even a person to suffer a “crisis” remains.

You may feel Aikido is negatively impacted by the absence of physical practice because you have misunderstood its essence. Aikido is not a practice at all – it is a state of being. A practice session is merely an opportunity to express and deepen this state of being; it is in fact a secondary aspect of Aikido; not the root. It is like attempting to draw water from a well that is dry; it is of no use. Water is the essence of the well.

The experience of the unity of life, the Great Spirit, is the essential Aikido experience. This is not physical; it does not depend on the movement of the body or the mind. You can experience it wherever you are, whatever you are doing. It can find expression in innumerable ways.

“Sorry Sensei, now I am confused. What about all the forms of Aikido? Are these unnecessary?”

The “Aikido” most recognise is a historic document of the expression of the Great Spirit through Morihei Ueshiba. A document is evidence of something; not to be confused with the real thing. O’Sensei pointed to this often; Takemusu Aiki; a living, spontaneous expression. Aikido can only be directly experienced – it can never be an object for examination by yourself or others.

The mimicry of forms (the document) is frequently confused with the genuine article – the living expression of the experience. Consider the very nature of a “form” – it is a frozen death of sorts. How can Aikido live here?

“I get you Sensei, I understand, so how does one feel this unity…how can one express Aikido even in these challenging times?”

The difficulty arises because of your understanding. Aikido is not a concept. Aikido is not definable. Aikido is the experience of oneness. You cannot be with the Great Spirit if you are with your thoughts and concepts. Any idea you hold about Aikido is actually a form of resistance, it is an assumption, a box in which you falsely attempt to conceptually entrap it; yet as you have discovered, Aikido eludes your best efforts to define it. This is a conundrum constructed in the mind. It causes tension on the gross and subtle levels of your being. This tension is your resistance; it blocks your attempt to harmonise; to be “in Aikido”. The reconciliation of this paradox leads to the destruction of the ultimate falsehood; the dearly held illusion that one must pass to experience Aikido. Now how does one get past something that does not exist?

“Sensei I am lost”

Wonderful. All great adventures begin this way.

Peter Koussoulis

Shinzenryu Aikido

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